As Senior Vice President for Freshwater and Food at WWF-US, Melissa D. Ho drives landscape and transformational initiatives that increase the sustainability of agricultural systems and the conservation of water for the environment and ecosystems. She also supports the integration of food and water issues in all of WWF’s other workstreams. Dr. Ho has over 25 years of experience as a scientist, policy advisor, and development professional.
Throughout her career, Dr. Ho has leveraged a keen focus on the intersection of water and agriculture and its connections to energy and health. She has worked at the landscape level, with large-scale public irrigation systems, agricultural value chains, community-based water resource planning and management systems, as well as in household level water technology delivery through the private sector. Dr. Ho came to WWF from the Millennium Challenge Corporation, where she oversaw a $1.5 billion portfolio of infrastructure investments in West Africa. She also served at USAID overseeing the technical team responsible for the strategy development and implementation of Feed the Future.
Previously, Dr. Ho developed and implemented the agricultural water management strategy and grant portfolio at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She has also served in various capacities in the US Congress. She has a PhD in plant physiology from the Pennsylvania State University, an MSc in soil science (plant-water relations) from the University of California, Davis, and a BSc in environmental systems from Cornell University.