Maestral is saddened to share the news of the passing of our Maestral colleague, team member, and friend, Mihai Magheru.
We were so excited when Mihai joined Maestral International earlier this year. He was passionate about helping children, and brought a keen analytical mind, impressive experience, nonstop energy, and thoughtful presence to all his work. His smile lit up the room (and, more recently, the Zoom screen!) and he was always there to support those he worked with. A self-described ‘perfectionist,’ Mihai set the highest standards in his work and met them. He left us, those who loved him, and the world’s youth far too soon, yet his mark on the world will last for many years.
Mihai started his work in child protection and human development in 1999 and for several years he built field experience in community-based NGOs delivering tailored services to the most vulnerable girls and boys, with a focus on children separated from their families. In the following years Mihai had the opportunity to work in international development, firstly in EU cooperation contexts, followed by about a decade within the UN system, most of it as Programme Specialist at UNICEF, and then Social Development Specialist at the World Bank. Mihai’s work was centered on child-sensitive social protection, childcare reform and system strengthening, gender mainstreaming, and data management and learning through monitoring and evaluation. He moved to Spain in 2015 where he worked as a consultant for UNICEF, the World Bank, UN-Habitat, IOM, UN-OCHA, Oxfam and Expertise France, covering development projects in Europe and Central Asia, West and North Africa, and Latin America.
Mihai joined the Maestral team in 2022, making meaningful impacts on the lives of children through his work.
Mihai worked with Changing the Way We Care Moldova to prepare a comprehensive situational analysis of the current child care system. He was instrumental in pulling critical data from multiple pieces of research, gleaning the critical information, distilling key findings and recommendations to present a complete picture of the care system and help actors in Moldova and beyond to move forward in improving care for children. Mihai’s work was made available on the Better Care Network and, thus, has reached hundreds of organizations and practitioners in Moldova, Europe and beyond. In Moldova, partners have appreciated how the concise messages and recommendations from the situation analysis have informed the recently released National Child Protection Program, and help them to design next step reforms.
In Romania, Mihai worked to develop an investment case for a package of cash benefits and care services that could help reduce poverty and social exclusion, particularly among vulnerable children and their families in Romania. The result of this work will feed into the Government of Romania’s submission for the next cycle of EU Operational Programmes to ensure funding for a policy that provides the highest value for money over time.
Most recently, Mihai supported the Council of the Baltic Sea States to advance a regional collective understanding of a well-functioning, accessible and resilient child protection systems that are adequately structured and equipped to function to protect children, including in periods of crisis such as the Covid-19 pandemic.
At Maestral we are mourning the passing of a committed and passionate colleague and advocate for children. We will miss Mihai, and will always remember him. Our deepest condolences to all whose lives Mihai touched.
Magheru M. for CTWWC (2021), Situation analysis of child care in the Republic of Moldova – an analysis focused on vulnerable groups of children and the prevention of child separation from families, Maestral International and Catholic Relief services October 2021
Nordenmark-Severinsson A., Nikolov M, Magheru M. (2021), Scaling up a package of Cash and Care for Children to reduce poverty and social exclusion, UNICEF, December 2021
Magheru M. (2020), Stocktaking of IOM engagement with non-UN International Organisations, including Multilateral Development Banks and policy advice for further development paths (internal doc.), IOM, January 2021.
Magheru M. (2020), Country mapping large scale cash transfers in COVID-19 context in Cameroon, Country mapping large scale cash transfers in COVID-19 context in Haiti, and Country mapping large scale cash transfers in COVID-19 context in Somalia, UN-OCHA, September/October 2020.
Magheru M. (2020), Strategic advice to Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar (ICBF), ECD Directorate, to safely re-open ECD services in the Colombian COVID-19 context, ICBF & Expertise France July 2020,
Magheru M (2020), article Education for vulnerable children in post COVID-19 digital era – Paths for digital transformation to support the Romanian students lacking the necessary digital resources or capacities to access the online education, part of Post pandemic Romania and the digital antidote initiative of CAESAR Foundation July 2020.
Magheru M., (2020), Learning manual for Urban Resilience (internal doc)– an Oxfam Global Approach, Dec. 2020, that led to the online publication Strengthening urban resilience- five emerging lessons, Oxfam Intermón 2021.
de la Peña M, Magheru M. (2019), Guidelines for gender mainstreaming in early childhood care in the Republic of Colombia, (Spanish) Expertise France 2020
Magheru M. (2018) Social Resilience Guide (methodological tool) Human Rights Enhancer vetted by Institute of Human Rights, Pedro Arrupe, Bilbao, and Gender Equality Enhancer booklet for gender sensitive analytical tools in pilot cities and ensure overall gender mainstreaming in UN-Habitat resilience-based programming UN-Habitat, 2018
Magheru M. (2017), Documentation of good practices through mentoring for professional development at the workplace for preschool level in the Republic of Moldova, (Romanian) UNICEF ECARO, 2017
Guan X., Magheru M. (2017), Research study on most relevant EU countries experiences for social assistance structures of the P.R. China, (EU-China Social Protection reform Project) Expertise France, 2017
Magheru M. (2013-2015 – contributions), Stakeholder analysis in the area of Roma social inclusion in Romania, internal tool for the Bank to engage on the Roma inclusion agenda; Co-write (Anan K. et al.) joint World Bank and European Commission, Handbook for Improving the Living Conditions of Roma 2015; Draft National Strategy and Action Plan on Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction 2014-2020, 2015; Co-write (Stanculescu M. et al.) Integration strategies for urban marginalized communities; Atlas of Urban Marginalization; Pilot projects in six areas, 2014; Co-write (Anan K. et al.) Diagnostics and policy advice for supporting Roma inclusion in Romania, 2014; Draft recommendations for development of Integration strategies for urban marginalized communities, 2013. World Bank
Cambridge Scholars Publishing (2012), Iovu M-B., Rata G. et al, Applied social sciences 2012, write up an article based on UNICEF experience – Equity based evaluations – means of inclusion of worst off groups in development programmes,
Magheru M. (2010), Decentralization of social protection system in Romania, UNICEF 2010
UNICEF (2007), Gallup (ensured coordination of the study) National analysis of the situation of children left home by migrant parents,
Magheru M., (2004), La place des familles à l’école – le collège expérimental Clisthène, Université Victor Segalen, Bordeaux, France. Master thesis supported the French National Education System in taking decision for continuing the experimental project