Who We Are

The Centre for Applied Development Studies is a Belizean Capacity Development Company that actively develops and manages technical assistance for organisations, companies and groups that are working in a developing country context. To enhance project and program design and 
implementation, CADS provides advisory services, research products, context assessments, stakeholder consultations and thematically focused training for its clients. In the last three (3) years we have targeted our technical support to community-based and national cooperative 
organisations as well as micro and medium size businesses. At the level of community-based organisations we have engaged with a wide-cross section of stakeholders focused on participatory planning and decision-making for sustainable community development and natural resource use. CADS works in dynamic environments at all times using our excellent cross-cultural skills; productive networking capacities and training competencies.

Our Values


 We are passionate about attaining our goals, and we partner with our clients to achieve their goals.

Ethical Integrity

We conduct business with the highest level of personal, professional, and ethical integrity, which are non-negotiable. 



We seek to fully understand our clients’ goals, interests, wants, needs, expectations, opportunities and challenges.


We believe in being innovative is essential to stay current and responsive to our employees and clients’ needs. 


We believe transparency helps to build trust and makes us all stronger. It is our moral responsibility to remain open and honest with our clients.



We believe communication should be timely and always consider it priority for all parties.


Meet the Team



Dr. Jay Coombs, Founder & CEO

For over 20 years, Dr. Jay Coombs has been a Development Practitioner in Belize. In previous professional capacities, she served as the Programme Analyst for the Poverty and Democratic Governance portfolio at the UN Development Program-Belize, In-Country Manager for the Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID), Programme Manager for Organisational Development at the US Peace Corps-Belize, and Community and Institutional Development Specialist for the Belize Social Investment Fund. Throughout her career, Dr. Coombs has actively established and maintained sound partnerships with national development organizations and supported a wide cross-section of stakeholders, including: municipal bodies, village councils, community groups, academia, youth and civil society organizations with institutional strengthening, capacity development and direct technical assistance. Dr. Coombs is a trained researcher with demonstrated experience designing and conducting data collection and analysis using both qualitative and quantitative analysis. She brings field experiences from her work with civil society and non-government organisations in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Wales. She earned her Doctorate in Politics at the University of York, UK, Master’s degree in Development Policy and Planning at the University of Wales, Swansea, UK, and Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education at the University of Belize. Dr. Coombs is fluent in English and Creole, converses at the intermediate level in Spanish. She is highly competent in Garifuna.

Aretha Mortis, Operations Assistant

Aretha Mortis has spent her career as a financial and administrative manager, maintaining full accounting systems, monitoring and evaluating financial systems and structures, facilitating logistical procurement and human resources management. She brings over 25 years’ experience in financial and administrative management in the public, non-governmental and private sectors, ensuring that the organizations are compliant to their own policies and regulations and those of donors and regulatory agencies. As such, Ms. Mortis has extensive background knowledge in the policies and procedures requirements for national, international and multinational donor agencies, which include the Government of Belize, the Protected Areas Conservation Trust, Inter-American Development Bank, the Organization of American States, United Nations Development Programme GEF and the World Bank Group. Apart from her financial management and accounting expertise, Ms. Mortis has facilitated internal and external Annual Financial Audits for numerous government agencies, businesses and corporations and subsequently prepared monthly and annual financial reports. With her wealth of knowledge, skills and experiences, Ms. Mortis ensures the day-to-day management and implementation of CADS project activities, which include budgeting, financial management, monitoring and evaluation, inventory management, human resources management and logistical support.

Amani Coombs, IT Administrator

As one of the earliest team members of CADS, Ms. Coombs worked tirelessly to organized website templates and configure digital marketing systems to promote research and projects. She currently optimizes the company's digital presence by maintaining quality and security standards. In addition, she also facilitates team trainings and development of new product applications to facilitate CADS operations. Today, Ms. Coombs is presently instrumental in redesigning and updating websites, maintaining CADS presence across various digital platforms, and conducting analytical evaluations, measurement and reporting on the company’s digital performance and presence