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International Women’s Day 2020 – Gender Equality within USAID-funded Activities

Event Details
Tuesday, March 10, 2020 - 9:00am to 10:00am
Time Zone

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About the Event

As part of efforts to advance learning and strengthen capacity in gender programming, USAID facilitated a live-streamed panel discussion with practitioners to reflect on how implementing partners are advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment within their food security programs.

Focusing on IWD’s 2020 theme 'An equal world is an enabled world,’ the discussion:

  • Provided an overview of the framework within which USAID promotes gender equality within their programs.
  • Shared lessons learned on how organizations implementing food security programs are putting forward efforts to promote gender equality and empowerment internally in order to model what they’d like to see in the communities they work in.
  • Enabled participants to engage in dialogue to strengthen peer to peer learning and capacity.


Kavita Sethuraman, USAID Office of Food for Peace

Dr. Kavita Sethuraman has more than 20 years of experience working on maternal and child health and nutrition, food security, and gender, in community-based nutrition programs, policy-level analysis, program design and management, technical assistance, nutrition advocacy and capacity building in sub- Saharan Africa, Asia, and the South Pacific. Before working with the Office of Food for Peace (FFP), she worked on the Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance Project (FANTA-III) and led the maternal and child health and nutrition team. In this capacity, she supported FFP in integrating gender in its development of food security activities.

Nelly Maina, Mercy Corps

Nelly Maina is the Regional Gender Advisor for Mercy Corps in Africa. Her work involves providing technical support to country programs on integrating gender in the sectors of food security, nutrition, livelihoods and economic empowerment. She also supports country programs in rolling out the organization’s gender, diversity and inclusion initiative. Nelly has been working on gender equality and women’s empowerment for the last 15 years in various sectors and organizations in Africa and Asia.

Opper Maravanyika, CARE

Opper Maravanyika, a Gender Expert with 15+ years of development and practical experience in Sudan, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Nepal, Niger. Has vast experience in integrating gender- transformative approaches in food, nutrition security and resilience programs including USAID FFP programs. Expert in leading and designing gender analysis; development of gender integration strategies; implementation of gender transformative tools, conducting Gender Master Trainings and gender related monitoring and evaluation.

Valerie Rhoe Davis, CRS

Valerie Rhoe Davis is a Senior Technical Advisor at Catholic Relief Services. As a Senior Technical Advisor, she supports the design, implementation, innovation, and monitoring of high-quality nutrition- sensitive and gender-sensitive agriculture programming. She supported the development of CRS’ gender strategy, gender organizational management tools, and numerous gender specific or gender-integrated sectoral materials. She co-developed CRS’ Couple Functionality Assessment Tool. Prior to joining CRS, Valerie held several positions at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

Yeva Avakyan, Save the Children

Yeva Avakyan is the Associate Vice President of Gender Equality at Save the Children US. In this role, Yeva provides leadership to the advancement of gender equality in the workplace; mainstreaming of gender equality across programs; and expanding the body of programs that advance gender equality and prevent gender-based violence. Prior to joining Save the Children, Yeva served at World Vision US where she established the Gender Equality and Social Inclusion practice and pioneered the work on prevention of gender-based violence in Zambia and addressing the skewed sex ratios at birth in Armenia. As a founding member of the Gender Practitioners Collaborative, she co-authored the Minimum Standards for Gender Equality Mainstreaming.