In humanitarian contexts, a protection mandate seeks to ensure vulnerable groups achieve a minimum standard of living. In contrast, market systems approaches cannot guarantee this standard, but practitioners argue that the impact is greater and more durable for local populations. Donors must choose what to prioritize, and where. Implementers must develop their teams' capacity to deliver in line with seemingly conflicting approaches. This session drew on field experience from West Nile, Uganda to bring together a range of voices to debate preferred programming strategies for crisis and displacement settings and the struggles and opportunities they see when putting principles into practice. Relevant for experienced Market Systems Development (MSD) professionals as well as those new to the idea of using market approaches in crisis environments, this session got to the heart of the challenge of working differently and pushing ourselves beyond rhetoric.
John Lamm, USAID
John Lamm is a Food Security and Markets Advisor at the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of Food for Peace (USAID/FFP). He has worked on U.S. food assistance since 2008 at USAID and USDA in operations, policy, geographic awards management, and as a technical advisor. He has supported market-based food assistance programming (inclusive of cash, vouchers, and local/regional procurement) since FFP and USDA gained authority to implement such programs.
Grace Becton, Mercy Corps
Grace Becton is a Market Systems Development Technical Advisor for Mercy Corps and will be moderating the debate. She has worked with Mercy Corps since 2014, most recently leading the agency’s efforts to test an MSD approach in response to the South Sudanese refugee influx in Northern Uganda. She recently joined Mercy Corps’ Technical Support Unit and is now based in Washington, DC supporting the organization’s global MSD and markets in crisis portfolio.
Anna Nicol, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM)
Anna Nicol is a Policy Analyst at the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), leading on cash and voucher assistance, relief and development coherence, livelihoods, and multilateral development bank engagement. Prior to joining PRM, Ms. Nicol led on PEPFAR’s engagement in several countries, including Kenya and Eswatini, at the State Department’s Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator.
Kristin O'Planick, USAID Bureau for Food Security
Kristin O'Planick is a Market Systems Specialist in USAID's Bureau for Food Security where she seeks to advance market systems facilitation throughout the Feed the Future portfolio. Over nearly two decades in development, she has supported a variety of economic growth activities including market systems, enterprise development, and youth employment programs. She also managed Marketlinks.org and the Leveraging Economic Opportunities (LEO) project. Right now she is excited to bring together the concepts of resilience and market systems.
Alison Hemberger, Mercy Corps
As Team Lead for Markets, Alison directs Mercy Corps’ global efforts on market systems, with a focus on crisis response and resilience in markets. In prior roles within the agency, Alison served as an advisor on Market Systems Development (MSD) and adaptive management and as Liberia’s Director of Results Management. Before joining Mercy Corps, Alison worked with a range of organizations on systems-based approaches to development, such as Skoll Foundation, USAID, Technoserve, CARE, and Innovations for Poverty Action. Alison holds an MPP from the Harvard Kennedy School.
In 2018, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched its first gender equality strategy with a focus on women’s economic empowerment (WEE). This strategy is underpinned by the belief that gender-intentional programming and the opportunity to participate in, contribute to, and benefit from economic growth are essential for women to gain access to income and assets, control and benefit from economic gain, and the power to make decisions.
Around the world, women join groups to provide economic and social support for each other. These groups take different forms, but they share common features, including voluntary membership, self-governance, contributions in the form of time, labor, or money, regular meetings, and the aim to empower and improve the welfare of their members. Research from various countries has shown that these groups are powerful and cost-effective models to deliver critical health, livelihoods, empowerment, and financial inclusion benefits to women.
To advance these broader benefits, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is working with governments to transform existing or new women’s groups into Women’s Empowerment Collectives (WECs) -- a new model aimed at building women’s human, financial, and social capital. Participants of this session learned about the Foundation’s WECs strategy and ways they are working across India, Nigeria and Uganda to amplify WECs for WEE!
Dr. Sybil Chidiac, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
As Senior Program Officer on the Gender Equality team at The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Sybil Chidiac is responsible for developing and leading the Women’s Empowerment Collectives strategy with a focus on advancing Women’s Economic Empowerment outcomes across Africa. Throughout her career, Sybil's work has focused on generating evidence and new models that inform a broad understanding of savings groups as a platform for social change as well as policies that drive recognition and engagement with the formal financial sector. Sybil has worked in partnership with government, banks, and fintech actors to catalyze new mechanisms and innovate digitally enabled products and services that reach the women members. Sybil holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs and French from Emory University, a Master of Science degree in International Community Economic Development from Southern New Hampshire University, a certificate in Strategic Leadership in Microfinance from Harvard Business School. Over the past 16 years, she has worked in over 20 African countries including developing and emerging markets.
Yamini Atmavilas, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Yamini Atmavilas has been with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for nearly 6 years, and is based in New Delhi. As part of the Gender Equality team, she is responsible for executing the foundation’s women’s economic empowerment with women’s collectives, and gender data and evidence work in India. In her previous role at the foundation, she supported the measurement and evaluation work for the foundation’s work on health systems and Community Mobilization in Bihar. Yamini’s professional experience spans research and capacity building for government on gender budgeting, gender policy and program design, strengthening statistical systems for gender data, and carried out operational and impact evaluations of multiple govt programs. She holds a PhD from Emory University specializing in women’s labor migration, economic development and changing gender identities.
Dr. Thomas de Hoop, American Institutes for Research
Thomas de Hoop is a Principal Economist at American Institutes for Research (AIR) in Washington D.C. He has 13 years of experience designing, implementing, and leading mixed-methods impact evaluations and systematic reviews in low-and middle-income countries. Currently, he oversees a research and evaluation portfolio with a focus on the impact, scalability, and cost-effectiveness of women’s groups and education innovations. He is the principal investigator for a four-year research project supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that focuses on synthesizing, strengthening, and disseminating research on the impact and cost-effectiveness of women’s groups in India, Nigeria, and Uganda. Further, he is the principal investigator for a meta-evaluation of education innovations in humanitarian contexts and a cluster-randomized controlled trial of a multifaceted education program in Zambia. Previously, Dr. de Hoop co-led a systematic review on the impact of economic self-help group programs on women’s empowerment and a quasi-experimental study on the impact of self-help groups in Odisha, India.
Automation, artificial intelligence, the gig economy, and demographic and social shifts are changing the very nature of work. Women, who are still striving to achieve workplace gender equality, are particularly vulnerable in this time of rapid change. In this lunch session we discussed how companies must take action to ensure that women can not only participate, but also lead in the workplaces of the future. The session shared findings from a recent report BSR published in partnership with Women Deliver and provided perspectives on how automation and the gig economy are affecting women in the Bangladesh workforce.
Chhavi Ghuliani, BSR
Chhavi oversees BSR’s relationships with governments and foundations in North America, where he seeks to create cross-sector partnerships between the private sector and donors to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Prior to joining BSR, Chhavi worked for a socially responsible investment firm, where he combined financial and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) analysis to make sustainable investment recommendations. He also spent several years as an operations manager for Oracle’s Asia-Pacific and Americas regions, opening a new operation in India. He also developed a CSR strategy for a spirits company in Mexico, developed sustainability reports for companies in India and Saudi Arabia, and worked as a freelance CSR consultant for the Institute of Public Health. He speaks English, Spanish, and Hindi. Chhavi holds an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of Business and an M.A. in International Studies from the Lauder Institute of the University of Pennsylvania. He holds a B.A. in English and Computer Science from Rutgers University.
Moonmoon Shehrin, BRAC
Moonmoon Shehrin joined BRAC in September 2012. She has designed and implemented new financial products and services such as the Medical treatment loan and Microinsurance. She also established a campaign unit in Microfinance to drive new initiatives in the field. She is now leading the Digital Cluster unit which focuses on digital interventions to help Microfinance programme become more efficient, reduce operating cost and to ensure an effective ecosystem that will support microfinance clients adapt better to the changing digital landscape of the financial sector. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business economics from York University, Toronto and a Master’s degree in Poverty and Development from Institute of Development Studies, Brighton.
Out-of-pocket payments for health can cause households to incur catastrophic expenditures, which in turn can push them into poverty. About 100 million people are still being pushed into “extreme poverty” because they have to pay for health care. Over 800 million people (almost 12 percent of the world’s population) spend at least 10 percent of their household budgets to pay for health care. This session focused on DFS solutions, case studies and insights that support economic resilience in a health context. Panelists will also discuss insights surrounding DFS deployments in the healthcare sector, what are design aspects particular to supporting health service delivery.
Dr. Amani M'Bale, USAID
A financial inclusion and gender expert, Amani M’Bale is the Digital Financial Services Advisor for the Office of Health Systems in USAID’s Bureau for Global Health. In her current role as the Digital Financial Services Advisor, she promotes awareness and understanding of digital financial services among USAID staff, and support Missions and the Bureau to incorporate, strengthen, and scale digital financial services within their health programs. She holds a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University, School of International Affairs, and a Master of Business Administration from the IE Business School in Madrid. Amani is certified in Digital Money by the Digital Frontiers Institute/Tufts University and is fluent in French.
Ellen Galdava, FHI 360
Ellen Galdava has four years of experience in project management, proposal writing, and managing programs in international development and international education. A Program Officer at FHI 360, she manages a multi million program under the Digital Development Feed the Future (D2FTF) initiative and leads research related to digital financial services in education and health programs. Ms. Galdava has extensive expertise managing programs funded by public and private agencies including the U.S. and State Department, USAID, Millennium Challenge Corporation, Carnegie Corporation, U.S.-Russia Foundation and U.S. Embassy in Iraq. Her work in higher education included managing a multi million program and training higher education specialists and government officials. Ms. Galdava brings expertise in online class design and strategic planning, international exchange programs, youth, leadership training, conflict resolution in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, and identity politics.
Shelley Spencer, Strategic Impact Advisors
Shelley Spencer is the CEO of Strategic Impact Advisors, www.siaedege.com, a boutique consulting firm that specializes in providing technical consulting on the use of mobile technology for development including digital payments, financial inclusion and a regional economic impact practice. Her firm holds a cooperative agreement with USAID on agent strengthening and e-payments. Shelley started her career practicing telecommunications regulatory law in Washington, D.C. in the 1990s where she landed in the mobile space and became an accidental entrepreneur founding several successful mobile companies. A consulting gig with NetHope, Inc. in 2011 set her on the path to work with USAID to understand the mobile money space as a tool for enabling development outcomes. She has supported market developments in Indonesia and the work of USAID to advance the digital payments movement across its portfolio. Most recently her work has taken her to Ethiopia, Nigeria and Indonesia. Shelley’s dream is to see digital payments become the bridge to financial inclusion for the 1.7 billion in the world without a bank account. Shelley received her law degree from Georgetown and a B.A. in Economics from Baldwin-Wallace College in Ohio.
Ankunda Kariisa, USAID
Ankunda Kariisa recently completed a AAAS Science and Technology Policy fellowship with USAID’s Digital Finance practice where she led the team's monitoring, evaluation and learning efforts. Ankunda also played a key role supporting the Digital Finance team's sector integration work, with a specific focus on global health. Prior to joining USAID, Ankunda was a post-doctoral researcher in Microbiology at the University of Washington in Seattle where she worked on antibiotic resistance. She obtained a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from University of North Carolina (UNC-CH) in Chapel Hill, studying cholera, and a Bachelor of Science in Physiology with a minor in Pharmacology and Therapeutics from McGill University.