2019 Participants | W-GDP: Overcoming Barriers to Women’s Economic Participation
In conjunction with international organizations such as the World Bank, private consultant, Ms. Dinah Adiko, focuses on issues of gender-based violence and gender inclusion in education. Earlier in her career she provided technical advice to Ghana’s Ministry of Gender, Children, and social Protection, directing national and international policy related to gender. During that period she worked to win Cabinet approval of an Affirmative Action bill. In her work with the Ark Foundation and IBIS West Africa she led campaigns on ending gender violence.
Ms. Feyisayo Folashade Ajayi is Head of Think Tank Operations at The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), a business enabling environment advocacy organization. In this position, she engages policymakers and business leaders to remove legal and regulatory barriers and support local economic development through dialogue, research, and advocacy. Ms. Ajayi has led workshops for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises, most of which are women run, as part of the Siemens Integrity Initiative of the Global Compact Network, Nigeria. Her advocacy work includes promoting the passage of three agricultural bills that aim to create a coordinated ecosystem that increases agricultural productivity in Nigeria, which supports smallholder farmers. She also works on making sure women farmers’ voices are represented.
In May, 2019, Mr. Mochamad Arifin, who is also known as Gus Ipin, became the youngest Regent to be elected in Indonesia. Working in an area with above-average poverty rates, Mr. Arifin has helped launch programs to raise women out of poverty and encourage them to become entrepreneurs. In addition, he has supported numerous female empowerment programs to provide training, improve access to low‑interest loans, distribute tools and equipment for business start‑ups, and support local cooperatives.
Ms. Anja Abu Bakar is a Social Impact Director for Blubear Holdings and an advocate for sustainable development goals. Through her enterprising network, she has addressed a number of social issues, including women’s empowerment, safety, and security of underserved communities. As a founding member of the Chamber of Social Entrepreneurs Development Malaysia, Ms. Bakar trains and nurtures rising business talents to build a strong and resilient social entrepreneur ecosystem with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
During her tenure at the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency (CINDE), Ms. Paola Bulgarelli, has supported CINDE’s Gender, Education & Technology Initiative (GET) as well as the Crystal Ball Project, a partnership with the Inter‑American Development Bank and CRUSA to help 100,000 Costa Rican women gain the skills needed to become employed. Previously, Ms. Bulgarelli led the co-creation of CINDE’s Future Me Future Skills program, My 2.0 Version, which provides employed women with the technical and strategic skills they need to progress in their careers and assume leadership roles. She also co‑designed a boot camp for women that teaches technical skills to generate employment opportunities for 200 teenagers who are learning English, future skills and specializations in Linux and the Cloud. Currently, Ms. Bulgarelli manages the learning proposal strategy for Costa Rica in partnership with the local Government, Paola is the project leader and is the person in charge of proposing 3 public policies that must generate impact on quality of education, new employment & economic growth for women. This project is considered part of the national agenda and it was signed in alliance with the Inter American Bank & CRUSA.
Ms. Amelia Maria Teresa Moro Cabanas is the Sub-Contracts and Sub-Award Specialist at the Confederation of Agricultural Cooperatives-CONCOPAR, which is comprised of more than 100 agricultural cooperatives distributed throughout Paraguay. The institution aims to provide technical skills to rural producers in agricultural cooperatives. At CONCOPAR, Ms. Cabanas has implemented gender-inclusive projects, such as the Rural Women’s Network, which aims to empower female farmers in rural areas to increase their income through participation in the agricultural value chain. She has also worked as the project director for a USAID funded project with ACDI/VOCA, which focused on rural economic growth through supporting small farms and agri-business.
As manager of the Moroccan Fund for Sustainable Industrial Zones (FONZID), Ms. Ikrame El Houdali, has played a central role in developing the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s (MCC) compact with the Government of Morocco. Her collaboration with economists, the MCC, the African Development Bank, and the Moroccan government have aided in identifying sectors where economic growth projects are possible, including education for employability and land productivity.
Ms. Sachintha Fernando is an Economic Team Leader and Analyst at Verité Research. Her work examines reasons for low female labor force participation in Sri Lanka, especially among female youth. She has also looked at the impact of social and cultural norms on the gender wage gap. In addition to her role at Verité Research, Ms. Fernando is a member of the stakeholder committee of the Department of Labour where she is has provided feedback on draft employment legislation and looked at impediments to women’s full participation in the labor force.
Ms. Maria Cristina Guell Escobar’s experience in the wind and solar industries and technical background in engineering gives her a unique understanding of the challenges women face in traditionally male-dominated fields. As Under Secretary in Chile’s Ministry of Women and Gender Equity, she focuses on increasing women’s participation in the country’s mining and energy industries.
Ms. Salwa Hamed founded Finvest in 2013 as a freelance financial consultant. She has since provided services for the European Union and the World Bank. Additionally, she serves as a member of the Businesswomen Association in Egypt, where she runs free consultation workshops for startups. Ms. Hamed also mentors a small business owner in Nigeria on a weekly basis, offering support and providing financial advice online.
Federal attorney, Ms. Eyerusalem Jima, teaches at the School of Law and Federalism at the Ethiopian Civil Service University. Ms. Jima’s courses focus on human rights and gender, law, and development. In conjunction with the Ministry of Women, Children, Youth Affairs and the Gender Office at her University, Ms. Jima also trains communities on gender mainstreaming, development, and human rights.
At 23, Ms. Connie Jimenez Romero was one of the youngest women ever to run for mayor in Ecuador during the 2019 regional elections, where she represented the government party in her hometown of Ventana. A former Miss Ecuador, Ms. Jimenez Romero has dedicated her public life to improving and diversifying agriculture in her region and empowering women across sectors. She studied agricultural business administration and is currently working in her family corn, banana, cacao, and rice business where she is leading their crop diversification strategy and product commercialization. In addition, as the International Relations Coordinator in Ecuador’s National Assembly, Ms. Jimenez Romero regularly speaks at national and international conferences about leadership, entrepreneurship, and women’s empowerment.
Ms. Leonora Kusari is the Principle Manager of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)’s Women in Business Program. In this role, she is responsible for managing the disbursement of 5 million euro to women‑owned businesses and overseeing a contract for technical assistance, which has helped mentor over 800 women entrepreneurs. In addition to her work with female-focused business programs, Ms. Kusari is a gender champion for the EBRD Office in Kosovo where she promotes the integration of gender into activities in the office.
As co-founder of the Network of Women in Agribusiness and Development (NoWAD), Ms. Fiona Luswata’s work focuses on the economic empowerment of women and girls by encouraging them to serve as agents of positive change in the agricultural sector. Currently, she serves as NoWAD’s Operations Director and lead trainer for entrepreneurship projects, where she helps women build their skills into profitable and sustainable businesses with financial literacy and entrepreneurship training. NoWAD is currently present in the districts of Kampala, Wakiso, Mityana, and Buikwe.
Business leader, motivational speaker, author, and philanthropist, the Honorable Ts'epang Ts'ita Mosena, is a Member of Parliament and Deputy Leader of the Movement for Economic Change (MEC) Party. Hon. Mosena also serves as Deputy Chair of the Southern African Development Community's (SADC) Sub‑Committee on Trade, Industry, Finance, and Infrastructure. With her twin sister, Hon. Mosena founded BAM Group Lesotho, serving as President, Chief Global Strategist, and Transformation Coach. The company’s philanthropic arm focuses on women and youth empowerment, entrepreneurship development and community building. As Managing Director of BAM Media, she helped publish a weekly newspaper, “Informative” and the bi‑monthly “Finite Magazine,” focused on women and “Achiever Magazine,” focused on youth.
Ms. Sandar Myo has deep experience in all aspects of Burma’s agricultural sector, including trade, investment, and policy. In her position as Secretary General of Myanmar Fruit, Flowers and Vegetable Producers and Exporter Association (MFVP), she promotes agricultural investment and export of the country’s mango, avocado, yam root and coffee crops. An active mentor for young women entrepreneurs, Ms. Myo received the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)‑Japan Women Entrepreneur Award and was selected as a Myanmar Representative to attend the ASEAN‑Japan Women Entrepreneur Exchange Program 2015.
Ms. Crisanta Marlene Paje Rodriguez serves as a Regional Executive Director with the Department of Natural Resources on the Zamboanga Peninsula (Region IX). Her work focuses on gender policy and strategies to ensure that women and marginalized groups are represented in programs, projects, and activities. She also supports civil society organizations that produce non-timber forest projects, most of which are led by women.
Ms. Agnes Samputu leads the Rwanda Chamber of Women Entrepreneurs (RCWE), a department of the Rwanda Private Sector Federation (PSF) that focuses on supporting women entrepreneurs. In this capacity, she helps female entrepreneurs remain competitive in national, regional, and international markets by creating support structures for entrepreneurship. This includes emphasizing the importance of employing women, providing entrepreneurship training and facilitating access to financing for women’s enterprises. In her role with the RCWE, Ms. Samputu works closely with the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion and Rwanda Gender Mainstreaming Office to ensure the effective implementation of existing laws and policies, and to mainstream gender equality and women’s empowerment in all government policies and programs.