The Impact of COVID-19 on Development Professionals: Why It Matters for Diversity and What We Can Do About It

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  • Date: Thu, Oct 21, 2021, 10:00 - 11:00am
  • Location: Webinar
  • Event Type: Online
  • Organizations: Market Systems and Partnerships Activity

The detrimental impact of COVID-19 on the workforce participation and career ambition of women and ethnic or racial minority groups is well documented across many sectors, but there is notably limited evidence from the international development sector. The Feed the Future Market Systems and Partnerships (MSP) Activity sought to remedy this oversight by investing in understanding the specific ways in which the global pandemic is impacting the current and future pipeline of senior leaders on market systems development (MSD) activities. Researchers found that the impacts of COVID-19 on development practitioners, in particular women, are wide-ranging and, if not addressed, will have a negative impact on the diversity of future senior leaders.

During this webinar, the researchers will present key findings from the research and recently-published brief and study. The presentation will explore the inter-sectional findings from the rapid industry survey conducted in April 2021 and contextual information from key informant interviews. Key topics of discussion will include changes to work (e.g., working hours, responsibilities, exposure to technical work, field work), unpaid care work, career ambition, and outlook. During the second half of the webinar, the researchers will explore with participants the ways in which the industry (e.g., implementing partners and donors) is meeting (or not) the needs of development professionals in light of the professional and personal changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. This will be an interactive session.

Speaker bios

Holly Lard Krueger: Ms. Krueger is a market systems and gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) expert with over 15 years of experience providing technical advice in the field of private sector development with a specific focus on applying digital technology, market systems, and Value for Money (VfM) principles to project and strategy design for agriculture, humanitarian aid, business enabling environment reform, trade, urban development, and women’s economic empowerment programs.

Ms. Krueger is a proven strategic leader having managed large market systems projects with diverse teams. She is also skilled as a strategic advisor, coach, and trainer in the practical application of systems approaches to market development and is currently an advisor to USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, a World Bank-funded program in West Africa (TFWA), a DFAT-funded program in Indonesia (PRISMA), and a FCDO-funded program in the DRC (Essor). Ms. Krueger is based in Morocco; has worked in over 15 countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East; and has implemented projects and conducted evaluations for leading donors including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, DFAT, IFC, FCDO, USAID, and the World Bank. She has an M.A. from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a B.A. from Vanderbilt University.

Laura Kim: Ms. Kim is an experienced development researcher, evaluator, and data storyteller. She has both implemented and advised a variety of economic development programs, including those focused on youth employment, workforce development, and girls’ and women’s empowerment. She is deeply knowledgeable about programs that utilize systems change approaches (including collective impact, market systems development, and chain-linked approaches) and thus brings a pragmatic approach to complex program design. Ms. Kim is well versed in mixed methods research, ranging from statistical modelling to nuanced qualitative data collection and analysis. She is also experienced in translating data into compelling and actionable insights through data visualization. From 2016 until 2021, Ms. Kim worked on the Arab Women’s Enterprise Fund (AWEF), which was highlighted by the ICAI as a “positive exception [across youth employment programs reviewed], with a robust approach to generating and using evidence.” At the World Bank, she managed a project focused on out-of-school adolescent girls in Ethiopia, which was highlighted in the Ethiopia Poverty Assessment of 2014, and field coordinated a research study looking at the welfare impact of manufacturing jobs at an industrial zone in which employees were primarily young women. Ms. Kim has an M.S. from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and a B.A. from Amherst College.

Michelle LeMeur: Michelle LeMeur is the Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) Director with Mercy Corps Nepal's USAID-funded BHAKARI (Building Hope Along the Karnali River Basin) program. Her professional and extracurricular GESI experience has centered on programmatic and organizational mainstreaming including diagnostics, analyses, project management, and training. Previously, she worked as the Program Development and Grants Manager with the Mercy Corps Mali team and focused on proposal development, internal and door reporting, program quality, and gender and inclusion technical support. She has humanitarian and development experience in the sectors of economic recovery and market systems, agriculture and food security, shelter and settlements, WASH, food assistance, resilience, education, and peacebuilding, spanning Nepal, Mali, Niger, Malaysia, Thailand, Italy, and the US. She holds an M.A. in International Development and International Economics from Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. from the same institution.