Panel 3: What Is the Role of Donors in Setting Expectations for Gender Integration?

The final session of the day focused on the role of bilateral and private foundation donors in supporting gender integration and female empowerment in international development programs. The prestigious panel discussed the internal processes institutions have taken to prioritize organizational gender mainstreaming and to focus on female empowerment in the social, educational, and economic spheres. Moderated by MSNBC journalist Richard Lui, the panel also explored the value of setting global standards for gender integration and the role that donors play in setting those standards.

Key Messages

  • Both panelists and audience members acknowledged the need for greater collaboration between donors on setting and achieving milestones, particularly the Sustainable Development Goals. A lack of coordination among donors on gender equality and female empowerment priorities results in truncated funding streams that can lessen impact achieved already as implementers wait for the next surge of funding from another donor.
  • Major bilateral and private foundation donors are funding comparable interventions on gender equality and female empowerment, yet the required indicators for measuring outcomes varies by donor. A mutually agreed upon set of gender indicators has enormous potential for expanding learnings across a spectrum of programs, geographies, and organizations. The result could be a body of information lending robust support for gender integrated programming. (See Outcome 3.)
  • The role donor organizations play in support of gender integration relates to their funding mission. Bilateral donor agencies, like USAID and UK DFID, have taken proactive positions on gender integration through the establishment and enforcement of gender policies and standards that are both inward and outward facing. Private foundation donors have found focusing on female empowerment in key practice areas – like maternal and child health or economic empowerment – is more effective as a means to fund programs in line with the values of their corporate arms.


Richard Lui, Journalist, MSBNC, MODERATOR

Richard Lui, Journalist, MSNBC and NBC News, has also anchored at CNN Worldwide, where he was the first Asian American male to anchor a daily, national cable news show in the United States. Mr. Lui focuses on stories related to humanitarian issues, and his enterprise reporting has included topics of gender/racial equality, affordable housing, and human trafficking. His community work spans 30 years and six continents.

Mr. Lui currently serves as an ambassador for Plan International USA (along with Freida Pinto and Marcia Cross) and the Epilepsy Foundation. He is a UN Foundation Fellow and sits on the President’s council for America’s largest food source to the poor, Food Bank for New York City. Before journalism, Mr. Lui spent 15 years in business with Fortune 500 and tech companies. He patented a global payment system and co-founded a Citibank carve-out. Business Insider recognized Lui as one of 21 dynamic careers to watch alongside Mark Cuban and Warren Buffett.

Vikki Stein, Director, Office of Gender Equality & Women's Empowerment, USAID

Vikki Stein, Director, Office of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, USAID provides technical leadership, advice, and support in program and policy matters pertaining to gender integration, women’s leadership and gender-based violence. Previously, she worked in USAID’s Egypt and South Sudan missions for six years managing their health portfolios. Prior to joining USAID, Vikki worked for the Peace Corps for nearly 13 years where she started out as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras. She served in many capacities there including the WID/GAD Sector Coordinator for the Inter-America and Pacific Region, and later as Programming and Training Officer for Peace Corps/Nicaragua. Ms. Stein was a domestic violence counselor and advocate for Latina survivors of domestic violence in Seattle, Washington. She has experience in managing development programs in Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. She studied Spanish and Women’s Studies at the University of Washington.

Sally Gear, Senior Education Advisor, Human Development Department, UK DFID

Sally Gear, Senior Education Advisor, UK Department for International Development (DFID) has been policy lead for the UK government’s work on girls’ education since 2009. She currently managed the UK’s flagship Girls' Education Challenge, a £355 million global fund targeted specifically at improving the educational opportunities for the world’s most marginalized girls and which will reach up to one million girls by 2017. Ms. Gear started her career as a research assistant in gender and development economics and went on to work as a Lecturer in Social Development at the Institute of Development Policy and Management at the University of Manchester where she also co-wrote and delivered the Institute’s short course on Gender and Development Policy. She has worked as Regional Education Adviser for Sub-Saharan Africa for the British Council and Gender and Education Adviser for the INGO Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO).

Amy Babchek, Senior Manager, Nike Foundation

Amy Babchek, Senior Manager, Nike Foundation has spent the past 10 years working with and for philanthropic and donor organizations that focus on adolescent girls' educational and economic opportunities, securing their health and human rights and believing these are the best investments the world can make for families, communities, and nations. Her portfolio of work includes the Coalition for Adolescent Girls and the related Girls Count report series; the Grassroots Girls Initiative, a consortium of six foundations investing in local solutions for girls; and market-based solutions for girls.

She has managed portfolios of work in support of gender transformative approaches, quality of reproductive health care, and first generation youth and HIV programming. Ms. Babchek was sensitized to gender issues at a young age by her grandmother – a true Rosie the Riveter living in Detroit – then realized they were global issues in her early 20's when she lived in a rural village in Ghana. She holds an M.A. in Gender and Public Policy from Columbia University.

Sarah Thorn, Senior Director, Federal Government Relations, Walmart

Sarah Thorn, Senior Director, Federal Government Relations, Walmart is responsible for managing international policy issues at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. In this capacity, she advocates for Walmart priorities in legislation and trade negotiations that impact the company's worldwide sourcing and retail distribution rights. She leads a team that manages food and nutrition policy, transportation and supply chain issues. In 2011, Ms. Thorn led the strategy team that developed Walmart's Global Women's Economic Empowerment Initiative, which focuses on empowering women throughout Walmart’s global supply chain. Before joining Walmart, Ms. Thorn worked for seven years at the Grocery Manufacturers Association where she led the food, beverage and consumer products industry advocacy on international trade issues. Ms. Thorn holds an M.A. in law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Joy Marini, Executive Director Corporate Contributions, Johnson & Johnson

Joy Marini, Executive Director, Corporate Contributions, Johnson & Johnson, leads the company's global philanthropy focused on improving health for women and girls. She is responsible for Johnson & Johnson's international programs on maternal and infant health, child health, and women and girls empowerment as part of the company’s commitment to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Ms. Marini assumed her current position in 2007 following six years with the Johnson & Johnson Pediatric Institute. She has been instrumental in developing sustainable partnerships to save maternal and newborn lives, most notably for addressing birth asphyxia through training neonatal birth attendants.

Her work in this area began with a first-ever, country-wide newborn resuscitation training collaboration with the Chinese Ministry of Health that is now in its 10th year of implementation. Ms. Marini also forged the first private sector partnership with the Health 4+ (H4+), a joint effort by United Nations and related agencies. This partnership works in Ethiopia and Tanzania to build health care capacity with a goal of improving the health of women and children.

Beth Mitchneck, Ph.D., Program Director, National Science Foundation

Dr. Beth Mitchneck, Ph.D., Program Director, National Science Foundation focuses her research on migration and displaced populations as well as on the geography of the former Soviet Union with an emphasis on migration in Russia and Georgia. Her most recent publications include collaborative articles with a combination of Joanna Regulska, Peter Kabachnik, Olga Mayorova, and Magda Grawbowski: “Displacing Blame: Divergent Accounts of the Georgia-Abkhazia Conflict” in Ethnopolitics; “Traumatic Masculinities: Shifting Gender Roles Of Georgian IDPs From Abkhazia, in Gender, Place and Culture; “Where and When is Home? The Double Displacement of Georgian IDPs from Abkhazia” in Journal of Refugee Studies; “Post” Conflict Displacement: Isolation and Integration: in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers special issue on Geographies of Peace and Conflict.

In the last ten years, she has held numerous administrative positions including associate dean for academic affairs of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, interim vice provost for academic affairs, interim dean, and associate dean of the Colleges of Letters, Arts and Science, at the University of Arizona. Dr. Mitchneck holds Ph.D. in Geography from Columbia University.

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