Two Women Honored for Advancing Gender Equity at ACDI/VOCA

Mar 08, 2011, 10:01 ET from ACDI/VOCA

New Award Highlights Outstanding Gender Commitment, Expertise

WASHINGTON, March 8, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- ACDI/VOCA today, International Women's Day, recognizes two outstanding community members—Shipra Deo and Nancy Walker—with its first Advancing Gender Equity Award, which recognizes their commitment to gender equity and their work to promote gender approaches and analysis in ACDI/VOCA's global programs.

Deo is an ACDI/VOCA gender and livelihoods specialist who works on agricultural value chain development in India, focusing especially on women farmers. Walker is a longtime ACDI/VOCA volunteer, who has helped build and integrate gender approaches into several overseas programs.

"I commend Ms. Deo and Ms. Walker for the tremendous work they do in the field to empower women and men in their communities," says ACDI/VOCA President Carl Leonard, who presented them with the Advancing Gender Equity Award.

"I also thank Ms. Deo and Ms. Walker for their leadership and willingness to share what they know so others in our community can learn about the gender methods so important to our work's success," Leonard says.

Advancing Gender Equity Award

ACDI/VOCA instituted the Advancing Gender Equity Award this year as a way to recognize the commitment and extraordinary investments that many of its volunteers and staff bring to the task of addressing gender equity issues in its development programs.

One ACDI/VOCA volunteer and one field staff person will be recognized every year, with the announcement released on International Women's Day.

The 2011 awardees, Deo and Walker, were selected by a group of ACDI/VOCA peers based on staff nominations.

Gender Times Two: Extraordinary Efforts

Shipra Deo, ACDI/VOCA Field Staff

Deo, the 2011 field staff awardee, is the gender and livelihoods specialist on the Sunhara project, based in India, who has played a lead role in documenting and sharing the results of the program's gender initiatives.

In November, Deo participated in a workshop in Nairobi on Gender in Value Chains where she shared learnings from the Sunhara work with 2,500 women farmers who are organized into collectives. She also has led several gender awareness workshops for project staff as well as beneficiary trainings, and has compiled gender training materials for other project work.

Nancy Walker, ACDI/VOCA Volunteer

Walker, the 2011 volunteer awardee, has completed 10 short-term volunteer assignments since 2000 on various topics, including gender assessment and training, and youth development. 

This past year, Walker completed two volunteer assignments to develop gender approaches for an agriculture and environment program in Sierra Leone. In July, she assessed the program's gender integration efforts, reviewing all phases and operations of the work.

She returned to Sierra Leone this past winter and developed a Gender Toolkit for staff, worked with team leaders to designate a gender officer or gender designee in each field office, and provided gender training to staff and select partners.

Salute to International Women's Day

"On this special International Women's Day—celebrating 100 years of honoring the unique role women have in global economic and social development—we reconfirm our commitment to gender equity in all aspects of our programs and operations," Leonard says.

"By honoring our awardees today, we hope to highlight the crucial need for our community to continue to invest in the skills, knowledge and learning so necessary to gender approaches, so that more women and men benefit from international development efforts."

ACDI/VOCA staff will celebrate International Women's Day with their communities, partners and beneficiaries worldwide. To learn more, visit


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Media Contact

Sandra Bunch, ACDI/VOCA, (202) 550-2152 or

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Carl Leonard