Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Strengthening Civil Society's Role in Development: A Partner's Perspective

Event Date: 
Nov 08, 2017
9:30 am to 11:00 am EST
Online Event


This webinar will highlight the tools, approaches, and processes used to engage local partners and promote effective civil society and local engagement for sustainable outcomes. Strengthening Civil Society's Role in Development: A Handbook for Engagement outlines four engagement practices to advance development that is more participatory, inclusive, transparent, accountable and sustainable. Find out how Lutheran World Relief teamed up with women’s networks in Honduras to increase local implementation of national policies and to strengthen their capacity to act as advocates. The project piloted a new methodology for women to advocate for policies that increase their access to resources for agricultural production. Then, learn about World Vision's Citizen Voice and Action approach to social accountability, encouraging constructive dialogue among citizens, service providers, and governments to improve services at the local level using case studies from Bangladesh and Tanzania.

Join the experts this November as they discuss how to further the U.S. Government's Global Food Security Strategy goals by enhancing local capacity and promoting stakeholder engagement and local ownership to improve food security, nutrition, and women’s empowerment.

Register Now!


Susan Pologruto

Susan Pologruto has worked at USAID for over a decade, and she joined the Bureau for Food Security in 2013 to promote local solutions and strengthen civil society engagement.

In this role, she led a collaborative process to develop the Feed the Future Civil Society Action Plan and the Strengthening Civil Society's Role in Development: A Handbook for Engagement. Her work emphasizes the importance of engaging local actors early and often in the design, development, and implementation of projects to reduce hunger and poverty. Previously, she worked in USAID's Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance where she managed the Complex Crises Fund to provide support and resources to mission-critical international development programs. Earlier, she served as a Rule of Law Advisor in USAID's Center for Excellence in Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance. Susan received both a J.D. and an M.S.W. from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. in Women’s Studies from Rutgers University.

Carolyn Barker-Villena
Lutheran World Relief

Carolyn Barker-Villena has spent a decade working at Lutheran World Relief and has served as the senior regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean since November 2013.

In this role, she leads the strategic direction and programming in seven countries (Haiti, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Colombia, and Peru). Her regional portfolio includes agricultural development particularly in cocoa and coffee, resilience and climate change adaptation initiatives, gender and youth integration, agro-enterprise development, and emergency response. During her tenure as director, the regional budget and staffing has more than doubled due to innovative partnerships with both public and private sector donors. Carolyn has a dual M.A. in Latin American Studies and Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Austin and a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Vassar College.

Stanlake Kaziboni
World Vision

Stanlake Kaziboni is World Vision’s business development and quality assurance director in Tanzania.

World Vision Tanzania has been implementing the Babati Pamoja project under the Transforming Household Resilience in Vulnerable Environments campaign. Stanlake works with the project team to gather and distill lessons learned and understand the effects of the project on the individuals, households, and wider community. Stanlake has nearly 17 years’ experience in the development and humanitarian industry, with the last four spent in Tanzania.

Sue Cant
World Vision

Sue Cant is technical advisor to World Vision’s social accountability programs, now scaled to more than 400 sites across 48 countries.

Sue has expertise in sub-national governance and more than 12 years’ working in international development policy, technical advisory, design, monitoring and evaluation in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific. Prior to World Vision, Sue worked as democratic governance advisor to the Australian Government in Papua New Guinea and was responsible for leading the provision of democratic governance delivery support, evaluation, and analysis for the Australian Government’s democratic governance program, Strongim Pipol Strongim Nesen. Sue has also worked on and led evaluations on women’s political leadership and gender based violence and holds two Master’s degrees.

Sara Nitz

Sara Nitz is the policy and advocacy manager for food security and agriculture at InterAction, the largest alliance of U.S.-based international NGOs.

In her role, she facilitates the Food Security Working Group and spearheads NGO advocacy for the Global Food Security Act and Feed the Future. Previously, she was gender advisor to the USAID Africa Bureau and drafted a multi-sectoral research study on the intersection of gender, climate change, and USAID priority sectors in Sub-Saharan Africa. Sara also spent several years on the Hill as senior legislative assistant with Congress member Karen Bass. She led office engagement on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, managed the office appropriations process, and helped shape office policy on international and domestic women’s issues, energy and the environment, higher education, and agricultural policy. Sara has a Master of Arts in International Development Studies from the Elliot School of International Affairs at George Washington University and a B.A. in International Relations and History from Colgate University.

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