As we approach the 2018 Gender 360 Summit on June 11, which EnCompass is co-sponsoring, several of our staff will present on our work related to “Positive Girl and Boy Development,” the summit’s theme. To kick off this three-part series, we talked with Heran Tadesse, EnCompass’ Senior Gender Advisor in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
EnCompass Insights: Give us a hint about what you’ll discuss at the Gender 360 Summit.
Heran Tadesse: I’ll be discussing the catalytic role the USAID Transform: Primary Health Care Project is taking to prevent child marriage and female genital mutilation/cutting in Ethiopia. EnCompass is the gender partner on this project, which aims to reduce preventable maternal and child deaths by improving health system performance, increasing the availability of high-quality services, influencing household behaviors, and capturing learning to inform policies and programs. Child marriage and female genital mutilation/cutting are major risk factors for negative maternal and child health outcomes. EnCompass works to catalyze action across multiple sectors to prevent these harmful practices.
Insights: What makes this work so important to you, personally?
Heran: I’m passionate about gender equality and eliminating harmful traditional practices that affect the health and well-being of women and girls. It’s so difficult to see young girls with such bright futures being married off—their entire life-course changes. I feel it’s my duty to contribute my share to save these girls because it is possible to influence and change the sociocultural norms and values behind this practices. This passion drives my work every day.
Insights: How did you develop that passion, and what brought you to EnCompass?
Heran: I decided to work in gender as an undergraduate, after taking a course titled “Gender, Culture and Society,” which really helped me see the pervasive inequality that is socially and artificially created, affecting the lives of millions of women, men, boys, and girls. I joined EnCompass because I’m inspired by this company’s unique expertise in gender integration and evaluation, which really matches my theoretical and practical experience.
Insights: What do you hope people will take away from your session at the Gender 360 Summit?
Heran: I am proud to say that child marriage and female genital mutilation/cutting are declining in Ethiopia, and we have the hope of eliminating both practices by 2025. I want to share how important system-level, multisectoral collaboration is to ending these practices. During my session, we will discuss ground-level realities and experiences influencing social norms around practices that deter positive development for adolescent girls.
EnCompass is a proud co-sponsor of the 2018 Gender 360 Summit, hosted by FHI 360. The summit will highlight innovations and produce action-oriented recommendations for how positive girl and boy development—across gender identity, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, and ability—can strengthen development outcomes. We hope to see you on June 11!