Sarah Degnan Kambou

ICRW President Featured on Trust Women

Trust Women

ICRW President Sarah Degnan Kambou spoke to Trust Women about why she is attending the Conference this year and explains where she would like to see action being taken in 2014. 

ICRW President Sarah Degnan Kambou spoke to Trust Women about why she is attending their conference this year and explains where she would like to see action being taken in 2014. 

ICRW President Sarah Degnan Kambou Interviewed by Research Media

International Innovation

ICRW President Sarah Degnan Kambou spoke to Research Media about her decades-long career, focusing on global health and women's and girls' issues, and she spoke to how ICRW's mission is working to combat poverty and empower women.

ICRW President Sarah Degnan Kambou spoke to Research Media about her decades-long career, focusing on global health and women's and girls' issues, and she spoke to how ICRW's mission is working to combat poverty and empower women.

Clinton’s Women-Centric Approach to Foreign Policy Could Shape Her Campaign

The Washington Post

ICRW President Sarah Degnan Kambou speaks to the Washington Post about the critical role that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton played in ensuring that women's and girl's issues were central to U.S. foreign policy and diplomacy.

ICRW President Sarah Degnan Kambou speaks to the Washington Post about the critical role that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton played in ensuring that women's and girl's issues were central to U.S. foreign policy and diplomacy.

ICRW Leaders to Present at CSW

Sarah Degnan Kambou and Ravi Verma to address violence against women and girls during UN gathering
Mon, 03/04/2013

ICRW’s Ravi Verma will next week address member state representatives at the 57th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), held March 4 to 15 at the United Nations. Both Verma and ICRW President Sarah Degnan Kambou will also take part in a number of panel discussions on eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls. 

International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) President Sarah Degnan Kambou and Director of the Asia Regional Office Ravi Verma, will present at a variety of events during the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), March 4 to 15 at the United Nations in New York.

Discussions at this year’s CSW gathering will center on eliminating and preventing all forms of violence against women and girls worldwide. Established in 1946 by the UN Economic and Social Council, the commission represents the primary policy-making body dedicated to gender equality and women’s advancement. Representatives of member states gather at the UN each year to assess global progress on gender equality, set standards and design policies to promote equality and women’s empowerment worldwide. This year’s CSW represents the 57th such gathering.

At the event, Kambou and Verma will share their expertise on, among other topics, how to address the causes and consequences of child marriage and engage men and boys in preventing violence against women. In a March 11 presentation to UN delegates, Verma will draw on ICRW data as well as recent reports of sexual violence across the globe – including a gang rape that killed a young student in India – to emphasize the importance of involving men in efforts to eradicate violence against women.

“We are eager to see included in educational and community outreach activities more explicit discussions about masculinity and what it means to be a man,” Verma said. “Men and boys need to be viewed as partners, not as obstacles in our work to end violence.”

Kambou will touch on the same issue during a March 4 event focused on preventing gender-based violence through education and sport. She is expected to reference findings from Parivartan and Gender Equality Movement in Schools (GEMS), two ICRW programs that address gender equity and violence through sports and the classroom setting, respectively. Two days later, Kambou will moderate a panel discussion about policy recommendations for how to engage men in gender-based violence prevention. The recommendations were put forward by UNFPA and MenEngage, a network of nongovernmental organizations committed to involving men and boys in reducing gender inequality.

In another event during CSW, Verma will address child marriage, a form of violence against girls – and a violation of their human rights – that persists around the globe. Verma will focus his discussion on how the practice of child marriage manifests itself in South Asia and what steps can be taken to prevent it.

Obama Appoints ICRW President to Global Development Council

Sarah Degnan Kambou represents nonprofit community on presidential council for two-year term
Tue, 01/22/2013

President Obama appoints ICRW President Sarah Degnan Kambou to serve on his Global Development Council, which advises him on global development policies, practices and emerging issues.

White House officials announced late last week that International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) President Sarah Degnan Kambou has been appointed by President Obama to serve on his Global Development Council for a two-year term. Members of the council advise the president and other senior officials on United States global development policies, practices and emerging issues in the field.

Kambou is one of 12 individuals from a variety of sectors, including, among others, philanthropic organizations, institutions of higher education and private industry who serve on the council. The U.S. secretaries of state, treasury and defense as well as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) administrator and the chief executive office of the Millennium Challenge Corporation serve as non-voting members. The council is administered by USAID.

“I am deeply honored that President Obama has appointed me to serve on the Global Development Council,” Kambou said. “This is a tremendous opportunity to represent the nonprofit community and those who work for effective global development that creates a more safe, equitable and prosperous world.”

Kambou has been president of ICRW since 2010. She joined ICRW in 2002 and has held numerous leadership roles prior to becoming president, including serving as chief operating officer from 2008 to 2010, and vice president of health and development from 2006 to 2008. Prior to joining ICRW, Kambou spent more than a decade in sub-Saharan Africa managing programs and operations for CARE. 

Obama established the Global Development Council in 2010 as part of the Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development, which upholds development as vital to national security and as a strategic, economic and moral imperative for the U.S.

“I applaud the creation of this council and its mandate,” Kambou said. “And particularly with the forthcoming transition in leadership at the State Department, I welcome the opportunity to advise the administration on issues related to gender equality, empowering women and girls and eradicating poverty worldwide.”

ICRW Experts to Attend Clinton Global Initiative

President Sarah Degnan Kambou and economist Anne Golla participate in annual gathering
Fri, 09/21/2012

ICRW President Sarah Degnan Kambou on Sept. 25 will facilitate a discussion about the importance of investing in women and girls during the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in New York.

International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) President Sarah Degnan Kambou on Sept. 25 will facilitate a discussion about the importance of investing in women and girls during the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in New York. ICRW’s Anne Golla, a senior economist, also will attend the three-day event. 

Kambou advises CGI on cross-cutting gender issues. Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, CGI convenes a community of global leaders to craft solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. Each year, CGI members make commitments to take action on certain issues. 

The theme of this year’s event centers on how to collectively design a world to create more opportunity and equality. Specifically, CGI will explore how individuals can be empowered to create a better future, how investments can provide healthy, sustainable environments to live, work and learn, and how to create systems that ensure opportunity and prosperity for all in an increasingly interconnected world. 

As is always the case at CGI, empowering and involving women and girls in efforts to address global issues will continue to take center stage. 

Indeed, that will be the case when Kambou facilitates the “Uncovering the Multiplier Effect of Investing in Women” session. The discussion will examine how rigorous evaluation of investments in women is key to helping foundations and philanthropists uncover the larger community impact of their investments. 

Participating in the discussion will be Afshan Khan, chief executive officer of Women for Women International, which supports women survivors of war; and Timothy A. A. Stiles, global chair of International Development Assistance Services at KPMG, a global network of professional firms providing audit, tax and advisory services. 

Meanwhile, Golla on Sept. 25 will participate in a session focused on integrating women into global supply chains. Golla has particular expertise in women’s employment and entrepreneurship and measuring women’s economic empowerment

ICRW and CGI:

Former President Clinton Recognizes Gap Inc’s P.A.C.E. Program

Women in Spotlight at Clinton Global Initiative

Child Brides: A Global Problem

Wed, 06/06/2012
CNN

CNN's Jonathan Mann speakss with ICRW's Sarah Degnan Kambou about how to improve the plight of child brides globally.

Half the Sky

Mon, 05/14/2012

ICRW is proud to be part of the Half the Sky movement, which seeks to turn oppression into opportunity for women worldwide.

Inspired by journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn's book, the Half the Sky movement seeks to ignite the change needed to put an end to the oppression of women and girls worldwide. Half the Sky recently launched its new website, which brings together videos from experts to raise awareness of issues affecting women and girls and provide concrete solutions to turn their oppression into opportunities.

In this video, ICRW President Sarah Degnan Kambou talks about reproductive rights. ICRW is a partner in the Half the Sky movement.

Rural Impressions

ICRW experts contemplate lessons from the world's women
Fri, 02/10/2012

ICRW experts reflect on the lives of rural women we have encountered around the world, and the lessons they taught us about economic empowerment and development.

This is what we know: Women are capable. Women are resourceful. Women are enterprising. We also know that across the globe women – millions of women – are prevented from reaching their full potential day after day, year after year. Invisible barriers resulting from gender inequality and a lack of investment stand firmly in their way.

But if given half a chance, we now also know that women have the potential to change the course of their own lives while also putting their children – and even their communities – onto a path towards a healthier, more prosperous future. And because the majority of women in low-income countries live outside cities, rural areas in particular are fertile ground for enormous economic growth. Society as a whole would be the ultimate beneficiary.

This year, the 56th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) will focus on the empowerment of rural women and their role in poverty and hunger eradication as well as in development generally. The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) and its partners will take a deeper look at the critical role agriculture initiatives can play to this end, during a UNDP-hosted event as CSW kicks off on Feb. 27.  

Over the next few weeks, ICRW experts will blog on the lives of rural women we have encountered around the world, and the lessons they taught us about economic empowerment and development. We see tremendous potential, from India to the under-irrigated fields of East Africa and many places in between and beyond.

Put a cell phone in a rural woman’s hand and it might help her reach bigger and better markets for the honey she produces. Give her access to credit and she can purchase the mobile water pump that will enable her to grow and sell crops during the dry season while her husband holds down a job. Help her own livestock and land, and she will be able turn those assets into a source of income.

As a result, she will likely win respect and gain value in the eyes of her family and community for contributing to the household’s coffers. She may then be entrusted to make important financial decisions such as whether to save her new-found income, re-invest it or pay for the food and education her children need to become productive adults. In short, she is empowered, her family is stronger and the household is put on the pathway to economic growth.

More and more, various sectors of the global community have embraced the promise of this formula, from nonprofits and charitable foundations to multi-national corporations and a multiplying number of social enterprises that are mobilizing everywhere. Many of these groups – including ICRW – are forging new partnerships to explore this largely untapped source of future growth and prosperity.

Sarah Degnan Kambou is ICRW's president.


Read the blogs in our Rural Impressions series:

Liquid Gold

Pedaling for Water

Small Earnings Mean Survival for Rural Afghan Women

Commentary: Generation Girl

It’s time to end child marriage
Mon, 12/19/2011

Every day an estimated 25,000 girls are married off against their will, which leads to tragic consequences for girls and their societies. It doesn’t have to be this way. With growing global momentum to stop this harmful practice, the time is ripe to ensure no girl is forced to marry too young and give up her dreams.

Every day an estimated 25,000 girls are married off against their will. Some are as young as eight years old. Others have just entered puberty. No matter their age, the moment the wedding ceremony ends, so do the girls’ dreams of becoming a teacher, a health worker, a lawyer.

It’s a tragic scenario, but not just for girls. It’s tragic for all of us who desire an economically stable, healthy world. Instead of growing up to be women who can contribute to the overall well-being of their families and communities, most child brides will drop out of school. From Yemen to Nicaragua, many girls will give birth while their own bodies are still developing, leading to terrible health problems. Most will live in servitude and suffer abuse. These are common outcomes of child marriage that perpetuate the cycle of poverty, lack of education, poor health and gender inequity in low-income societies.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Investing now in girls at risk of early marriage can yield lasting social and economic benefits not only for the girls themselves, but their families and society, too. It’s the right thing to do, and it’s the smart thing to do.

ICRW has been advocating for the past decade on the need to end the harmful practice child marriage from a development, human rights and gender equity perspective. We have been putting ideas to practice in countries like Ethiopia and India. And now we find ourselves in the midst of an unprecedented growing movement to end child marriage: The Elders, an eminent group of former leaders like Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and Mary Robinson, this year launched Girls Not Brides, a global campaign to raise awareness of the ills caused by child marriage. Other influential individuals also are shining a spotlight on the practice, such as award-winning photographer Stephanie Sinclair whose images documenting child brides have brought the issue into the mainstream. And news outlets such as The Daily Beast, National Geographic and many more are finally bringing much-needed attention to the poorest, most remote parts of the world where child marriage persists.

We must rush to take advantage of the global attention and harness this collective will so that girls are valued for being girls, rather than being considered economic burdens on their families. On the contrary, if they remain unmarried and are allowed to finish high school, girls at risk of child marriage can contribute to a future generation that could break free of the painful grip of acute poverty.   

Indeed, in societies where early marriage is most common, girls are not valued in the same ways as boys. This is not to say that their families don’t love them. Many girls’ parents want to delay marriage, but with scant resources and social pressures, they feel they are left with no alternative.  

But there are alternatives. Harmful social norms can – and do – change. The promising practices ICRW has uncovered are a starting point for creating a more equitable environment for girls. And what’s more, there is evidence that they are working.

Some approaches that address the multiple causes and consequences of child marriage include: Arming girls with information, skills and support networks so they gain confidence and know themselves, their world and their options; educating parents on the long-term economic benefits of delaying marriage; mobilizing communities to adopt social norms that support those willing to buck the custom of early marriage; and offering economic incentives for girls and their families, who often are motivated by poverty and the lack of viable income-generating options.

More than any other time in recent history, this is the moment to redouble our joint efforts and work toward ending the harmful practice of child marriage so no girl is forced to wed too young and give up her dreams. Let’s do just that by making more investments and demonstrating the political will to create the first generation of girls who will rightly worry about finishing their homework, instead of feeding their husbands.

Sarah Degnan Kambou is president of the International Center for Research on Women.
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