Meet the researcher: Jeff Edmeades

Article Date

10 December 2014

Article Author

Kasey LaFlam

Media Contact

Anne McPherson

Vice President, Global Communications email [email protected]

Jeff_image_600pxAll year, you’ve heard about ICRW’s amazing research and programs, which are helping organizations, individuals, and decision-makers in the international development community better understand challenges to empowering women and girls to end poverty. But you may not know about the people behind the research and programs. ICRW’s Meet the Researcher series is designed to give you insight into ICRW’s staff who are working around the world to ensure that every woman and girl around the world has a chance to succeed.

First up, meet Jeff Edmeades, Senior Social Demographer. We interviewed Jeff about his work at ICRW. Read his answers below.

How do you describe your work and ICRW’s work to your friends/family?

We apply a genders lens to our work on international development. We approach the same areas as other development organizations, such as reproductive health or engaging men and boys to end violence against women, but we really understand why gender matters and how it impacts the way in which individuals (both women and men) experience the world they live in and make decisions. Gender matters for pretty much everything and in ways that are sometimes easily overlooked – we make sure it’s not!

What is most meaningful to you about the work you do?

When I get to go to the field and work with local partners who are making a difference, and see the impact of their work, that is most meaningful; it’s what ‘recharges my batteries.’ ICRW works to build capacity with local partners, and by going out into the field I get to see why building capacity matters and why the work that we do, including all the research, evaluations, policy formation, etc. matters.

What has been your most memorable moment at ICRW?

Jeff_EthiopiaFor me it’s twofold: First, the people who come to work here are awesome; we share the same goals and all believe in our mission. I’ve built friendships with many colleagues and shared great memories with them. Second, one particular field visit to Ethiopia, I had the opportunity to speak with child brides. One particular girl was told she couldn’t come because she was too sick. However, mid-day she showed up, riding on a donkey, accompanied by her husband who she had convinced to let her come. For the girls in this program it was the first time anyone had come to do anything for them and they were so anxious to be a part of it – it was a real reminder of just how much the work we and are partners do is needed and the lengths people will go to in order to help themselves and their families.

Why should people support ICRW?

We do really great work with people who are mostly ignored or marginalized; they are often invisible in their society and we work to improve their situation. Wherever we go in the world, we’re working with half the population (all of the population if you include our work with men, but especially women) – but what we’re working towards is better health for all and fairness and equality for all. What we do really matters.

If you could have dinner with anyone, past or present, who would it be and why?

I would love to have dinner with Bill Gates, Richie McCaw (captain of the All Blacks, New Zealand’s rugby team and probably the best in history), and Abraham Verghese (author of “Cutting for Stone” and “My Own Country – A Doctor’s Story”, a doctor and fascinating guy). They might not have a lot to talk to each other about, but I definitely would like to talk to them!

What is your wish in the coming New Year?

I wish for good health for those I love, happiness, and more time to spend with family and friends. Oh, and world peace!