Dr. Carol Ajema is a Senior Gender and GBV Specialist based out of the ICRW-Africa office where she designs research projects addressing gender-based violence, women’s empowerment, and gender equality. With over 15 years of experience, Dr. Ajema has undertaken extensive research in the health sector and has experience in qualitative research methods, capacity building, participatory approaches to program monitoring, social accountability, and advocacy. Her current work at ICRW includes infusing a gender lens in research projects, providing technical assistance to national GBV technical working group, and leading advocacy efforts in the region. She is a co-investigator of a Wellsprings funded project assessing women land and property rights in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania; and also an investigator to a Bill and Melinda Gates and IDRC funded project that is assessing the policy impact of COVID-19 in Kenya, Uganda and India. Dr. Ajema currently sits on the National Ministry of Health SGBV Committee of Experts Technical Working Group. She continues to provide technical expertise to the State Department of gender, and the National Gender Equality Commission as part of policy advocacy. She has extensively work in Kenya, but also contributed to GBV research projects in other East and Southern African countries.
Prior to joining ICRW, Dr. Ajema was the Gender Advisor with Jhpiego-Kenya. In this role, she provided oversight in developing and implementing gender transformative programmatic approaches in a USAID FP/RMNCAH, WASH and nutrition project. She was an Investigator in a gender analysis study, which informed the development of the project’s gender integration, male engagement framework, and implementation of adolescent SRH initiatives at community level and in health facilities. She also led efforts that contributed to the development the 1st ever multisectoral GBV prevention and response roadmap for Bomet County through a World Bank-funded project. Dr. Ajema also served as Co-Investigator in two family planning/ RH studies for a USAID funded project. Results were used to adapt the National adolescent health strategy targeting In and Out of School adolescents. In this role, Dr. Ajema also engaged with the National Ministry of Health by providing technical assistance towards the adaptation of the Global World Health Organization Post GBV QA tool for Kenya. Also, Dr. Ajema oversaw the design and roll-out of social accountability mechanisms at community, facility and county level in the context of FP/RMNCAH service delivery.
Dr. Ajema has also worked with LVCT Health as a Senior GBV Research/Program Officer and a Research Coordinator. She was among the pioneers who designed the National Post Rape Care program. In these roles, Dr. Ajema led and provided oversight to various qualitative studies on the health sector response to sexual violence, intimate partner violence, violence against children, HIV and GBV/HIV integration. Findings of these studies helped inform the development of the 1st Edition of the Kenya National guidelines on the management of sexual violence, National SV data tools and training curricula, service delivery job aids, health sector SOPs on SV, the National M&E framework for SGBV in Kenya, and the multisectoral SV prevention and response SOPs. Dr. Ajema served as PI in a study that sought to assess the health sector responsiveness to sexually abused children. Findings of this study contributed to the development of the National SOPs on clinical management of child survivors in Kenya and review of National guidelines on SV.