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Cassandra Jessee

Project Director, YouthPower Learning

Cassandra Jessee is a Director and Senior Advisor based out of the ICRW-US office where she leads evaluations and programs at the intersection of youth, women and development. She builds on her 20+ years of experience managing large implementation programs and evaluations for USAID, UNICEF, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and other donors. Her management and M&E skills span sectors, including youth, gender, social protection, education, health, community development, workforce development, democracy and governance, and agriculture.

Ms. Jessee’s current work at ICRW includes serving as an advisor on several projects. For the follow-on USAID project, YouthPower2: Learning and Evaluation, she continues to advance the positive youth development learning agenda she originally spearheaded. She serves as the global coordinator and knowledge manager for REBUILD, a three country study that is generating evidence on the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic exasperates pre-existing inequalities and vulnerabilities experienced by women workers in the urban informal services sectors and translate into an actionable agenda for policy. As part of a $20 million global partnership between PepsiCo and USAID, Ms. Jessee’s is leading one of the country-specific design interventions and is currently conducting a gender and supply chain assessments to understand farmer, supplier and related gender dynamics in PepsiCo supply chains. This work follows her seconded Director role for the five year, $21M USAID-funded youth focused program, YouthPower Learning, that served as the knowledge and learning hub for the $625M pair of USAID-wide global youth contracts. She oversaw 13 cross-sectoral youth assessments to investigate the priorities and needs of young people and in turn inform USAID strategy and development programming. She was dedicated to strengthening the positive youth development evidence base, sharing results through more than 160 program tools, resources, research, and more than 150 webinars and major events.

Prior to joining ICRW in 2015, Ms. Jessee led the implementation of two impact evaluations for social cash transfer programs in Zimbabwe and Zambia for the American Institutes for Research. Previously, as the Deputy Director for the Education Quality Improvement Program 1 (EQUIP1) mechanism, she managed the research, evaluation and information dissemination activities on education and international development issues.  As Deputy Chief of Party for a USAID/Malawi project, Ms. Jessee managed in-country operations and led M&E activities for a holistic school reform effort. She has designed, managed, or served as a M&E technical advisor for development programs across the globe, with a particular focus in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Education: Ms. Jessee holds an MA in Applied Economics with a specialization in International Economic Development from Johns Hopkins University and a Postgraduate Certificate in Survey Design and Data Analysis from The George Washington University.
 
Adolescent Wellbeing and Youth Development, Adolescents and Youth
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