Clugston headshot

Leland Fellow

Claire Clugston

7th Class, 2013-2015

Policy Placement: ACDI/VOCA, Washington, DC

For her policy year, Claire worked as a Gender Specialist in the Technical Learning and Application unit of ACDI/VOCA. In this role, she provided gender support to ACDI/VOCA’s projects and programs. These projects are implemented in diverse geographical locations, but primarily focus on agricultural value chains. Claire’s project-related work included: conducting gender analyses, developing gender action plans, and supporting local field staff in gender mainstreaming activities. Claire also worked to roll out ACDI/VOCA’s new gender policy, focusing in particular on increasing staff diversity in ACDI/VOCA field offices. As a member of a staff diversity task force, she conducted research to identify the particular constraints that field offices face in hiring, retaining, and promoting diverse staff members. She then worked with the task force to develop resources field offices can use to overcome these barriers.

Field Placement: ACDI/VOCA, Asuncion, Paraguay

As a Gender Specialist, Claire’s primary focus was the implementation of a gender strategy for ACDI/VOCA’s Cooperative Development Program in Paraguay. The program aims to increase women’s participation in cooperatives as registered members; representation on cooperative boards of directors; and access to credit and financing through the cooperatives. Claire designed and conducted gender trainings for cooperative members and boards of directors as well as skills trainings for female farmers.  She also conducted a case study of a sugarcane cooperative, which she then used to develop a paper on the business case for women’s participation in agricultural cooperatives.

Pre-Fellowship Education/Experience:

Claire served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic from 2008 to 2010, working with coffee farming households on a variety of environmentally focused projects. In her work, she promoted female leadership and participation in community groups, particularly to implement an Improved Cook Stove Project for women who had previously been cooking on open fires. Claire extended her service for a year to work in the Peace Corps office in the Dominican Republic, developing program resources and coordinating activities for the Community Environmental Development Sector. She has a master’s degree in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University and a bachelor’s degree in Contemporary Studies and International Development Studies from Dalhousie University in Canada. For her graduate practicum, Claire worked with the Department of Dairy Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, surveying dairy cooperative members in Mexico.