Global WACh

August 11, 2020

Tikhala Itaye, Global WACh Certificate student, in summer internship to aid gender equity strategies

This summer, Tikhala Itaye, a MPH Global Health and Global WACh Certificate student, began an internship with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).  As a Summer Associate, Tikhala is supporting the Foundation’s Gender Equality Special Initiative (GESI) team to deepen an understanding of how existing program investments and activities affect or are affected by gender-based violence (GBV)—one of the most widespread human rights abuses that disproportionately affects girls and women.  Ending gender inequality in all forms is one of the World Health Organization’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  Tikhala’s efforts will provide strategic direction on integrating GBV prevention and response across the Foundation’s program cycle and investments.

Building upon a recently conducted internal landscape on GBV, Tikhala will work with the GESI team to populate a database on how GBV appears in different investments across the foundation.  The database will include specific investments made to address or measure GBV, what form of GBV was addressed, and the direct and indirect impacts of the investment to its target audiences.  This measurable data will help the GESI team explore investment areas that accelerate progress towards addressing GBV around the world.  Tikhala will also support the GESI team in designing and implementing an advocacy campaign with culturally sensitive messaging in priority countries, such as India and Kenya.

From this experience, Tikhala is eager to develop skills that support her professional goal to become a consultant that provides guidance to organizations and governments in developing project-specific gender equity strategies, especially on GBV.  She looks forward to working across interprofessional teams and to understanding how to effectively communicate public health content to cultural-specific communities and positively influence public health outcomes.