Mbarou Gassama

Mbarou Gassama will retire from UN Women in April 2017. The USAID-funded Senegal reading program implemented by Chemonics and Cambridge offered her an advising position starting in March. She will be doing advocacy for policy change and supporting their research.


Until then, she will continue as Program Coordinator for UN Women in Dakar, based in their regional office for West and Central Africa. The objective of the program, which focuses on financing for gender equality, is to increase investment in women through support for making national budgets and sectoral policies more gender-sensitive. The program is funded by the EU. [2/17]


Mbarou also owns and operates a women and youth business incubator in Senegal, started shortly after completing her doctorate at CIE. The Incubator Center provides nonformal training in business-related skills and coaching to youth and female entrepreneurs.


Writing about the center’s opening day in 2007, she said:


On the first floor of the center, we have a cyber-café to provide Internet services for women in business and tourists, while the second floor is dedicated to offices for the incubatees.The third floor is for the staff: myself, as managing director, a business development services coordinator, and the project assistant. Our main activities are: a) teaching women how to conduct their business, b) how to get organized in their office—most of them have received credit from organizations, but did not know how to use it, c) access to the computer and Internet—to learn word processing, to better manage their business and develop market strategies. I am using my nonformal training education and evaluation skills and also providing a lot of one-on-one coaching.


The Incubator Center provides services in pre-incubation (project ideas and business start-up), incubation (starting the business, expansion), and post-incubation (skills and capacity building, maturing the business).  


Mbarou has also been active in the evaluation of education and child labor-related projects. In 2008, she served as the lead evaluator for a CARE study of school attendance among Orphans and Vulnerable Children.


The following year, she collected data on efforts to combat the worst forms of child labor in Burkina Faso as part of a USDOL-funded Child Labor Index research project.


In 2010, Mbarou was lead researcher and team leader for an 18 month Hewlett Foundation-funded “Teacher Preparation in Africa” project. The grant was awarded to the Center for International Education of the University of Sussex. The goal of the project was to create knowledge around how teachers learn to teach reading and mathematics and how learning influences their practice. The project involved 6 African countries: Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, Mali and Senegal.


The same year, she served as lead evaluator for a Save the Children and Solidarity Center 3 year REETE project (Reduire le travail des enfants par l’education), funded by USDOL. The goal of the project was to provide formal and nonformal education services to prevent and withdraw children working in mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo. [12/16]




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CIE Graduate