Core Associates

WOCAN Lead Trainer

Barun Gurung  as the coordinator of the Consultative Group on International Agriculture's (CGIAR) system wide program on Participatory Research and Gender Analysis, focused on trying to better understand how learning and change can be affected for mainstreaming gender-sensitive participatory approaches within research institutions that work on agriculture and natural resource management. As part of the CGIAR initiative, he led a team of researchers and trainers to provide capacity development for organizational research and implementation of change strategies in selected CGIAR centers, eight National Agricultural Research Centers of East and Central Africa, and five agriculture and natural resource management organizations in the Eastern Himalayan Region and Laos. 

WOCAN Lead Trainer

Colletah Chitsike is a trainer and capacity building specialist with her Masters Degree in Adult Education from the University of Zimbabwe. She has extensive experience in Community Development, Organizational Development and Gender Training for Change. She has previously worked with the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, OXFAM GB and NOVIB in Southern Africa and CIAT (Center for International Tropical Agriculture) as the Capacity Building and Learning Management Specialist in Africa.

Abidah is an Indonesian who has an MA degree in political ecology from the Geography Department, University of Hawaii, and is currently completing her PhD in political ecology from the Geography Department, Rutgers University, USA. Abidah’s expertise includes natural resources and climate governance, community forestry, community based approaches to resource management, and gender aspects of climate and natural resource governance in Indonesia and other countries in Southeast Asia.

Cécile has a Master’s degree in Social Forestry from the Wageningen Agricultural University in The Netherlands. Cécile is a highly experienced Development Agent who mainly devoted her work on mainstreaming gender into development: training, advocacy, scoping, planning and evaluation. Cécile has been a Trainer of Trainers for more than 15 years. She is also the National Coordinator of a national NGO in Cameroon and the President of a women’s network composed of 14 African country members engaged in forestry , REFACOF.

Dibya has a MSc in biological sciences from Tribhuwan University in Nepal. She has more than twenty years of experience in gender, rural development and natural resources management, ranging from grassroots to policy planning levels. She has worked for and trained several national and international organizations and closely worked with the government of Nepal. 


Kanchan Lama is a Gender Specialist with expertise in gender assessment/mainstreaming, gender analysis, design of training manuals and delivery of participatory training/workshop, policy advice/advocacy, review and evaluation of poverty alleviation projects/programs, mainstreaming gender and social inclusion into climate change adaptation and REDD+ initiatives in national contexts. Kanchan is one of the founders of WOCAN. She has more than 24 years of experience in senior management positions with multiple roles in INGOs.


Kalyan is a Training Coordinator for the Center for People and Forest known as the Regional Community forestry Training Center (RECOFTC). She has experience in working with government, nongovernmental organizations and communities and is trained in social sciences with more than ten years’ experience. Recently, she actively involved in the consultative meetings, workshops on supporting the discussion and shared experiences and concerns on REDD+ development and implementation in Cambodia.

LEAF Project

Kalpana is a forester by training with substantive knowledge and experience in gender relations, environmental governance, innovation approaches, livelihoods, climate change and REDD+ in South and South East Asia. She holds a PhD in gender and environmental governance from the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences-BOKU, Vienna. She has written and edited over a dozen of scientific publications on gender, environmental governance, livelihoods and climate change.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process

Marj has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Development Studies from the Ateneo de Manila University. She has extensive experience in policy advocacy and conflict management in natural resources involving the indigenous peoples. She is currently in the policy unit of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process in Manila, Philippines where she assists in designing programs and interventions for the development of upland rural areas in former rebel sites. 


Mahmuda has a Master’s degree in Economics from Dhaka University, Bangladesh and a Master’s degree in Gender and Development from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), Sussex University, UK. She is working for USAID/ Bangladesh as a Gender Advisor. Mahmuda has extensive experience in gender mainstreaming, training and integrating gender concerns in project cycle in USAID supported projects.

Noel is a rural development specialist with over 10 years experience and key competencies in rural livelihood analysis, food security and NRM, and gender analysis. He worked with the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) for 6 years as Research Assistant and Regional Research Fellow, where he identified gender issues to be addressed in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe under the Innovation Platforms on Conservation Agriculture in Southern Africa. 

Sefora has a PhD in Political Science with majors in Rural Development and Public Administration from the University of Western Ontario and studied Gender and Development at Carleton University in Canada. She further studied gender analysis and gender mainstreaming while working for Canadian International Development Agency. Sefora has worked in the agriculture sector for over 10 years and is now a management consultant.

Phanlany is a gender and development consultant/trainer. She has a Master’s degree in Gender and Development studies from the Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand. She has extensive experience in gender advocacy, and in gender programming, particularly in integrating gender concerns into planning, monitoring and evaluation in the agriculture and forestry sector.

Ms. Maris Gavino is a gender and international agriculture expert and currently represents WOCAN at the FAO, WFP and IFAD in Rome. She served the Philippine government from 1977 to 2007, initially as an international agricultural analyst and later as the Alternate Permanent Representative to the FAO, WFP and IFAD. Her thesis work was on "Women in Development" and professionally, women's issues are at the top of her agenda. Maris has led many efforts to sensitize the leading UN Agriculture agencies to gender issues.

Danièle is a researcher, agronomist and has 25 years experiences in research and development and action research in Madagascar. Since 2004, she has been involved in the process of gender mainstreaming in her institution , the National Research Center Applied for Rural Development where she is the gender focal point. A member of WOCAN since 2010, she facilitated or co facilitated different training workshops on rural women’s leadership and gender analysis.

Somsouk Sananikone is a freelance consultant on gender and domestic violence. Recently, he worked as a consultant with the UNWOMEN in Laos on gender-based violence legislative review. He is currently pursuing a PhD study at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science, Khon Kaen University, Thailand focusing on masculinity and violence against women. He has been working on issues related to social and rural development in Laos since the late 1990s.

Rangelands Management, ARC-API

Sikhalazo is a Program Manager for Rangelands Management at the ARC-API. Prior to joining the ARC he was a Senior Scientist (Ecosystems Modeling) at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria in the Global Change and Ecosystems Dynamics Research Group. His research, student supervision and policy inputs focus on rangelands ecology: the dialogue between science, resources users and policy formulators, development of decision support tools and mapping of resources in light of a changing world.

Swedish Cooperative Centre, Vi Agroforestry Project

Wangu has a Masters degree in Project Planning and Management, and a Bachelor degree in Economics. She is currently working as a Deputy Programme Director for Swedish Cooperative Centre and Vi Agroforestry in Nairobi. She has previously been working as a project manager coordinating field activities , planning, execution, monitoring and reporting.

University of kwaZulu Natal, South Africa

Unathi Kolanisi is currently employed by the University of kwaZulu Natal, South Africa in the School of Agricultural, Earth & Environmental Sciences (SAEES) as a lecturer in Food Security Programme in Pietermaritzburg Campus. Unathi is a social facilitator, trained on Agricultural Research for Development (ICRA, Netherlands) and by WOCAN, allowing her to bridge the gap between theory and practice by engaging students to deal with real life community projects through linkages to NGOs and CBOs.

CETRAD - Kenya

Sarah Ogalleh is a research associate at CETRAD-Kenya. She has a masters in environmental science from Egerton University and is pursuing a doctoral degree from BOKU University, Vienna. She is currently involved in research on climate change, agriculture, gender and adaptations in Kenya’s semi arid lands and the Mau forest. Sarah is a core facilitator of WOCAN, with her interests in mentoring, local community empowerment, training, participatory research and natural resources management.

WOCAN Core Associate (India)

Meena Bilgi is a gender, water and agriculture specialist with more than two decades of experience internationally, with a special focus on India. Meena has contributed to the design of many country-level programs for international donor funded projects including the WOCAN/IFAD Rural Women's Leadership Programme. As an active member of WOCAN, she has represented WOCAN in various international conferences. 

Darilyn lives in Shillong, India, has a Master's Degree in English Literature but has dedicated over a decade of her life, working on gender issues as a trainer, gender sensitizing institutions as well as advocating for gender mainstreaming in policies and programs. She is currently a consultant for the North East Network, a leading women's organization in North East India and a member of the Consortia Advisory Committee to the National Agricultural Innovation Project in India.

Institute of Environment and Water Management (IEWM)

Annabell Waititu is the Executive Director of the Institute of Environment and Water Management (IEWM) based in Nairobi, Kenya. She is a water, natural resources management (NRM) and gender expert with over 15 years of experience in mainstreaming gender in related policies, programmes and process. She is also a researcher on gender and NRM, women and environmental governance . Annabell is a Core-facilitator of WOCAN's in the Women Leadership Circle in Agriculture and NRM Program in Kenya. She is also junior fellow at the Centre for Governance and Sustainability at the University of Boston.