Transforming the role of women in development projects: from sideline to spotlight
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Angela Neilan, Associate Director of Innovation of Agricultural Training and Education (InnovATE) and Program Manager for Armenia Virginia Tech, will discuss the inclusion of women in VT international development projects over the last several decades. She will follow the progression from women being included as an afterthought in the past, to women being a focus of many VT development projects. This progress is due to the impressive work of many committed VT faculty and students who continued to advocate for inclusion of women and families in development projects including food, water, construction, health, sanitation, farming systems, income generation, and business and employment skills, both here in Virginia and abroad. Angela has been an extension agent and state specialist for Virginia Cooperative Extension and has extensive international experience through VT, Partners of the Americas, and Kellogg Foundation projects. She has led long-term projects in Mongolia, Ethiopia, and Armenia and participated in projects in the Middle East, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and rural Appalachia. Angela was the first Community Involvement Specialist for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and facilitated public meetings on controversial environmental actions mainly related to air, water, and waste. She currently is the director of the InnovATE Armenia Project through OIRED. Her main area of interest is participatory development and improving systems to ensure that diverse opinions can be expressed, heard, and acted upon.