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Women Leading Communities through the COVID Crisis

March 9, 2021




  • The COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest global economic and social crisis in generations. Trusted community leaders and local governments face enormous demands during a crisis of this scale. In times like these, women have often been at the forefront of providing community leadership and assistance. At the same time, they have been disproportionately impacted by this crisis. COVID-19 has only intensified the gender-based violence (GBV) pandemic, with instances of violence against women increasing as lockdowns and stay-at-home orders became the norm.

    Join the World Bank and Tostan International on March 9 at 9 AM ET (2 PM GMT) as we convene experts to raise awareness of the ways women are disproportionately vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19. Above all, this discussion will highlight the many more ways that women—if fully empowered—can be agents of change at the community level, particularly now as countries urgently seek solutions to overcome the effects of the pandemic.

    Questions for our panelists? Tweet us @WBG_Inclusion using the hashtag #IWD2021!

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    Victoria Kwakwa

    Vice President, East Asia and Pacific

    Victoria Kwakwa assumed the role of Vice President for East Asia and Pacific on April 15, 2016. She oversees a portfolio of more than $32 billion in loans, grants, credits, and trust funds across 23 countries. Ms. Kwakwa leads the World Bank’s strategy in East Asia Pacific which focuses on five priority areas: inclusion and empowerment; jobs and private sector-led growth, governance and institutions, infrastructure and urbanization, climate change and disaster risk management. The Region also focuses on the cross-cutting themes of gender, fragility and conflict and poverty analytics.


    Louise Cord

    Global Director, Social Sustainability and Inclusion Global Practice, World Bank

    Louise Cord is the Global Director for Social Sustainability and Inclusion in the World Bank’s Sustainable Development Practice Group. Prior to this, Ms. Cord was the Country Director for Senegal, Cabo Verde, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, and Mauritania, based in Dakar, Senegal. Prior to her appointment as Country Director, she was Practice Manager in the Poverty Global Practice responsible for Latin America and the Caribbean.


    Elena Bonometti

    CEO, Tostan International

    Elena Bonometti is the Chief Executive Officer of Tostan. She is an Italian national with 20 years of professional experience in Africa, specializing in the field-based management of development programs, specifically focusing on community health and economic empowerment. Elena is currently Chief Executive Officer of Tostan, an Africa-based organization that works directly with rural communities leading their own development across five West African countries.


    Nathalie Joachim

    Grammy-nominated flutist, composer, and vocalist

    Nathalie Joachim is a Grammy-nominated flutist, composer, and vocalist. The Brooklyn born Haitian-American artist is hailed for being “a fresh and invigorating cross-cultural voice”. (The Nation). She is co-founder of the critically acclaimed urban art pop duo, Flutronix, and comfortably navigates everything from classical to indie-rock, all while advocating for social change and cultural awareness.