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Farmers on the Frontline – Building resilience in a post-Coronavirus world

Paul Winters, Margarita Astralaga, Sara Mbago-Bhunu, Rossana Polastri, Esther Penunia, Pio Wennubst
Published By:
Hosted by:
International Fund for Agricultural Development
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About the webcast
Attendees may ask questions on Twitter with #IFADpostCOVID19

COVID-19 is already having adverse impacts on rural people, who are particularly vulnerable in terms of the spread of the virus itself and the knock-on economic effects.

By supporting rural people’s production and marketing activities and ensuring crisis-resilient support services are available, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) enables them to maintain their business and livelihoods during and after the crisis. This will build rural people’s resilience to the effects of the crisis, prevent them from backsliding into poverty, and protect the positive impacts previously achieved in IFAD projects.

Follow the webcast on IFAD’s page.

This online event will discuss:

  • The impacts of COVID-19 on rural communities and small scale agriculture in developing countries
  • How they have already benefitted from IFAD’s resilience-building
  • How IFAD is providing response and recovery efforts

The event will be webcast and held in English only.

Follow the conversation and ask questions on Twitter with #IFADpostCOVID19

Read about the event’s speakers below.

©IFAD/Horst Wagner
Focus Region:
Focus Topic:
Agricultural Value Chains / Agri-Businesses
Gender / Youth / Social Inclusion
Climate / Weather / Environment
About the speakers

Paul Winters

Paul Winters is the Associate Vice-President of the Strategy and Knowledge Department at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Prior to his current appointment, he was the Director of Research and Impact Assessment at IFAD, responsible for advancing IFAD’s research and impact assessment agendas as well as supporting the development effectiveness of IFAD’s operations.

From 2004-2015, Winters was a professor in the Department of Economics at American University in Washington, DC where he taught courses on impact evaluation, development economics and environmental economics. Before American University, he worked at the Inter-American Development Bank, the University of New England, and the International Potato Center. He has published numerous journal articles in the areas of impact evaluation, migration, cash transfer programs, rural development and smallholder agriculture.

Winters holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of California at Berkeley, an MA in Economics from the University of California at San Diego and a BA in Non-Western Studies from the University of San Diego.

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Margarita Astralaga

Margarita Astrálaga is the Director of the Environment, Climate, Gender and Social Inclusion Division (ECG) at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). She leads a dynamic team to mainstream environment, climate, gender and social inclusion solutions in IFAD’s operations and policies, while ensuring that the highest social, environmental and climate safeguards are applied. Examples of her leadership are found in her coordination and mobilization of environment and climate finance and the engagement with international trust funds, her participation and dedication to policy making, partnership development and program supervision in Member States.

Astrálaga joined IFAD’s team in Rome in June 2015 from Panama where she was UNEP’s Regional Director for Latin America & the Caribbean. Her career began as a devoted member of the Colombian Environmental Agency which led to over 25 years of experience and wide range responsibilities in several international organizations working toward environmental sustainability from many different perspectives.

Astrálaga is a Colombian biologist, specialising in Environmental Management from the Danish Water Institute, with a master’s in Regional Planning and Development.

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Sara Mbago-Bhunu

Sara Mbago-Bhunu is the Director of IFAD’s East and Southern Africa Division.

Mbago-Bhunu brings to IFAD rich work experience spanning more than 20 years in the agriculture sector across Central, East and Southern Africa. She has worked on agriculture policy and sector reviews, value chain development, access to agricultural finance, social enterprise models and the promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises in peri-urban and rural areas. She has also led and managed teams in other development organizations in the design of development projects and capacity-building programmes.

Prior to joining IFAD, Mbago-Bhunu worked at the World Bank as a Senior Agricultural Economist for the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of Congo, based in Kinshasa. From 2013 to 2016, she served as Country Director for SNV-Netherlands Development Organisation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Mbago-Bhunu holds a Masters in Business Administration from Maastricht School of Management, Netherlands, and a BSc in Agricultural Economics from the University of Reading, United Kingdom.

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Rossana Polastri

Rossana Polastri is the Regional Director for the Latin America and the Caribbean Division (IFAD).

Appointed in January 2019, Polastri brings to IFAD a wide and diversified work experience as Peru’s Vice-Minister for Finance and, more recently, as Vice President and Executive Board Member of the Bank of the Nation of Peru, (Banco de la Nación). She has also worked for the World Bank as Country Manager for Paraguay and as Advisor to the Development Economics Vice Presidency.

Polastri, a national of Peru, holds a Master’s Degree in Economics from the Polytechnic Institute of Virginia State University, United States, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Universidad del Pacífico, Lima, Peru.

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Esther Penunia

Ma. Estrella “Esther” Penunia is Secretary General of the Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA), a regional farmers organization (FO), currently with 20 national FOs in 16 Asian countries, with around 13 million family farmers as members.

Esther spent more than three decades of professionally in the field of rural development, working in various capacities as community organizer, primary health care worker, participatory action researcher, trainer, gender advocate, consultant, campaigns coordinator, chief executive officer, board member and networker.

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Pio Wennubst

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