Plenary 2

From Research to Practice and Vice Versa - The Way for Human Development


In both teaching and research, Esther focuses on the politics of knowledge production and deployment, with an emphasis on the fields of health and education. Her interests relate to the interactions between a) narratives about notions of international development, gender equality and social justice, and b) the actors that engage with these issues. Additionally, Esther’s research is geared to better understanding the ways in which women and men contest and subvert gendered, classed and racialised norms and violence, and inequalities more broadly. Esther recently completed a 5-year mixed methods study on sexual and reproductive health and rights in 10 countries in Sub-Saharan African and South Asia. She managed the research project with a co-principal investigator, coordinating the work done by the core UvA research team, 10 country research teams and 31 project implementation partners in these same countries. Within the framework of this study, she co-edited a Special Issue on the topic of early marriage, published in Progress in Development Studies in December, 2020. Esther is a committed teacher, who enjoys working with BA and MA students and PhD candidates as they explore their particular interests. In so doing, Esther pays particular attention to supporting students as they engage with questions regarding research ethics and positionality.



What to do with ‘white working-class’ underachievement? Framing ‘white working-class’ underachievement in post-Brexit Referendum England

But is it Comprehensive? Unpacking the ‘comprehensive’ in comprehensive sexuality education  

Special Issue:

Governing choice and child marriage: Young women, marriage and development aid programmes


Ms. Anna Minj is one of the Programme Directors at BRAC and currently leads two of its multisectoral core programmes named Community Empowerment Programme and Integrated Development Programme. Her role is to provide strategic leadership in planning and managing the programmes and its different projects for ensuring successful achievement of the expected outcomes with quality towards contributing to the organization’s overall goal. 

She has over 27 years of extensive professional experience in leading multi-sectoral programme planning and management in the development sector particularly in women’s empowerment, poverty reduction, livelihood security, integrated holistic development, ultra-poor graduation, gender mainstreaming and Indigenous people’s rights. Have proven track records in leading program/project development, formulation of policies/strategies, and operationalization of them successfully with results and impact. She is also specialized in gender programming and gender mainstreaming both at organization and programmatic levels. 
She has a Master’s degree (MSc) in Zoology and a Post-Graduate diploma in Project Planning and Management from IDPM, Manchester University, UK. In her career, she worked in different senior-level positions both at national and international organizations including CARITAS and CARE Bangladesh and currently at BRAC the largest development organization.
Affiliated with a number of national and international level forums and networks in the field of development, gender equality, women’s rights, and indigenous people’s rights. Currently Chairperson of Bangladesh Community Radio Association, the Vice-Chair of National Coalition of Indigenous Peoples in Bangladesh & SIL International Bangladesh and member of Indigenous People’s forum. Served as the Convener for Girls NOT Brides, Bangladesh Chapter, and Engaging Men & Boys Alliance, Bangladesh and served as the executive board member of Stromme Foundation-Norway for 5/6 years. She is also the founder member of ‘WE CAN’, Bangladesh.


Biplabi Shrestha is a Programme Director at the Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW). ARROW, a global South Feminist organization based in Malaysia, works towards an equal, just, and equitable world that enables women and young people to realize their full sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR). Biplabi’s long involvement in gender equality and women’s health are inspired and informed by the lived realities of women and girls in Asia. As a programme manager at ARROW (2017-2019), Biplabi managed ARROW’s multi-country programme that builds constituencies with new alliances to develop knowledge and ownership of gender, feminism, and SRHR issues by strengthening the linkages between issues that pose challenges to the SRHR agenda, such as but not limited to, climate change, conflict and crisis situations, disability, migration, food insecurity, religious fundamentalism and conservatisms. Prior to ARROW, her work in Nepal focused on capacity strengthening of women and young people at the local and national level on HIV and AIDS. Biplabi holds a degree in Gender and Peace Building from the University for Peace in Costa Rica with a full scholarship from Asian-Peacebuilders Scholarship (APS) Programme. 


Redefining Peace: by Biplabi Shrestha

 Link to the ICPD+25 reports:

Blog piece:


Redefining peacde – ARROW-TP-SRHR_SP_WEB

Conrad joined Hivos in September 2018 to lead program development on transparency and accountability. Since February 2021, he leads Hivos’ work on civic rights in a digital age. Before that, Conrad worked with Development Initiatives (UK/Kenya) on increasing access and use of data & information for poverty reduction. Prior to that, he was Deputy Director of Towards Transparency (TT) in Hanoi, Vietnam, where he led programs on business integrity and youth engagement. Conrad remains involved with TT as a member of its board. From 2005-2011, Conrad worked at Transparency International, most recently providing technical support for TI chapters’ work to support victims and whistleblowers – with a focus on Latin America, Central & Eastern Europe and Asia Pacific.

Conrad studied History at the University of Potsdam, Germany and Deusto University in Bilbao, Spain, and holds an MSc in international non-profit management and social investment from City University London.


Dr. Emmanuel Opong is currently the Regional Director for WASH & Capacity Building for World Vision in Southern Africa. He provides leadership and management responsibility for WASH programmes in nine countries, and is also responsible for the global capacity building of WASH staff with the Desert Research Institute (DRI) and Drexel University.

Dr. Opong holds a Ph.D. and two Masters Degrees in Psychology and International Development, as well as Post-Graduate Diplomas in WASH and Public Health. He has over 35 years of leadership, management and field experience in international development in over 30 African countries, the US, Europe and Asia.

Throughout his career, Dr. Opong has led research work and co-authored papers on various WASH projects with faculty and students from academic institutions in Africa and the US. In 2020, he published his first book Fate and Destiny: The True Story of a Christian Development Worker sharing why he is passionate about the issues of WASH, grounded in the belief that no child should die because of unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene.


Pranita Achyut joined ICRW as the Director of Research and Programs in ICRW Asia. Pranita brings 20 years of experience in applied research and program monitoring, particularly in gender, gender-based violence, adolescent health and family planning. During her previous tenure at ICRW, Pranita led some of  the organization’s flagship programs, including Gender Equity Movement in Schools (GEMS) and Promoting Adolescent Engagement Knowledge & Health (PAnKH). She worked across teams to develop knowledge products as well as organize disseminations for key audiences – stakeholders, policymakers and government agencies. In her new leadership role at ICRW Asia, Pranita is responsible for oversight of the four teams that represent ICRW Asia’s research agenda: Health; Violence, Rights and Inclusion; Gender, Youth and Development; and Gender, Economic Empowerment and Livelihoods. Pranita holds a Master’s Degree in Population Studies from the International Institute of Population Sciences in Mumbai, as well as a Master’s Degree in Statistics from Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi, India.



PhD Researcher, International Institute of Social Studies- ISS, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands