I was in the Philippines a day after Yolanda struck working with both staff members and our Board. Our Philippines-based staff gave a presentation about how communities in Leyte, Bohol, and Cebu had identified options for improving their livelihoods and increasing their food security as part of the CGIAR Aquatic Agricultural Systems program. In a somber moment, we all realized that not one of the houses we had seen in the presentation was still standing and, most likely, some of the people we were working with had died.
Dave Mills, a senior researcher at WorldFish, was describing the outcomes of a project on governance reform with small-scale fishers in Ghana. This project had empowered women in the community by working to build confidence, capacity, and vision among women to engage in decision-making and by helping challenge underlying and oppressive attitudes towards them. Dave recounted how, at a project review meeting, the village chief proudly exclaimed “What have you done with these women – they have changed!”