3rd Class, 2005-2007
Field Placement: Action Contre la Faim, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Bapu Vaitla worked as a food security researcher in highland Ethiopia. His work focused on examining the causes of chronic hunger in various livelihood zones throughout the country, including the agriculturally important coffee exporting areas of the southwest, as well as the subsistence cropping systems of northern Ethiopia, which historically have been the epicenter of famines. The research also critically analyzed the effectiveness of the new Ethiopian government food security policy, including the Productive Safety Nets Program, a public works initiative employing over nine million poor households this year.
Policy Placement: Action Against Hunger, London, UK
During his policy year, Bapu worked with the London office of Action Against Hunger, conducting primary research as well as working to transform the organization’s past and ongoing research findings into advocacy platforms. Specifically, Bapu was part of the “Hunger Watch” project, an initiative within the organization to analyze the broad fundamental causes of food insecurity throughout the world. Hunger Watch sought to examine and publicize those current “forgotten crises” that were not receiving adequate media exposure and/or needed amounts of international assistance and used analyses of the causes of these crises to recommend long-term solutions and advocate for resources from donor countries to implement these solutions.
Bapu graduated from the University of California, Davis with an MS in International Agricultural Development. His primary international work experience was with The Ayacara Foundation, a sustainable development and environmental conservation organization working in southern Chile, and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in India. The Chile project concentrated on the development of organic agricultural systems for isolated populations in the Patagonian Rainforest, while the UNICEF work explored the potential of information technology to improve public health services for the under-served rural poor. Bapu speaks Spanish, as well as some French, Portuguese, Hindi, and Telugu.