7th Class, 2013-2015
Policy Placement: World Food Program, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
As the Nutrition Program Officer in the WFP Country Office in Phnom Penh, Dessa managed the daily operations of the Nutrition Unit. The programs under her supervision included: developing a locally-produced ready-to-use supplementary food product; introducing fortified rice into school meal programs, and eventually the Cambodian market; and rolling out HIV nutrition counselling programs with the Ministry of Health. She was actively involved in the nutrition community in Cambodia and worked with partners to enhance the evidence base for nutrition promotion in the region.
Field Placement: World Food Program, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Based in Phnom Penh with the World Food Program (WFP), Dessa was primarily engaged in the implementation and monitoring of WFP’s Community Management of Acute Malnutrition program, as well as drafting the program’s Standard Operating Procedures. In the Southern Area Office, Dessa worked on monitoring and reporting for a number of WFP’s programs, including Maternal and Child Health, Food for Asset, Take Home Ration, and School Meals. Additionally, Dessa collected data to generate monthly reports for program monitoring, environmental hazards, and food price and wage tracking. In coordination with the Cambodia Country Office’s Nutrition Team, Dessa also worked on the development of a locally produced supplementary food product with the end goal of introducing it into health centers and the marketplace.
Dessa graduated in August 2013 from Washington University in St. Louis with a dual master’s degree in Public Health and Social Work with a concentration in Systems Approach to International Social and Economic Development. While in school, she completed her practicum with the Inter-American Development Bank on the Salud Mesoamerica 2015 initiative in Panamá City, Panamá and continued on as a consultant working with the Honduran Ministry of Health to create a system dynamics model to assess maternal and child health. Prior to starting graduate school, Dessa worked for a year as Outreach Coordinator at New Hope Cambodia, a community center on the outskirts of Siem Reap, which is where she found her calling: working to reduce food insecurity. Dessa received her bachelor’s degree from Boston University in Cultural Anthropology.