Cartmill headshot

Leland Fellow

Mary Kate Cartmill

11th Class, 2021-2023

Mary Kate holds an MPH from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis with a concentration in Global Health. Her thesis, completed in partnership with USAID’s Feed the Future Fish Innovation Lab, utilized qualitative methods to understand the barriers to fish consumption during the complementary feeding period in coastal Kenya. As a graduate researcher her work focused on transdisciplinary approaches to improving maternal and child nutrition and using community-based system dynamics to improve inclusive education in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Mary Kate also spent a summer working and learning alongside female farmers in Kamuli, Uganda to help strengthen the monitoring and evaluation framework of a sustainable agriculture program. Most recently, she contributed to two discussion papers for UN Nutrition outlining the role of aquatic and livestock-derived foods in sustainable healthy diets. Mary Kate’s primary interests lie at the intersection of food systems, nutrition and environmental sustainability. Originally from Kalamazoo, Michigan, she received her B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Michigan.

Host Organization: Tanager

First Year Placement
Nairobi, Kenya

Based in Nairobi, Kenya, Mary Kate worked as a Research and Nutrition Specialist providing nutrition-sensitive and gender mainstreaming support to the Impacting Gender & Nutrition through Innovative Technical Exchange in Agriculture (IGNITE) program. This five-year program works to strengthen the capacity of African institutions to integrate nutrition and gender into their agriculture interventions and internal systems through tailored technical assistance. Her work focused primarily on supporting IGNITE’s client and non-client-specific learning agenda by contributing technical input on research design, qualitative data collection, analysis, and training local service providers in qualitative methods for clients in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Nigeria. She also worked alongside Tanager’s technical experts and Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning team to lead a mixed-methods research study examining the enablers and barriers at the institutional level to advancing gender and nutrition agendas within client organizations. This study will contribute to the overall understanding of best models and practices in gender and nutrition mainstreaming within African agriculture organizations.

Second Year Placement
Washington, DC

For her second year, Mary Kate continues supporting the IGNITE project through her research efforts documenting programmatic learning around mainstreaming gender and nutrition and implementing social and behavior change initiatives within agriculture institutions, including dissemination of the findings. She is also working with the Soutenir l’Exploitation Famaliales pour Lancer l’Elevage des Volailles et Valoriser l’Economie Rurale (SELEVER II) project based in Burkina Faso focused on improving women’s empowerment and the nutritional status women and young children through the development of a more inclusive poultry sector. In this role, she is providing technical assistance to strengthen the nutrition-focused strategies further, approaches, and impacts of the project. Mary Kate is currently based out of Tanager’s HQ office in Washington, DC.