Nordhagen headshot

Leland Fellow

Stella Nordhagen

7th Class, 2013-2015

Stella, a native of Colorado, completed a PhD and MPhil at the University of Cambridge in Environmental Economics and Policy as a Gates Cambridge Scholar. Her PhD research, done in collaboration with Bioversity International and based on fieldwork in Ethiopia and Papua New Guinea, focused on the influence of climate change on farmers’ seed systems, crop diversity, and crop choices. Her MPhil research, done in collaboration with the FAO, examined farmers’ seed systems in Malawi. Prior to attending Cambridge and shifting focus to agricultural and environmental aspects of development, Stella worked in the field of global public health as a post-bachelor’s research fellow at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (Seattle, Washington) and the Harvard Initiative for Global Health (Cambridge, Massachusetts), with fieldwork in Pemba, Tanzania. Her work focused on identifying better metrics for measuring and assessing health and nutrition outcomes and inequalities in the developing world. Her undergraduate degree is in Economics from Middlebury College.

Field Placement: Helen Keller International, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

Stella worked with Helen Keller International in Burkina Faso on an integrated nutrition-sensitive agriculture project aimed at ameliorating childhood malnutrition. This multi-pronged approach focuses on targeting root determinants of malnutrition across the agriculture, nutrition, and sanitation domains. Using a homestead garden approach, rural women are supported to diversify consumption of fruits/vegetables and animal products through training and input provision. This is paired with ‘behavior change communication’ in essential nutrition actions (e.g., exclusive breastfeeding) and the promotion of improved sanitation and hygiene activities to combat environmental enteropathy, including through community-led total sanitation. Within the project, Stella focused specifically on evaluative and formative research, situating the project within the larger nutrition-sensitive agriculture context, and aligning approaches with those of four other countries undertaking similar projects.

Policy Placement: HKI, Dakar, Senegal

Stella spent her policy year in the Africa Regional Office of Helen Keller International in Dakar, Senegal, where she continued to work on integrated nutrition-sensitive agriculture approaches to ameliorating childhood malnutrition. Her work focused on developing set health-based monitoring systems, supportive supervision tools, and program standards for HKI’s work in nutrition-sensitive agriculture and in documenting and sharing information on the projects’ successes and ‘lessons learned.’ She also collaborated with researchers from the International Center for Research on Women to develop and evaluate a novel curriculum for community-based change in gender relations in Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire. Finally, she supported the implementation of an urban agriculture project in Dakar.

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