Timor-Leste Strategic Review: Progress and Success in
Researcher and development practitioner focusing on Food Security, Nutrition and Gender.
Gianna is passionate about food and nutrition security issues, specifically those affecting women, Indigenous populations and smallholder farmers. Her research interests are cross-disciplinary focusing on food security and nutrition issues, gender dynamics and on how these intersect with agriculture in development contexts. Most food insecure people around the world are smallholder farmers, and she is particularly interested in understanding the gendered pathways by which agriculture, livestock and aquaculture programmes can best support nutrition outcomes among rural communities. With a social sciences background, her contributions to the food security and nutrition fields are framed around the socio-cultural aspects of rural agrarian livelihoods and diets, gender relations and programme evaluation matters.
She has been involved in food and nutrition security projects for over 9 years, including in Timor-Leste, with Aboriginal communities through the Australian Red Cross, and in multiple sustainable food production initiatives. As part of her Master of Development Studies at the University of Sydney, she produced a Briefing Paper on nutrition-sensitive agricultural development focused on Southeast Asia. This framework, combined with her experience working in a rural farm practicing sustainable agriculture, inspired the “Food and Nutrition Hub” project proposal, winner of the BCFN Young Earth Solutions! in 2014.
She has been based in Timor-Leste for 3 years undertaking a PhD based on the BCFNYES! project. Her research explores the interrelations between women’s empowerment in agriculture, animal-source food production and child dietary diversity among semi-subsistence farming communities. In Timor-Leste, she has consulted for DFAT programmes, lead the local research component of the Strategic Review of the Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG2) in strong collaboration with Professor Jessica Fanzo from Johns Hopkins University, and with whom also wrote an agriculture sector review for the World Bank. In 2018 she worked with the UN World Food Program on Social Behaviour Change Communication and led a formative research study on adolescents’ nutrition while undertaking her PhD fieldwork. Now she is back in Darwin to focus on writing her thesis.
Gianna has worked in Australia and Southeast Asia for over a decade in the non-for profit and academic sectors, grew up in Barcelona, and has Italian heritage.