Name: Abibata Handley
Position title: Senior Advisor, Capacity Strengthening
Languages spoken: French, English, Bambara, Dioula, Moore, Siamou.
When not working, favorite place to visit: Turkey and Italy.
Favorite type of cuisine: West African cuisine.
Last good book you read: Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, by Nicholas Kristof.
Where would we find you on a Saturday? With my husband at either our son’s music studio or our daughter’s Taekwondo Demo class.
First time you worked with DHS survey data: December 2013.
What is on your desk (or bulletin board/wall) right now? Reframing Evaluation Through Appreciative Inquiry by Hallie Preskill and Tessie Catsambas and The Art of Facilitation by Dale Hunter, Anne Bailey and Bill Taylor.
What is your favorite survey final report cover? The 2008 Ghana DHS.
What population or health issue are you most passionate about? Why? Girls’ education/gender equity and reproductive health issues. As an African woman I know that one influences the other. As someone said “when you educate a girl, you educate a nation.” If international development (public health) programs are to succeed in Africa, we need to maximize on girls education. We need to invest more in educating girls and young women to bring about change, promote best health practices and improve economic returns in the households. When hardship hits it is the girls that take the first hit. Of course we need to do all this within the social and cultural contexts and ensure men are involved as well. We cannot ignore that part of the equation.
What are you most looking forward to about your new position? The DHS Program is going through an exciting time and I am thrilled to be part of it. I look forward to leading our newest initiative, the Capacity Strengthening Program, and to working with our counterparts in making quality DHS data available worldwide.
What do you look forward to bringing to The DHS Program (job-related or not!)? Integrating new capacity strengthening approaches into all of our activities along the DHS survey continuum. Outside of work, having fun and getting to know my colleagues better. I love to organize cookouts and I am looking forward to having them over.