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Lou contributes to policy and practice related to the Livelihoods, food and health, and Biocultural diversity thematic areas, within the SwedBio team.
She supports collaborative partnerships, as well as dialogue, knowledge exchange and methodology development initiatives related to biodiversity, resilience and ecosystem services and their role in poverty alleviation, within these themes.
Lou also supports overall programme administration, management and strategy within SwedBio, particularly through assistance to monitoring and evaluation and learning activities, reporting, communications and gender mainstreaming.
Lou has a background in sustainable development and social science. She holds a MSc in International Development and Management from the Human Geography and Ecology department at Lund University, Sweden, and a BSc in International Management from Warwick University, United Kingdom.
For her Master thesis, she explored whether non-timber forest products (NTFP) commercialisation interventions successfully enhance livelihoods and environmental conservation, based on a case study on the honey value chain development initiatives in the Yayu Coffee Forest Biosphere Reserve in South West Ethiopia. She studied the role of local communities’ customary governance systems and collective action for forest conservation and natural resource management.
During and after her studies, Lou participated in multiple research, practice and policy projects dealing with forestry and biodiversity, natural resource governance, social entrepreneurship, ecotourism, small-scale food value chains, food security and nutrition, mostly in project management or analyst roles.
Most recently, she worked as an intern and later as a junior consultant to the German Agency for Development Cooperation Agency (GIZ), within a programme working to strengthen institutional capacities for land governance in Africa, alongside the African Land Policy Centre based at the African Union, Ethiopia. The programme worked towards evidence-based policy reform in the land sector, especially when it comes to recognising land rights. Before that, she worked for Action Against Hunger in the UK, supporting the Inter-Agency Regional Analysts Network (IARAN), as well as the Evaluations, learning and accountability department. She has previously studied and worked in China, Thailand and Uganda.
She feels passionate about lifting the voices and perspectives of local actors and communities, towards innovative, inclusive and equitable forms of governance of social-ecological systems that can benefit people and planet, especially in the context of food, land and agricultural systems.