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 Senior Advisor, Women's Empowerment Program 



Eileen Pennington has over two decades of experience designing and supporting gender, human rights, and education programs for the Asia-Pacific region. As senior advisor for The Asia Foundation’s Women’s Empowerment program, Ms. Pennington provides strategic guidance and technical assistance to staff across 18 field offices in Asia on efforts to empower women and girls, and integrate gender in programs, including those related to the justice sector, governance, conflict, gender-based violence, education, and human trafficking. Prior to joining this team, Eileen served as Assistant Director in the Foundation’s Washington office, where she identified emerging opportunities for program growth, supported program development and enhanced monitoring and evaluation strategies, provided analysis to Foundation staff, and engaged with policymakers on key developments in U.S. foreign assistance.

Pennington has a strong background in training and facilitation, including playing a leading role in designing, field-testing, and implementing a Gender Mainstreaming Training Curriculum for Foundation staff; co-designing and facilitating skill-building workshops for staff on key issues including monitoring and evaluation (M&E), human trafficking, gender-sensitive programming, and women’s empowerment programming; and co-designing and leading adult language education training programs in Japan as part of the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program.

Pennington’s M&E experience includes active participation in a variety of midterm and final evaluations in the field (China, Indonesia, Mongolia, Thailand, Philippines); design of numerous performance monitoring plans and monitoring systems (including providing ongoing technical assistance during implementation); support to a Cambodian organization to develop user-friendly monitoring systems and strengthen participatory evaluation techniques for public outreach programs against domestic violence; and development of terms of reference for external evaluations. Pennington was the lead evaluator of The Asia Foundation’s $1.2 million USAID-funded civic education program in Thailand, conducting an in-depth qualitative evaluation that included more than 40 interviews or focus group discussions in southern Thailand and resulted in numerous recommendations for a second phase of programming.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Pennington served as a presidential management fellow and international relations officer at the U.S. Department of Labor, where she oversaw a multimillion-dollar portfolio of projects to combat child labor in Asia; worked with teams to conduct needs assessments; provided input and guidance on program design; engaged with local grantees during fact-finding missions; and represented the donor in mid-term and final program evaluations.

Education: Eileen Pennington holds a master’s degree in International Affairs (Social Change and Development) from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, DC; and a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs and Communications from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1994.