The Gender and Development Committee (GAD) is a worldwide Peace Corps working group that focuses on issues of gender equality and women’s empowerment that are relevant in the volunteer’s work context. The GAD Morocco committee consists of peer-elected representatives. The committee meets three times each year to facilitate regional GAD initiatives, to organize Peace Corps-wide thematic activities, and to motivate and educate volunteers through training and outreach efforts.
Shalean Collins |Chair
More about Shalean
Hello, I’m Shalean! I am currently serving in a small town in the mid-Atlas Mountains. I grew up in Oklahoma, but lived in several other places before coming to Morocco (including New Orleans and Uganda). I hold a Bachelor’s degree in nutrition, I am a dietitian, and I have a Master’s degree in public health. Prior to Peace Corps, I worked in food and water insecurity research in sub-Saharan Africa and South America.
Before joining Peace Corps, my work primarily focused on the social determinants of health in the maternal-infant dyad; including how gender and socially-enforced gender roles influence health and wellbeing across the lifecourse. In my community, I co-facilitate girls’ empowerment workshops and teach at a local women’s association. I am excited to serve as a GAD committee member and work with Moroccans and other PCVs to support female access to health, literacy, and education resources and strengthen opportunities for gender equity.
Anna LaRocco Massi |Vice Chair
More about Anna
Hi my name is Anna like the Moroccan I or me. I live in the Errachidia region and am from Washington D.C. I graduated from the George Washington University with a double major in sociology and political science. My research within my majors focused on politics of sub-Saharan Africa, in particular Zimbabwe and South Africa but with a general focus on how domestic politics and gender play roles in development. Within sociology I focus on the role of gender poverty and race.
During my time at University I interned at the United States Congress for one year and did work on gender in relation to health care and disabilities. I also formerly worked for Ben & Jerry’s Ice cream for their marketing and social mission responsibility team. I have always been very passionate about working with the young minds of the future and am looking forward to taking this to the GAD committee.
Kylie Silvestri |Media Officer
More about Kylie
My name is Kylie, and I currently live in a small Amazigh community tucked in the high Atlas Mountains. My community and Moroccan friends call me 3icha. I am from Philadelphia, which I have called home for the last 6 years. Before my time in Peace Corps Morocco, I was working as a Community Health Educator in Burkina Faso, where I found my passion for women’s empowerment and international work.
I got involved with GAD because I want the youth to feel confident and in control of their own futures, and empowerment is one of the first steps in bridging the gap between gender equality. Gender inequity goes deeper than simply male/ female relations, and marginalized groups additionally feel this to greater degrees. Gender equity needs acknowledgement from both men and women alike to break the cycle, and I feel that the best way to teach this is through youth work. This is why making gender resources available for educators is so important to me. Whether it be through education, pay, household duties, sexuality, etc, women and girls are silenced far too often, and educating youth with this in mind helps encourage girls and boys that they can be, and achieve whatever they want if they work hard enough.
Sarah Barrett | Coordinating Officer
More about Sarah
Ahlan! I’m Sarah and I’m currently serving in an Amazigh town nestled between the Middle and High Atlas Mountains. My site has a long Peace Corps history and I’m lucky enough to continue a legacy of female PCVs named Sarah.
I’m from a small town in New Hampshire and I recently graduated from the University of Vermont with a Bachelor’s in Global Studies and Community & International Development. I specialized in refugee and asylum studies through reconnecting with my own refugee roots and interning with the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. Through this work, I came to view gender and development through the intersection of plural socio-cultural/economic and theological lenses.
Fresh out of four years as a female athlete on co-ed collegiate programs, my passion for gender work leans towards sports and education as mediums for both girls’ empowerment and the recruitment of men and boys as allies. I look forward to working with GAD to develop resources, networks, and support systems to enable PCVs and Moroccans to work together in the global movement for socially just development and gender equity.
Leslie Grueber |Representative
More about Leslie
Hi there! My name is Leslie Grueber. The place I currently call home is a small village in the ‘Valley of Roses’ in southeastern Morocco. I’m from the Midwest United States – having grown up in Michigan, but more recently living my pre-Peace Corps life in Chicago, Illinois.
I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Finance & Management Information Systems, and I spent three years working in Business Strategy Consulting before joining Peace Corps. Spending my academic and professional career thus far in male-dominated spaces has driven me to develop a passion for promoting gender equity. I aspire to work towards improving access to opportunity – particularly that of economic independence – on the part of women, trans, and non-binary individuals. I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of GAD and help support gender-related work in Morocco.
Amara Wilson | Representative
More about Amara
Hello, I’m Amara! I’m currently serving in a large town in the middle of the Atlas Mountains, in the middle of Morocco. I grew up in San Francisco, California but before coming to Morocco also called Denver and Seattle home. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies and Religion. After graduating college I worked in tech for a few years, where I saw day to day the effects of gender misrepresentation in a professional work environment.
Growing up I was involved in everything from team sports to girls empowerment organizations. Through these activities, I have met and been raised by a diversity of women and men who have worked with me throughout my life to teach me how to navigate and explore the world through different lenses and identities. I am excited to work with GAD to develop and provide resources and new ideas on how to support and explore gender and identity work here in Morocco. I have seen the power of collaboration in action and I am excited to see what we can do by working with one another!
Maddie Baker | Representative
More about Maddie
Hi! My name is Maddie, or Maria to many of my Moroccan friends. I am from a small town north of Seattle called Snohomish, WA. I’m currently living in the Errachidia area of Morocco.
I graduated from the University of San Diego with a Bachelor’s in International Relations, and a very active minor in Leadership Studies. During my studies, I interned with the Women’s Equity Council of the United Nations Association San Diego Chapter. With this affiliation and our consultative status through UNESCO, I was afforded the opportunity to attend the 60th Commission on the Status of Women at the UN in New York City, cementing my passion to work for gender equity globally.
My work prior to Peace Corps was as a Corps Member working in an underserved middle school through City Year in the South Bronx of New York. My greatest passion is in access to quality education, with specific attention to marginalized groups. I am excited to fuel these passions further in service as a member of the GAD committee!
Caroline Hayes | Representative
More about Caroline
Hello! My name is Caroline. I’m from a small town in the woods of New Hampshire, now serving in a small city in southeast Morocco at the opening of the Sahara.
I received my Bachelor’s with a double-major in Women, Gender, and Sexuality, and International Studies, concentrating on the Middle East, with a minor in Arabic Language. Before coming to the Maghreb, I worked at a nonprofit in Washington, DC that assists women leaders from over 140 countries create change in their communities through building skills in strategic planning, business, advocacy, and communications.
A lifelong dreamer and forever on the hunt for some transformative social theory, I find myself constantly looking at the world through a socially-analytical lens, contemplating the steps necessary to eliminate gender-based oppression. My hope is that GAD can provide resources, outreach, and networks to enable PCVs and Moroccans to play an increasingly larger role in the global movement for gender equity.
Said Ousaka | Staff Liaison