Personal Reflections

Featured as a contributing writer to share her personal experience of being a graduate student at New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, what drew her to study there, and pursuing professional experiences at the international organizations, such as United Nations and the World Bank

Creating Sustainable Solutions in Developing Countries through Gender Equality

As a summer analyst within the Africa Gender Innovation Lab at the World Bank, Handaa Enkh-Amgalan supported the analysis and research of the organization’s impact evaluation projects focusing on women’s economic empowerment in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“I was mostly involved with the Tanzanian women’s entrepreneurship and mobile savings, Uganda’s land co-titling, and Uganda’s child nutrition projects,” she said.
Handaa supported randomized controlled trials and assessed outcomes for programs that addressed gender inequality across Africa. The World Bank’s partnerships with the UN Foundation and other nonprofits produced evidence that guided project teams and policymakers to advocate for better gender integration. Outside of her role as an analyst, she took the initiative to learn from her colleagues in the Office of the Chief Economist.
Handaa Enkh-Amgalan pictured outside of the World Bank building
“My understanding of how to effectively research, analyze, and disseminate complex economic findings to key audiences, such as national governments, proved to be useful and provided the office with a structured way of promoting research uptake,” Handaa explained.
Before Handaa worked to shrink the gender gap in earnings and productivity, she was employed as an NYC Urban Fellow at the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs’ Office of Financial Empowerment where she provided policy research, analysis, and project management support for the network of 25 Financial Empowerment Centers throughout the city. Her desire for structured knowledge of both US and international policy and the financing structure of public projects led her to apply for an MPA in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy at NYU Wagner.
“NYU Wagner’s mission of public service inspired me the most, and I was mostly looking for a combination of technical and policy knowledge and skills, which Wagner offers,” she said.  
Handaa says she felt like her Wagner experience prepared her to work for an organization that tackles issues on a global scale. Her coursework, events she attended, and professors provided the resources she needed to secure the internship and maximize the opportunity. She especially utilized the Wagner Office of Career Services to spend time preparing her resume and conveying her career goals and previous experience.
Handaa Enkh-Amgalan pictured inside of the World Bank building
“The [World Bank’s] mission to fight poverty is powerful to me. I grew up in a vulnerable community where I directly witnessed and experienced the cruel, unfair consequences of being poor. I feel very strongly about how poor people get blamed for being poor; some people do not understand the dynamics involved with the root causes whether it be a structural injustice, the lack of targeted support systems, bad governance, or cultural norms, which all disproportionally marginalize the poor and women. I want to use this personal passion and my voice to bridge the gap between the poor and policymakers through evidence, strategic planning, technical tools, and progressive policies,” Handaa stated.
Handaa has big plans after graduation. In the short-term, she hopes to join an organization that values diversity, international development, and evidence-based decision making, with an anti-poverty mission. Later, she plans to run for office in her home country, Mongolia, at the parliament level to advocate for the poor communities and women, as well as those who are at the intersectionality of these two identities. 
Each year, NYU Wagner’s Ellen Schall Experience Fund awards students with stipends to take on unpaid public service summer internships. This allows students to explore professional opportunities to achieve their career goals, regardless of compensation or financial need. In addition, awardees participate in professional development events throughout the summer.

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