Staff Highlight: Lubov Fajfer Senior Education, Gender, and Vulnerable Groups Advisor

How does your role contribute to USAID's mission in Europe & Eurasia?
I cover several thematic areas that tend to be analyzed separately – education, youth, gender, inclusive development, trafficking in persons – and yet, are interconnected from the development perspective. I see my role as connecting the dots, helping to shape development approaches that take into account the multidimensional realities of the people and communities we aim to serve.

What are you proud of in your work?
Several years ago, I helped introduce an innovative approach to social cohesion and reconciliation to our Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Social Cohesion and Reconciliation Index (SCORE), developed with USAID support by the Center for Sustainable Peace and Democratic Development in Cyprus, helps users to identify specific types of interventions and precise entry points for peace-building projects. The index can be used to predict societal trends and provides the basis for evidence-based programmatic options to development practitioners and policy recommendations to decision-makers for managing processes of reconciliation. The index has since been adopted by USAID missions in Ukraine and Armenia, as well. I am very proud to have contributed to these efforts. 

What are you most excited about that's coming up?
I love to get out to the field to see our work unfolding. One especially exciting opportunity coming up is an annual youth entrepreneurship event put on by our implementing partners, Junior Achievement/Worldwide and JA Europe. Young people from throughout the region will come together as future leaders to brainstorm potential solutions to real development challenges in the region. The creativity, enthusiasm, and collaboration on display is inspiring.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
I have to admit, that I had trouble in coming up with a fun fact about myself (this is not to imply that I am no fun or don’t have fun!). So here is a factoid that few of my colleagues know about me. When I first considered my future profession, I decided to major in analytical chemistry because I wanted to have a solid background in understanding brain chemistry as a child psychologist.

What others say about Luba: Luba may have deeper technical expertise in more sectors than anyone else in the Agency. Her ability to serve as the bureau's leading expert on education, youth, gender, and human trafficking is both remarkable and a tribute to her professional and scholarly excellence. The depth and breadth of her expertise allows her to do something exceedingly valuable in development--identify emerging challenges. She can spot the dogs getting ready to bark, the land that is in danger of sliding, and the hazard around the bend in the road. She is a truly invaluable colleague.