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Marcia Odell

Senior Director - Strategy Implementation and Gender Equality

Marcia Odell has served as Sr. Director, Strategy Implementation and Gender Equality at Plan International USA since 2014. Having joined Plan in 2013 as Sr. Gender Advisor, she has supported the core tenets of Plan’s development approach, whether through the mainstreaming of gender in all that Plan does; supporting sustainable and scalable community-based participatory development; or promoting the economic advancement of marginalized populations. Marcia provides management support to projects that include Read to Succeed in Zambia; Improved Services for Vulnerable Populations in Rwanda; and Community-Led Action for Children in Kenya and Mozambique.

Marcia has more than 25 years of experience in international development, helping civil society organizations and community groups develop ownership of, participation in, and accountability for gender-sensitive development projects. She has managed large-scale programs including the Women Reading for Development (WORD) project, a non-formal literacy program, which reached over half a million women in Nepal. Subsequently, Marcia was responsible for the implementation of the Women’s Empowerment Program, now known as WORTH, a literacy- and savings-led microfinance and micro-business income-generation intervention for 125,000 women and girls. As WORTH’s Global Director, she oversaw the launch of projects in nearly a dozen countries in Africa and Asia that garnered a number of international awards. Whatever the size of a program, throughout Marcia’s work is a commitment to making it possible for girls and women to discover how powerful they already are.

Marcia has an MBA from the Whittemore School of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire, a Master’s degree in early childhood education from Wheelock College, and a PhD from Cornell University in economic history, with a minor in early childhood development. For project inquiries, please email

To schedule an interview, please contact:

Robin Costello, Senior Director, Communications



Michelle Obama Got It Right

Michelle Obama got it just right when, in her address last Wednesday, she pointed out that when it comes to the role of girls and women in Africa, “the problem…isn’t only about resources, it’s also about attitudes and beliefs.”

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