Location:New York, NY
Language Fluency:English, French, Dutch, German
Areas of Expertise:Agriculture, Agro-Pastoral Production, Livestock Production, Cash Learning Partnership, Cash Transfers, Climate Change, Analysis & Surveillance, Drought Mitigation, Economic Rehabilitation & Recovery, Emergency Response, Integrated Assessments, Food Security & Livelihoods, Participatory Community Development
Action Against Hunger’s Technical Director, Silke Pietzsch, has worked in the humanitarian and development sectors since 1998, specializing in food security & livelihoods and emergency nutrition programs.
Ms. Pietzsch started her career with the International Crop Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), working in India and Nepal to improve drought-resistant seed varieties for subsistence farming communities subject to erratic rainy seasons. In 2000, Silke worked for Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), carrying out community development work in Nepal and Sri Lanka, before joining Action Against Hunger to launch programs in Malawi and Zimbabwe while facilitating exploratory missions into Swaziland and Lesotho.
Ms. Pietzsch next worked in a range of contexts with Oxfam Great Britain, supporting the agency’s response to floods in Bangladesh, India and Nepal in 2004; post-tsunami relief efforts in India and the Nicobar and Andaman Islands in 2005; food security activities to counter the droughts and food shortages that afflicted Niger and Mali in 2005; and livelihood support programs in response to the regional climate problems affecting East Africa in 2006. Ms. Pietzsch rejoined Action Against Hunger in 2006, working in Niger as a Food Security & Livelihoods Coordinator overseeing a range of programs designed to improve agro-pastoral production: enhanced farming techniques and seed varieties, natural resource management (e.g., agro-forestry), income diversification for vulnerable groups, and contributions to national and regional surveillance systems, including GIS remote sensing in pastoral areas as part of early warning systems.
Ms. Pietzsch has worked in Action Against Hunger’s U.S. headquarters since 2008, initially as the agency’s Senior Food Security & Livelihoods Advisor, and later as the organization's Technical Director. She currently oversees all technical aspects of the organization’s work in Sub-Saharan Africa and Central Asia, providing policy expertise, positioning, and representation in international forums, and leadership in emerging sectors like cash transfer programs in emergency and recovery contexts. Ms. Pietzsch sits on the Steering Committee of the Cash Learning Partnership, providing support for capacity- and evidence-building on cash transfer programs among humanitarian partners and stakeholders.
A native of Germany, Ms. Pietzsch holds a MSc in Food Science and Household Economy from the University of Kiel, and a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands.
ACF’s Technical Director Talks Food Security, Cash Transfers
Ms. Pietzsch recently granted a compelling interview to humanitarian news source South South News. In the video, which you can watch below, she gives a full overview of ACF’s integrated programming, with an emphasis on food security and livelihoods, which is the first area of expertise in her technical background. She also discusses ACF’s innovative use of cash transfers as an effective and efficient tool in supporting populations affected by disasters. Silke chairs the Steering Committee for The Cash Learning Partnership (CaLP), a consortium of NGOs working to utilize cash transfers for greater humanitarian impact.
- Cash supported income generation activities in Southern Sudan (Field Exchange, ENN, August 2011)
- Interaction of quercetin glucosides with the intestinal sodium/glucose co-transporter (SGLT-1) (Cancer Letters, January 2001)
- The threats of climate change on undernutrition (United Nations Standing Committee on Nutrition, Winter 2010)
- Making cash work: A case study from Kenya (Humanitarian Exchange Magazine, June 2009)
- Fresh food vouchers for refugees in Kenya (Field Exchange, ENN, July 2009)
- Towards Improved Food and Nutrition Security in Sindh Province, Pakistan
Recent Speaking Engagements
- USAID/USDA International Food Aid Convention: Global Food Crisis Panel Discussion, (April 2009), Kansas City, Missouri, USA
- USAID Food for Peace – Emergency Cash Transfers: Panel Discussion, (February 2011), Washington DC, USA
- Cash Transfer Programming in Emergencies – ODI Good Practice Review Launch: Panel Discussion, (October 2011), Washington DC, USA
- Cash and Risk Conference – What makes cash so special?: Panel Discussion, (December 2011), Copenhagen, Denmark
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