Assistant Director General, Office of Development Effectiveness, AusAID. The Office monitors the quality and evaluates the impact of the Australian government aid program and reports on the effectiveness of Australian aid and how it could be improved. Peter’s previous roles in AusAID have included heading the secretariat that oversaw development of the previous government’s aid White Paper and director of PNG Governance.
In 2005 Guna Vincent founded ‘Mahalir Sakthi’, an Indian NGO with the goal of empowering children and women of the most disadvantaged communities, particularly the Dalit, in the slums of Madurai, Tamil Nadu to escape from poverty.<br />
‘Dalits’ are the name of a group of people who are born into the bottom rung of India’s caste system. Tradition assigns Dalits to all dirty laborious work in society, including gutter cleaning, manual scavengers, toilet cleaners, and garbage removalists. Dalit children are the major drop outs from their schools. Besides poverty they lack motivation and support from their parents, and are discriminated against by members of the community due to their dalit status. This results in children becoming child labours and inheriting the same demeaning tasks their parents performed. They are forced to remain bonded to money lenders to pay back the loans raised by their families.<br />
Prior to founding Mahalir Sakthi, Guna spent 30 years working in the Department of Central Excise and Customs in the Ministry of Finance, Government of India. During this time she was also dedicated to the empowerment of women, working on projects with a number of NGOs, networks and campaigns including Peoples Education for Action and Liberation, Madurai, a senior NGO in Tamilnadu. </p>