Senior Consultant (Gender, Environment, and International Development)


Dr Bhattarai is an internationally recognised specialist on gender and development. She considers gender justice across a range of international development sectors – including natural resources management, rural livelihoods, urban poverty, agriculture and food security, disaster risk reduction, water security and resilience building, small and community-based enterprises, infrastructure development, and health and development.
Her gender works span research, development practice, training, program monitoring and evaluation, policy analysis, and women empowerment. She has served as a specialist/consultant for a number of national organisations in Australia and development agencies internationally, including DFAT, USAID, DFID, IFAD, and IDRC.
She is a senior gender and development consultant at IFSD Sydney, and is actively contributing to University of Queensland’s professional training program on gender, development and humanitarian assistance. She has served as a senior researcher for a project on climate change, urbanisation and water security in India and Nepal in collaboration with the Canadian IDRC.
She has also served as Gender Specialist at International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD). Her research has been well recognised in the academia and used in graduate seminars in some US Universities.
She recently completed a major assignment for United Nations FAO on a global review of forestry sector from SDG Goal 5 (Gender) lens and developed recommendations for FAO. She is also an actively sought-after counsellor of gender based domestic violence among Asian diasporic communities in Australia.

Key Accomplishments

  • Over 15 years of international experience in designing and delivering programs on gender and social inclusion in the context of international development (contributed to improved livelihoods of some of the world’s poorest and largest human population in Asia).
  • Published over 20 scientific papers on various critical issues related to gender, social inclusion, environmental management and poverty reduction (including a well cited paper published in World Development).
  • Provided specialised professional services to programs of top international development agencies including. UK Department for International Development, Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). These include contribution to gender and food security component of the State of World Forest 2018 produced by FAO.
  • Served as gender and social inclusion expert at an international development agency.
  • Offered policy advice to high level decision makers on mainstreaming and translating gender equality principles in policy, organisational management, and practices.
  • Served as the head of an academic institution in Australia and provided leadership to management and technical teams.
  • Conducted community development work across developing countries, focussing on South Asia.
  • Delivered training and capacity building programs for development and policy management professionals

Professional Experience

Gender Equality & Sustainability Expert in Research, Community, Industry and Public Sector (November 2019 – ongoing) at Institute for Study and Development Worldwide (IFSD)

  • Conduct research in areas of natural renouncement including agricultural development, food security, climate adaptation, disaster risk reduction, and water security
  • Work as gender and social inclusion specialist to synthesise knowledge gained from two research projects and produce policy brief on water security under climate change in the three emerging towns in Nepal
  • Provide leadership to teams working in the area of gender equality, sustainability and inclusive development
  • Engage in strategic communication with clients and partners
  • Design collaborative research and development in sustainable agriculture in Hawkesbury- Nepean Catchment area, Sydney region considering drought as one of the threats for sustainable production

 Honorary Associate, 2018 on-going), University of Sydney, Australia.

Conducted research and produce scientific research and gender and international development.


Advisor (April 2017 on-going), Agricultural & Forestry Research Centre (AFCRC), Sydney and Mittagong.

I have been providing expert advisory services and research support to AFCRC to analyse issues and opportunities around forest and agriculture in Mittagong under Wingercarribee Shire Council. I am involved in developing partnership and collaboration between AFCRC, the Council and local land management groups.


Chief Executive Officer/Director of Studies, ISMT College, Melbourne, Australia, (March 2019 – October 2019).

  • Took charge of overall management of ISMT and deliver good outcomes to the ISMT investors by ensuring excellent services to students, clients and stakeholders as per the strategic plan of ISMT
  • Contributed to strategic planning and policies of the College so as to develop ISMT’s positive profile and reputation as a premier academic institution in Melbourne and continuously enhance competitive advantage
  • Prepared Annual Plan and Target as per the college Strategic Plan and develop practical strategies to achieve these targets
  • Achieved sustained growth of the college in terms of training, academic and research products and services development and delivery by effective mobilization of human, financial and other resources made available by the Board of Directors
  • Developed productive partnerships with groups external to the institution such as universities, government agencies, industry and local media to promote the institution;
  • Ensured high quality and responsive training programs to the satisfaction of students/ trainees
  • Coordinated various departments within the college and ensured smooth and effective integration across various units and departments of the College


Consultant (July 2019-November 2019) at Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

  • Conducted global review of gender and food security in relation to SDG goals (Goal 5)
  • Wrote a chapter on the contribution of forest to food security, nutrition and wellbeing.


Invited lecturer (March 2018) at the University of Virginia Tech, USA.

Delivered lectures in special discussion series run by Center for International Research, Education and Development (CIRED). Nearly 150 faculty members and students attended the lecture and interactive session afterwards.


Consultant (Nov 2017 – March 2018) at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia (in collaboration with DFAT and Scope Global).  

Developed curriculum and delivered training to senior government officials on inclusive governance for effective disaster risk reduction (short course).


Consultant (July 2017 to October 2017) at Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Wrote Two Chapters on the contribution of forest to Sustainable Development Goals (2016-2030) related to achieving gender equality (goal 5) and food security (goal 2) (published in the State of World’s  Forests (2018).


Consultant (December 2016-January 2017) at Search for Common Ground, an International Non-Governmental Organisations

Prepared a Policy Brief on Disaster Resilience: Policy and Priority Actions for Nepal.


Programme evaluation advisor at Community of Evaluators (CoE) Nepal (June –December 2016)

Advised and led a project called ‘Strengthening Nepal’s National Capacity to Evaluate localized Sustainable Development Goals with a Social Equity and Gender based Inclusion Lens’ in collaboration with National Planning Commission and UN Women with the funding of International Organization For Cooperation In Evaluation (IOCE).

Consultant (May 2016-July 2016) at FAO

Prepared National Assessment Report for Nepal on Cross-sectoral Forestry and Food Security Policy Analysis. The report has been rated as excellent by FAO and is being used as a model for works in other countries

Research Associate July 2016– to September 2016 at UNSW

Carried out research and co-authored a journal paper on gender mainstreaming in disaster management and community resilience in the context of increased feminization of agriculture and rural economies of Nepal.

Co-led, City and Climate Change Adaptation in Nepal and India (2016-2018) at Southasia Institute of Advanced Studies (SIAS) and International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada

My role was to develop and implement (as a co-leader) the project in 4 catchment areas of Nepal and India to develop catchment plans for ensuring water security in the context of urbanization and climate change. In this project, I designed and assessed environmental impact of urbanisation on water system and on the lives of poor, women and marginalized population.

PhD Researcher (2011-2015), The University of Melbourne, Australia

  • Conducted literature review, deliver various seminars, conducted fieldwork in Nepal, analysed data and produced a thesis document on a topic directly related to gender, environment and development.
  • Delivered guest lectures for Master’s level student on natural resource management course
  • Led two of the reading group discussion series run by the
  • Delivered three seminar papers on gender, climate adaptation and agrobiodiversity management to the international audience.
  • Taught as a casual Lecturer at Department of Resource Management and Geography, University of Melbourne, Australia.


August 2010-November 2010: International Development Consultant, DFID’s Livelihood and Forestry Program in Nepal.

Conducted a research on the “Role of Forestry in Food Security” in four of the 14 DFID supported districts from poverty reduction perspective.


February 2008 to June 2010:  Gender Specialist, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)

  • Designed and implemented a project on downstream-upstream water management in Nepal, India and Bhutan.
  • Conducted monitoring and evaluation for more than half a dozen of development programs with a focus on gender justice and poverty via i) community-based forest management ii) off-season vegetable production in dry land, iii) women focused enterprises development.
  • Authored and contributed to scientific papers and reports on various aspects of gender, climate change and natural resource management in the Himalayas.
  • Organised and disseminated gender assessment findings to the policy makers from ICIMOD partner countries including the government ministries.
  • Conducted action research on bay leaf enterprise development and value chain development focusing on women.
  • Contributed to the production of practitioner-oriented guidelines for mainstreaming gender in research and development projects.
  • Prepared Terms of Conditions and hire consultants for about a half dozen research and development tasks related to downstream and upstream water management and agricultural production systems.



August 2007 to January 2008: Acting Country Coordinator – Nepal, Women Organizing for Change in Agricultural and Natural Resource Management (WOCAN).

  • Coordinated all country level research, represent organization in different forums, capacity building and budget management, networking and partnership building related to gender and natural resource management.
  • Secured fund for the study of women professionals’ practical and strategic issues

January 2005 to July 2007: Theme coordinator: Gender and Social Inclusion, ForestAction, Nepal.

  • Developed various projects on women’s inclusion and local government in environmental management, poverty reduction and forest management
  • Developed guidelines for participatory forest and natural resources management and sustainable management of medicinal plants
  • Worked as Executive Editor of Journal of Forest Livelihood 5 (1), a special issue addressing gender and poverty issues from community based natural resource management in Nepal and South Asia
  • Conducted training in socially inclusive and sustainable management of community-based forests and non- timber forest products for enterprise development.
  • Served as a member of senior management committee of the organization where I specifically advised the organization from gender and social inclusion perspective.
  • Represented various policy forums in gender equality and social inclusion issues of natural resource management on behalf of the organization.


December 1999-December 2000: Consultant Researcher in Nepal, International and Rural Development Department of the University of Reading, UK and DFID, UK.

  • Carried out field works, analysed and documented the role of small-scale innovations on participatory forest management for the sustainable management of forested landscapes in seven districts of Nepal. I co-authored a guidebook came out of this work.


May 1993 to April 1995: Community Forestry Officer: Nepal-UK Community Forestry Project (NUKCFP)

  • Advised government and NGO staff in developing participatory forest management institutions (locally called as forest user groups) and supported them for the sustainable management of forest resources in seven hill districts of Nepal.
  • Designed and delivered training to government staff, NGOs and community organizations. Besides, I helped develop and implement more than 20 district and village level forest management policies and plans in these districts. Some of the activities included: running environmental education programs, execute forest plantations, organize exposure visits.

Publications / Knowledge Outputs

Journal articles

  • Bhattarai et al (under review). Escalating gender inequality in water governance in two cities of Nepal under changing climate. Water Alternative.
  • Ojha, H., Devkota, K, Neupane, K, Bhattarai, B. et al (under review) Urban water resilience: is Nepal’s water policy effective? Water Policy.
  • Bhattarai, B. (2020). How Do Gender Relations Shape a Community’s Ability to Adapt to Climate Change? Insights from Nepal’s Community Forestry. Climate and Development.
  • Shrestha, K.K., Bhattarai, B. and Ojha, H.R. (2019). Disaster Justice in Nepal’s Earthquake Recovery, International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 33:207-216.
  • Ojha, H., T. Maraseni, A. Nightingale, Bhattarai and D. Khatri (2019). Rescuing forests from the carbon trap. Forest Policy and Economics 101: 15-18.
  • Adhikari, J., Ojha, H.R. and Bhattarai, B. (2016). Edible forest? Rethinking Nepal’s forest governance in the era of food insecurity. International Forestry Review 18(3):265-279.
  • Bhattarai, B., Beilin and Ford, R. (2015). Gender, Agrobiodiversity, and Climate Change: A Study of Adaptation Practices in the Nepal Himalayas. World Development 70: 122-132.
  • Ojha, H., D.B. Khatri, K.K. Shrestha, Bhattarai, J.C. Baral, K. Goutam, B. Basnet, M.R. Banjade, S. Jana, B. Bushley and S. Dhungana (2015). Can evidence and voice influence policy? A critical assessment of Nepal’s Forestry Sector Strategy 2014. Society and Natural Resources 29(3): 357-373
  • Ojha, H. R., Banjade, M. R., Sunam, R. K., BhattaraiB., Jana, S., Goutam, K.R. and Dhungana, S. 2014. Can authority change through deliberative politics? Lessons from the four decades of participatory forest policy reform in Nepal. Forest Policy and Economics 46: 1-9.
  • Khadka, M; Bhattarai, B (2012) ‘Gender dimensions of forest governance in Nepal (Nepali language) Hamro Ban Sampada, Nepal, Year 10, No.1, 2069 BS.
  • Choudhary, D., Bhattarai, B., Pandit, BH. and Kollmair, M. 2010. Empowering women through bay leaf value chain development. ICIMOD Newsletter on Sustainable Mountain Development 57, ICIMOD, Summer 2010: 38-40.
  • Bhattarai, B., Dhungana, S. and Kafley, G. 2007. Poor-focused common forest management: Lessons from leasehold forestry in Nepal. Journal of Forest and Livelihood 6 (2): 20-29.
  • Ojha, H., Cameron, J., and Bhattarai, B. 2006. Understanding development through the language of Bourdieu and Habermas – Insights from Nepal’s leasehold forestry programme. International Development Policy Review 27 (4), 479-497.
  • Luintel, H. and Bhattarai, B. 2006. Exploring priority problems of the forest dependent poor in Nepal. Journal of Forest and Livelihood 5 (1): 1-13.
  • Bhattarai, B.; Ojha, ; and Humagain, Y. 2005. Is leasehold forestry really a pro- poor innovation? Evidences from Kavre District, Nepal. Journal of Forest and Livelihood, 4 (2), 17-30.
  • Ojha, H. and Bhattarai B. 2003. Learning to manage a complex resource – A case of NTFP assessment in Nepal. International Forestry Review Vol (2), 118-127.
  • Ojha, H. and Bhattarai B. 2001. Understanding community perspectives of silvicultural practices in the Hills of Nepal. Forests, Trees and People Newsletter, No 44. Forests, Trees and People Program, FAO.

Book Chapters

  • BhattaraiB., Dhungana, S. and Kafley, G. 2008. Poor focused common forest management: Lessons from leasehold forestry in Nepal. In: Communities, forests and governance- Policy and institutional innovations from Nepal, (eds.) H. Ojha, N. Timsina, C. Kumar, B. Belcher and B. Banjade). Adroit Publishers, New Delhi, India.
  • Branney, P., Malla, Y., Bhattarai, B. and Tamrakar, T. 2001. Innovative Forestry: A synthesis of small- scale forest management practices from Nepal. A field workers’ guidebook. Forest user group forest management project (FFMP) and Livelihoods and Forestry Programme of DFID, Nepal.

Research reports

  • Bhattarai, B. 2011How can community-based forest management contribute to food security in Nepal? Livelihood and Forestry Programme of DFID, UK. Kathmandu.
  • Sakya, B. Bhattarai, B. and Leduc, B. 2010. Gender mainstreaming in biodiversity conservation in the Hindu- Kush Himalayas. ICIMOD, Kathmandu.
  • Bhattarai, B. and Shrestha, A.J. 2010. Assessment of gender mainstreaming in off- season vegetables value chain in Uttarakhand Livelihood Improvement Project in Indian Himalayas (Aajeevika). ICIMOD, Kathmandu.
  • Bhattarai, B., Dhungana, S. 2008. How can forests better serve the poor? A review of documented knowledge on leasehold and community forestry in Nepal. ForestAction Nepal in collaboration with Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Bogor, Indonesia.
  • Bhattarai, B. Assessment of Western Uplands Poverty Alleviation Project in Nepal from gender lens. International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, Kathmandu.
  • Chhetri, RB, Bhattarai, B., Timsina, N., Harisharan, L., Regmi, R. and Ale Magar, R. 2008. Decentralization and promotion of women’s rights in Nepal: Exploring constraints, opportunities and intervention avenues. ForestAction Nepal in collaboration with IDRC, Canada.
  • Luintel, H., Bhattarai, B. and Ojha, H. 2007. A review study on Internal group governance in the context of community-based forest management in Bhutan, Vietnam, Cambodia and Nepal: A Review of recent innovations and an analytical framework. Environmental Resource Institute, Kathmandu and The Centre for People and Forests (RECOFTC), Bangkok.
  • Paudel, K, H. Luintel, Bhattarai, and H. Ojha. 2003. A Survey of the Priority Problems of the Forest and Tree-Dependent Poor People in Nepal. ForestAction Nepal and DFID Research Programme/ UK.


Practitioner Guidebook

  • BhattaraiB. and Leduc, B. 2009. Engendering value chain development. ICIMOD, Kathmandu.


Policy briefs


Discussion papers

  • Bhattarai, B. Is Gender Transformative Change Possible in International Development? Some Critical Problems and Actionable Solutions.
  • Shakya, B. and BhattaraiB. 2010. E-discussion paper on gender, biodiversity and climate adaptation in the Hindu-Kush Himalayas, 3-21 May. ICIMOD, Kathmandu.
  • Bhattarai, B. and Ojha. H. 2000. Distributional impact of Community Forestry: Who is benefiting from Nepal‘s Community Forests? Discussion paper. ForestAction Nepal


Conference papers

  • Shrestha, K., Ojha, H., Khatri, D., BhattaraiB., Karki, R., Ian, N. and Paudel, N. 2014. The forest-food paradox: Rethinking Nepalese community forestry in the face of food insecurity. A paper presented in Agrifood XXI conference, Nov 2014, Sydney.
  • BhattaraiB. Beilin R. and Ford, F. 2013. Gender and climate change adaptation: A case study of agricultural biodiversity management in the mountains of Nepal. A paper presented in The Australian Sociological Association (TASA), Melbourne.
  • BhattaraiB. Beilin R. and Ford, F. 2013. Why gender matters in biodiversity management for food production in a changing world? A case of Nepal Himalayas. A paper presented in Agrifood XX conference, Dec 2013, Melbourne.
  • BhattaraiB. 2012. Can current gender equality approaches contribute to gender equitable agrobiodiversity adaptation to climate change in Nepal Himalayas? A paper presented in Bhutan +10, Gender and Sustainable Mountain Development in a Changing World, 5-10 Oct 2012, Thimpu, Bhutan.
  • Bhattarai, B. 2011. Rhetoric and reality: Enacting gender-based inclusion in managing the commons in Nepal. Paper presented in an international conference on Sustaining Commons: Sustaining Future. 9-14 January, Hyderabad, India.
  • Bhattarai, B. Pandit, B.H., Choudhary, D. and Leduc, B. 2009. Engendering value chain: The case of a Bay Leaf enterprise in Nepal. Paper presented at the International Conference on Community Forestry, Pokhara, Nepal.
  • Leduc, B., Shrestha, A. and Bhattarai, B. 2008. Gender and climate change in the Hindu-Kush Himalayas of Nepal. ICIMOD, Kathmandu and Women Empowerment and Development Organization, New York.
  • BhattaraiB. 2007. What makes local elites work for the poor? A case of community forestry user group, Nepal. Proceedings of the international conference on Poverty Reduction and Forests: Tenure, Market and Policy Reforms. 3-7 September, Bangkok, RECOFTC.