Notes from the Executive Director: Meeting You at the Intersection

Three months in, one ESD class down (thanks IMPACT Boston!), too many ideas to manage at a time. I am thriving and learning immensely at ESD Global. My energy, skills and experience are well matched for the tasks ahead. Thanks to the talented team of staff, many community members and volunteers who have welcomed me.


As many of you know, I have a background in community development, education, and emergency response. These facets of my background come to work with me everyday and I look forward to leveraging them as we move forward to continue making Empowerment Self Defense a global movement and a key violence prevention strategy.

An opportunity that I see in our work is the ability to intersect* with other professions and fields of service. For example, this morning, I received a note to work with the Jane Goodall Institute, an internationally-known conservation organization. You might think: are we teaching ESD to baboons? No. They have a project Empowering the Whole Girl in Her Landscape project in Uganda. This effort will address gender in a conservation context. through multi-level integration across development sectors. By reducing GBV we can more effectively keep young women in schools, foster environmental stewardship through education, reduce unplanned –pregnancies, slowing population growth and reducing pressure on natural resources. This pilot project combines 1) the reduction of GBV at the individual level with youth using ESD; 2) addresses social norms regarding tolerance for violence at the community level; and 3) strengthens institutional structures that support GBV reduction. The work is guided by Barbara Risman’s framework of gender structure and it is complements by Dr. Jocelyn Hollander's research on the efficacy of ESD.



This project is in its idea and funding phase … so don’t count results yet. Nevertheless, this sort of collaboration across sectors is an exciting opportunity and an important way of promoting the importance of empowerment self-defense training. I think of social workers that counsel trauma survivors, physical education and health teachers. Indeed, much as increased physical activity improves academic and future-planning for over-aged, under-accredited youth, so too can ESD. We are planning to share more information on ESD intersections across fields and I hope you will be a part of embracing this effort.


*I use this word intersect carefully. In this instance, I am not referring to intersectional work (although ESDG is striving to be intersectional and consider multiple experiences).




Molly Singer has over twenty five years of experience building effective strategies, programs, and teams to achieve ambitious goals to expand opportunities in communities. She comes to ESD from Washington DC where she was the executive director of Capitol Hill Village, a model and leader among the Village movement in the United States. During her time, she tripled revenues, services and clients in providing social and educational programs, civic engagement practices, volunteer coordination and care services for seniors.

She has worked as a small business owner, in the private-, government-, and non-profit sectors. Singer was the CEO of Dexterity Management, a consulting firm that partnered with organizations to help them be more productive and effective in achieving their missions. Dexterity accomplished this through focused support, collaboration, and systems change. Dexterity’s work was distinguished by its depth of thought, thoroughness of approach, and distillation of next steps to support clients in advancing their efforts. Singer has also worked in response to the HIV epidemic in Washington DC and special assistant to the chief of disaster during Hurricane Katrina.

Singer has a graduate degree in applied anthropology from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and an undergraduate degree from Drew University. She has served on a number of community and international non profit boards. Singer lives in Boston MA US with her family. Singer loves to bake, is a mediocre knitter and has lots of household, personal and world-changing projects that she never gets to.

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