Helen Connolly, a principal economist at AIR, has more than 30 years of experience in economic research and evaluation and has supported projects across the globe. She is experienced in methodologies of the evaluation of health, nutrition, income, gender equality, and poverty. In recent years, her focus has been on health and nutrition processes and outcomes and cost-effectiveness of international development programs in nutrition and HIV programming. Through the DfID-funded Maximising the Quality of Scaling Up Nutrition (MQSUN) framework, she provided technical assistance to SUN countries and the UN SUN Movement Secretariat. Activities included planning, monitoring and evaluation, research, and coordination. Countries receiving in-country assistance included Bangladesh, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nepal, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone. Dr. Connolly led projects conducting multivariate analyses on nutrition-related indicators to determine their correlation with malnutrition measures to help Yemen and Ghana prioritize interventions. She has assisted a number of countries in estimating costs and financing gaps of nutrition programming.
Dr. Connolly is currently the team lead on an evaluation of UNICEF’s global stunting reduction strategies and programs, including in-depth analyses in India, Mozambique, Rwanda, Niger, Cambodia, and Haiti. She was recently the lead evaluator in a number of projects to design survey instruments, and collect and evaluate cost data for nutrition and HIV/AIDS programs in countries including Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Swaziland, Mali, and Burundi. She was a primary contributor to an MQSUN Scoping Study on Priority Options for Sustainable Food Fortification in Pakistan; provided analysis on an evaluation of community response to HIV and AIDS in Kenya, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe; and was the lead evaluator on a joint World Bank/US CDC project on Evaluating the Economic and Health Impact of Investing in Laboratories in East Africa. Dr. Connolly has considerable experience with a variety of research and evaluation methods. She has used and taught a variety of econometric modeling methods, including limited dependent variable analysis, scenario analysis, and survival models. She has conducted and overseen literature reviews, one-on-one interviews, evaluability assessments, and summative assessments of health and nutrition interventions.
Dr. Connolly has also designed collection tools for primary data collection of costs, time use, and outcomes and has been responsible for cleaning, analyzing, and reporting the results. She is a former graduate-level professor of both labor economics and econometrics. Dr. Connolly’s work has been published in peer-reviewed academic journals and scholarly books. She has presented at numerous conferences and has served as an expert panelist and facilitator at workshops and advisory groups.