Ayda Villalobos-Castro (she/her)

Institute: Lund University
Other affiliation: UNEP
Research area: Agriculture rural development & food security, Environment and climate change, Gender equality
Research region: Asia-Pacific, Latin America

Skills and experience

Internship experience
Rural livelihoods and drug cultivation UNODC in Shan State, Myanmar; Environment and Social safeguards UNOPS in Copenhagen, Denmark
Work experience
Climate adaptation and gender in UNEP in Nairobi, Kenya.
Language skills
Spanish, English, French
Software skills
GIS, Google Earth Software, NVIVO

Interested in

PhD Study

Master's thesis

Myanmar is the world's second-largest producer of opium poppy, the raw material from which heroin and opium are produced. 85% of this opium poppy is cultivated in rural areas of Shan State where about 1 in 10 households in the villages are directly involved in opium poppy cultivation for the drug industry (MIMU, 2017). The economy of opium poppy permeates social and family dynamics, nonetheless, there is no research emphasizing the position of women in illegal opium poppy cultivation in Myanmar. Through the lens of intersectionality, I intend to uncover the gendered organization of opium poppy cultivation in southern Shan State. Being the first time an academic paper analyzes intersectionality in a drug economy in South-East Asia, this research contributes to providing knowledge that can make up a basis for gender-sensitive policies aiming to help farmers to turn into legal crops and assisting in fitting development interventions to women’s experiences. The research builds on a mixed-methods case study design, where interviews, participant observation, transient walks, surveys, and focus groups with opium poppy farmers, gender specialists, and opinion pieces on the topic have been analyzed.