Ashish Bajracharya is the Country Representative of the Population Council’s office in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and an associate with the Council’s Reproductive Health program. Bajracharya is a social demographer and policy analyst who specializes in issues related to gender, transitions to adulthood, and sexual and reproductive health of adolescents, young people and vulnerable groups. He also specializes in rigorous experimental and quasi-experimental evaluations of health systems strengthening and health financing interventions aimed at improving maternal, sexual and reproductive health, family planning and HIV & AIDS related outcomes among poor and vulnerable populations in developing countries. Bajracharya’s work has a particular focus on South and Southeast Asia, covering Cambodia, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
From 2015 to 2018, Bajracharya led implementation science research under the Council’s flagship USAID-funded Evidence Project focused on workplace interventions aimed at improving access to family planning and sexual and reproductive health services for women who work in the readymade garment industry in Cambodia and Bangladesh. As a part of this work, he led the Evidence Project’s research and policy portfolio on WorkerHealth, a USAID Cambodia initiative working with female factory workers and garment industry stakeholders in Cambodia. He also led the Council’s evaluation of BSR’s HERproject health interventions being implemented in garment factories in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He currently serves as Principal Investigator of the People Living with HIV Stigma Index 2.0 study in Cambodia, being conducted in collaboration with the Cambodian People living with HIV Network (CPN+) and national partners.
Before relocating to Phnom Penh to establish and lead the Council’s office in Cambodia in 2015, Bajracharya served as associate based in the Council’s office in Dhaka, Bangladesh from 2012 to 2015 and as staff associate in the Council’s office in Hanoi, Vietnam from 2011 to 2012. Bajracharya began his career at the Population Council as a Fred H. Bixby Postdoctoral Fellow in the Poverty, Gender and Youth program from 2008 to 2010, based in its New York City headquarters. At the Council, he has led large-scale quasi-experimental evaluations of reproductive health voucher programs and social health protection schemes in Bangladesh and Cambodia, managed initiatives to strengthen adolescent sexual and reproductive health programming and research in Bangladesh and the Philippines, and worked on strengthening Health Management Information Systems and evidence-based decision-making in the health sector in Vietnam. He led the Council’s work on the Link Up Project in Myanmar, evaluating interventions designed to improve access to sexual and reproductive health and HIV services for young key populations affected by HIV. He also served as co-lead of a comprehensive study of adolescents living in remote and underserved regions of Nepal in collaboration with UNICEF, led research on transitions to adulthood, determinants of child marriage, and demographic transitions in Nepal, and provided technical assistance to rigorous randomized control trial evaluations of interventions aimed at addressing gender-based violence and child marriage in Bangladesh.
Bajracharya is a member of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population, the Population Association of America, and the Asian Population Association. His research has been published in journals such as Demography, The Lancet, Studies in Family Planning, Journal of Adolescent Health and Developmental Psychology. He also serves on expert panels, as a referee for leading peer-reviewed journals in his field, and has presented his research at scientific forums and international conferences around the world. In 2017, Bajracharya was named a winner of ‘120 under 40: The New Generation of Family Planning Leaders’ by the Bill and Melinda Gates Institute of Population and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, an initiative that recognizes young leaders under the age of 40 in the field of family planning and reproductive health globally.
Bajracharya received his Ph.D. in policy analysis and management from Cornell University in 2008, where he specialized in social demography and human development. He is a native of Nepal.