Ayaka Matsuno is the Director of Gender Investment and Innovation Department, at the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, one of the largest philanthropic organizations in Asia. She leads the department that manages the operation of the Asia Women Impact Fund, an initiative to invest up to US $ 100 million from the Foundation to pursue gender lens investments that achieve favorable outcomes for women in Southeast Asia. Her team works with local organizations across Asia to conduct research, make policy recommendations, amplify sustainable solutions, and deliver positive outcomes for women and promote women’s economic empowerment.
Prior to joining the Sasakawa Peace Foundation in July 2019, Ms. Matsuno worked for United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Bangladesh, and International Labour Organization (ILO) in HQs and the fields to promote and protect the rights of women, children and migrant workers in Asia. Promoting women’s economic empowerment has been the core of her work as Ms. Matsuno believes that it is the key to improving women’s self-confidence, independence thus control over her life. Most recently, Ms. Matsuno worked as Chief of a Thai-Japan joint project on anti - human trafficking funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Through this project, she contributed to build capacity of the national multi-disciplinary team (MDT) members for better service delivery to realize smooth and safe repatriation, effective and sustainable social reintegration of victims of human trafficking. The project was recognized with a national award by the Royal Government of Thailand for its contribution to the national anti-human trafficking policy and to regional cooperation between and among CLMV (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam) and Thailand.
Ms. Matsuno is a strong proponent of women’s role as active change agents to make the world more sustainable and harmonious. In her current capacity, she aims to support women entrepreneurs and entrepreneur ecosystem to promote women’s economic empowerment and gender equality.