Biography of WHES board member Margie Ferris Morris

by Margie Ferris-Morris

Margie Ferris-Morris, a native of Ithaca, New York, holds a B.S. and an M.S. in Nutrition Sciences. She has her own firm (Ferris-Morris Associates, LLC.) and is a free-lance consultant in the areas of conflict mitigation, food security, maternal and child health, and hunger and nutrition with over 25 years of international development and relief experience, of which seven years were spent living in developing countries. Her expertise is in performance monitoring and evaluation, food policy dialogue, health and nutrition program design and management, training, emergency health operations and conflict mitigation.

She commenced her international nutrition work in the early 80’s with the World Food Program (WFP) in Thailand, where she served as a Nutrition Coordinator for refugee camps along the Thai-Kampuchean border. Since then, she has completed assignments in 22 countries with the United Nations, nongovernmental organizations, USAID, U.S. Peace Corps’ Office of Training and Program Support (OTAPS), the National and International Red Cross and private contractors. Ferris-Morris has also worked extensively for USAID in assisting Bureaus to define food security performance indicators (democracy, education, agriculture, health and food aid) and assess mission performance in the areas of food security and humanitarian assistance.

In 2002 she worked with USAID on Ethiopian food security and famine mitigation producing a widely circulated report on famine prevention strategies. She then went on to assist the UN High Commissioner for Refugees technical staff in Geneva to produce the Practical Guide to Standards and Indicators in UNHCR Operations guide. It has been translated into three languages and circulated to UNHCR and more than 700 agencies who work with them worldwide.

Ferris-Morris has recently turned her attention to some of the root causes of hunger and malnutrition, particularly in conflict settings. She worked with USAID’s Conflict Management and Mitigation Office to define strategies, activities and indicators for peace processes, youth in conflict, land and gems conflicts. Four toolkits were produced. An important part of addressing root causes of conflict revolves around the capability of persons, families and communities to secure livelihoods so they can acquire food necessities. She continues to pursue further studies in this area as well as work opportunities.

Her academic experience includes staff on the domestic community-based nutrition surveillance program at Cornell University for four years which addressed hunger and malnutrition issues in the state of New York. Three manuals were produced for Cooperative Extension staff and community organizations involved in food security. She is currently adjunct training staff with American University’s Peace-Building and Development Institute.

Ferris-Morris lives with her husband in Falls Church, Virginia and has three children.