Mary B. Anderson was most recently Executive Director of CDA Collaborative Learning Projects and President of the Collaborative for Development Action, Inc., a small consulting firm based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
An economist, Mary Anderson has specialized in: rural development strategies that build on local capacities; gender analysis in development programming; the relationships between emergency relief assistance and long-term development; and educational policies as these affect access to primary education in developing countries.
Since 1995, she has launched and directed the Local Capacities for Peace Project to learn more about the relationships between humanitarian and development assistance and conflict. The Project is a collaborative effort of a number of donor governments, international and indigenous NGOs, and multilateral aid agencies. Its purpose is to learn from past experience how aid may be provided in conflict settings so that, rather than feeding into and exacerbating the conflicts, it helps local people disengage from the violence that surrounds them and begin to develop alternatives for addressing the problems that underlie their conflict.
Mary B. Anderson has written extensively on the subjects described above. In 1999, she authored a book entitled Do No Harm: How Aid Can Support Peace--Or War which sets out the lessons learned from the Local Capacities for Peace Project.