Our Team

Social development specialists with decades of
International development sector experience

Our Team


Emma Bell

Senior Associate

Emma is a SDDirect Senior Associate with significant experience in gender, violence against women and girls, women’s rights, HIV and sexual and reproductive health (SRH). She holds a BSc Econ in Anthropology and an MSc in Development Studies from School of African and Asian Studies (SOAS) and SRH Research from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She brings 15 years professional experience focused on research, policy and social/gender analysis, communications and training.  

During her 14 year career Emma has worked with diverse stakeholders, including bilateral donor agencies, UN agencies, international and national NGOs, national consultants and leading academic institutions including the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), UK. Whilst at the International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS (ICW) (an international network of HIV positive women) she worked on and co-coordinated small-scale research and evaluation projects in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. These included:

  • An evaluation of a joint ICW and International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) programme that sought to link HIV positive women with members of parliament in four African countries
  • Development and use of a tool for accessing HIV positive women’s access to treatment, experience of violence, SRHR and their involvement in policies and programming, and;
  • A small-scale research project exploring the experiences of women living with HIV access to abortion services in India and Nepal for the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).  

For two years Emma managed the BRIDGE (the Gender and Development Information Unit at IDS) help-desk producing thematic reports on a range of development issues and policies for senior and country-level bilateral donor staff. For two years Emma provided social development advice for DFID’s Gender Team and their Equity and Rights Team.

In her role at SDDirect Emma has managed and provided senior research inputs into a variety of projects. They include the development of an M&E framework for gender mainstreaming into research programmes of the CGIAR Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers, an annual review of the Girl Hub and an evaluation of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance progress on the intermediate goals of their international Strategy. She was also lead writer for a 2015 landmark research report on Men and Masculinities in Nigeria for the DFID Voices for Change Nigeria programme and a literature review on access to treatment for Women living with HIV. She is currently a senior researcher with the DFID VAWG helpdesk.