Our Team

Social development specialists with decades of
International development sector experience

Our Team


Sophie Stevens

Senior Technical Specialist

Sophie joined SDDirect’s technical team in July 2015 to support our work on conflict, peace-building and women and girls’ safety and justice. She has an MSc in Development Management from the LSE and a BA in International Relations with Spanish from the University of Birmingham, focusing particularly on conflict, violence and governance in fragile environments.

With a background in applied research, programme design and management of large-scale international technical assistance programmes, Sophie has worked with a range of donors and clients including the UK DFID, Ministry of Defence (MOD), Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), EU, independent research organisations and international NGOs. She has significant experience in the Horn of Africa, in particular Ethiopia and Somalia, but has also worked in West Africa and the Middle East. She has a life-long passion for other languages and cultures which she discovered thanks to her travel-loving parents; she speaks fluent Spanish, intermediate French and Portuguese, and some limited Amharic and Somali. Her drive to work towards international social justice came from these and other experiences.

Since joining SDDirect Sophie has led several policy-oriented research studies on women’s engagement in peacebuilding and political leadership, on behalf of the UK Government in Yemen and Somalia. She has provided technical inputs into several other projects focused on women, peace and security, and is project managing a multi-year research programme on inclusive public policy in East Africa.

Before joining SDDirect, Sophie held a number of programme management and monitoring roles including Portfolio Manager for the FCAS Portfolio on the DFID Girls’ Education Challenge (GEC) overseeing a fund worth £84million in Afghanistan, Somalia and South Sudan, as well as providing cross-cutting advice on conflict sensitivity approaches; Programme Manager for the DFID Peace and Development Programme, southeastern Ethiopia; and Project Manager for the DFID/Conflict Pool Security Sector Development and Defence Transformation Programme in South Sudan. These programmes placed a particular emphasis on addressing violence against women and girls. In these and other roles she facilitated contextual, conflict and political economy analysis, project design, monitoring and evaluation processes. She is experienced in standard project management practices (workplanning, budgeting, financial and contractual management) as well as mixed methods research approaches and policy engagement.

Sophie loves to cook, sing gospel music, and may one day do a PhD.