Senior Technical Specialist
Sophie joined SDDirect’s technical team in July 2015 to support our work on conflict, peacebuilding 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 governance and human rights 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 a little Amharic and Somali! Her drive to work towards international social justice came from these and other experiences.
Sophie has experience of designing and managing complex programmes aimed at preventing conflict, building stability and improving justice and security for marginalized groups. Roles she has held in the past include: Conflict Sensitivity Adviser and Portfolio Manager for the DFID Girls’ Education Challenge (GEC) fund, Horn of Africa portfolio; 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 which has been a theme of Sophie’s work. In these roles she frequently undertook conflict and political economy analysis, strategic design, workplanning, financial and technical monitoring and managed key relationships with programme stakeholders. She has also done a number of short-term research consultancies for LSE, PwC and World Vision.
Since joining SDDirect Sophie has acted as Interim Head of our Programme Management Unit (PMU) and is now taking on several roles within our technical team, including Portfolio Manager for the Girls’ Education Challenge fragile environments portfolio (Afghanistan, Somalia and South Sudan). Sophie loves to cook, sing gospel music, and would love to do a PhD in the future.