Our Team

Social development specialists with decades of
International development sector experience

Our Team

M Spearing

Michelle Spearing

Principal Consultant - Security, Justice and Peacebuilding

Michelle joined Social Development Direct in 2020 as Principal Consultant to lead the Security, Justice and Peacebuilding portfolio, bringing over 20 years of experience working in and on fragile and conflict-affected states (FCAS). Her previous work spans operational programming, research and policy engagement to address conflict, development and humanitarian issues.  Michelle was based in East Africa for more than a decade, working regionally across Africa and the Middle East and also has experience in the Asia-Pacific region. She holds a Master’s degree in Peace Studies and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Social Research Skills with Conflict Specialism.

Michelle’s work has promoted best practice in design, monitoring and evaluation of programmes, with an emphasis on ensuring conflict sensitive, evidence-based and adaptive programmes that demonstrate results. She has particular experience supporting governance, security and justice mechanisms as well as programming to address linkages between conflict, violence and gender.  During 8 years working with CARE International, Michelle also developed expertise in broader gender-focussed programming, including women’s economic empowerment, women’s political participation and leadership and gender in emergencies. Michelle has published research under DFID’s What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls in Conflict and Humanitarian Emergencies programme and undertaken policy engagement around women, peace and security.

Before joining Social Development Direct, Michelle was a consultant with Oxford Policy Management, delivering advisory services, evaluations and policy-focussed research on conflict and humanitarian programming, gender and governance for clients including GiZ, DFAT and DFID. She was also Project Director for the UK-funded South Sudan Peacebuilding Opportunities Fund (POF). Michelle previously spent 17 years working within INGO and civil society organisations and networks, undertaking technical advisory work, research, learning and capacity building.

Outside of work, Michelle enjoys hosting friends, family and colleagues in the English countryside, taking long walks and cooking up feasts.