Fiona Samuels

Overseas Development Institute


2001 PhD Social Anthropology, University of Sussex

1989 MSc Agricultural Economics, Oxford University

1988 BA Social Anthropology, London School of Economics, London University

LANGUAGES English - Mother tongue

Spanish, Italian (mother Italian), French - Very good

German - reading and speaking knowledge

COUNTRY EXPERIENCE: India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Zambia, Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Madagascar, Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Niger, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Haiti. Technical oversight for projects in Jordan, Palestine, DRC, Sudan, Malawi, Uganda, Ethiopia, Central African Republic, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Yemen.


·  A social anthropologist with over 20 years’ experience crossing the fields of social development and public health

·  Themes of particular concern and expertise include: mental health and psychosocial wellbeing; the role of different social protection strategies (e.g. cash transfers, vouchers, etc.) for addressing different kinds of vulnerability including gender and health; gender based violence; the role of gender and social norms in shaping adolescent girls’ lives; health and HIV vulnerabilities and coping in fragile/emergency contexts; migration, livelihoods, coping and resilience also in relation to health and other shocks; access to health services for vulnerable groups; the role of community structures, social networks and social capital for addressing the needs of vulnerable groups, including women, adolescents, children and older people; empowerment, stigma and discrimination (often HIV-related) amongst particular groups; the effects of school-based sexuality education on young people, particularly girls; the role and impacts of life skills education in the context of HIV and AIDS

·  Has experience of long, medium and short-term assignments for a range of organisations including NGOs, private firms and international organisations, e.g. World Bank, DFID, UNICEF and UNCDF. Assignments involved collaborating with different in-country government ministries. Assignments included: carrying out programme and project evaluations and assessments; developing monitoring and evaluation systems; designing and training in monitoring, evaluation and impact analyses; designing and implementing health and socio-economic surveys; developing, and training in, participatory approaches including participatory planning, monitoring and evaluation.

·  Currently manages various multi-country research projects, with multiple partners in Asia and Africa, using quantitative, qualitative and participatory methodologies. In these projects involved in: developing the research design and data collection instruments and tools; training research teams; collecting and analysing data using quantitative and qualitative software analyses packages; writing papers and policy briefs; and carrying out dissemination and policy influencing events with range of stakeholders.


2006 - Senior Research Fellow, Social Development Programme, Overseas Development Institute.

Programme Specialist - Section of Education and HIV & AIDS, Division of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development, Education Sector, UNESCO, Paris (May to October 2011).

2009 Visiting International AIDS Fellow at the University of Amsterdam (ASSR), IS Academy Project, Ministry of Foreign Affairs – May to July 2009

2002 -2005 Senior Programme Officer/Head of Research - Operations research for the International HIV/AIDS Alliance (IHAA)

2000-2001 Freelance Consultant.

1999 Consultant, United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF); involved in Sussex academic link programme.

1996-1998 Designing and teaching two courses at Sussex University, UK:

a) “Aid and Projects” and b) “Observation & Explanation”

1995 Consultant, Information Training & Agricultural Development (ITAD)

1993 - 1995 Freelance Consultant; Senior Research Officer, Natural Resources Institute (NRI), UK

1991 - 1993 Employed by Hunting Technical Services, based in Zambia.

1989 - 1991 Research Assistant, Oxford University


January 2006 - UK. A/Programme Lead/Research Fellow, Overseas Development Institute. Duties include developing ODIs research and evaluation portfolio on Health and HIV and AIDS and its links with poverty, livelihoods, food security and migration.

April 2002- Dec 2005 UK. Employed by the International HIV/AIDS Alliance as Head of Operations Research. Duties include overall management and development of Alliance-wide research portfolio; development of country & thematic specific research protocols; fundraising for research projects; collaborating with in-country research partners in research design & analysis, writing reports and papers for presentation and publication; and providing reporting, monitoring and evaluation technical support to Alliance country offices and other partners.

Oct 2001- Feb 2002 Kenya/Somalia. Employed by UNICEF Somalia to restructure their Situation Analysis of Women & Children in Somalia using a human rights based approach.

Oct- Dec 2001 UK. Employed by ITAD as member of a team to undertake poverty assessments of proposals submitted to the DFID Engineering Knowledge and Research Programme (KaR)

May 2001 UK. Employed by ITAD to undertake an analysis & assessment of the treatment of, & approaches to, pro-poor issues in World Bank projects.

November 2000 USA. Member of team carrying out an in-depth analysis of the quality of the poverty focus of the World Bank’s rural portfolio. The objective of the study was to contribute towards improving the performance of the Bank’s rural portfolio by improving project & program design & thereby the Bank’s contribution towards meeting national & international poverty reduction goals

April - Sept 2000 UK - Benin, Cameroon, Tanzania. Member of team undertaking an evaluation of The World Bank’s Village Level Participatory Approach (VLPA). Duties include: providing advice on social development at village level, especially with respect to identifying and measuring social capital; ensuring the methodology design reflects contemporary understanding of social development and appropriate survey techniques including participatory approaches; training enumerators; undertaking progress monitoring visits; analysing data.

Jan 1999-April 1999 USA. Employed by the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) as M&E consultant. Duties included reviewing logical frameworks and M&E sections in Project Proposal Documents, providing guidelines on the required content of UNCDF documents in terms of M&E sections and Logframes, designing base-line evaluation surveys and Evaluation Standards for project evaluations.

March and July1997 Pakistan. Employed by the National Health Service Overseas Enterprises to work with the Karachi Reproductive Health Project. Duties included facilitating a workshop on self-evaluation of staff members, co-facilitating a second workshop to participatively design a M&E study in four communities and designing and testing an impact questionnaire.

Feb and Sept 1997 Bolivia. Employed by the World Bank to design an M&E system for the Agricultural Research and Extension Project. Two weeks in Bolivia attending an inter-sectoral workshop on project indicators organised by the World Bank, reviewing project documentation and holding discussions with the project preparation team within the Ministry of Agriculture.

November 1996 Cyprus: Employed by the World University Service (UK) to participatively design an M&E system for the project “Strengthening the Capacity of Arab NGOs” a 3-year programme, implemented by the Arab Resource Collective.

March 1996 Cameroon: Evaluation of World Food Programme funded support to Tropical Forestry Action Plan.

August 1995 Ecuador: Employed by the World Bank to design an M&E system for the Agricultural Research Project. Two weeks were spent in Ecuador holding interviews with government officials, NGOs & reviewing relevant documents.

May - Aug 1995 USA & UK: Member of ITAD team to review investment projects approved by the World Bank during FY 1994-1995, to assess the arrangements for monitoring and evaluation. Review included 2 weeks reporting back period in Washington D.C.

March 1995 Bolivia: Social Development Adviser employed by ODA on a mission to formulate a national Foot & Mouth Disease (FMD) programme.

Feb - Oct 1994 UK - Peru, Colombia, Brazil, Chile: Senior Research Officer at the Natural Resources Institute (NRI). Working on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and undertaking case studies of IPM on a variety of crops in the above countries. Colombia: Designing and setting up the socioeconomic component of International Institute for Biological Control (IIBC) managed IPM project on the coffee berry borer in Cenicafe.

Oct 1993 - Feb 1994 Zambia: Consultant to ODA/Interim Local Government Project. Assessment of participatory planning techniques in Central Province, Zambia, and their future development and coordination for project design. This involved: evaluating the participatory planning initiative in Central Province; preparing an informal survey; compiling a nationwide database of institutions involved in community based or bottomup planning approaches.

Aug - Oct 1993 Zambia: Joint coordinator for FAO funded research project in two locations in Central Province, Zambia, on the effect of HlV/AIDS on agricultural production systems. Team-leader for inter-disciplinary team consisting of health workers, agronomists, soil scientists and economists.

May - Aug 1993 Zambia: Consultant to UNICEF, Zambia. Capacity building and participatory planning in Luapula Province with the aim being to strengthen and promote local (farmer) groups. This involved: designing a bottomup planning process; training government officials at provincial, district & village levels; and developing Participatory & Decentralized planning training manuals.

19911993 Zambia: Employed by HTS on ODA financed Institutional Development Programme in Zambia. 18 months fieldwork. Designing and implementing a Participatory Planning system for village level government workers. This involved: training in Participatory and Rapid Rural Appraisal Techniques; carrying out socioeconomic surveys; designing and implementing projects with emphasis on women and marginal farmers. Collaborated with the Central Province Adaptive Research Planning Team (ARPT), comprised of agronomists, soil scientists, economists, nutritionists and sociologists.

1991 Mexico & UK: Research Assistant at the Refugee Studies Programme, Oxford University (parttime since 1989). Feasibility study consisting of 2 months fieldwork in Mexico investigating the impact of resettlement schemes on indigenous people.

1990 UK, France & Ghana: Research Associate QEH Oxford University/CIRADIRAT, Montpellier Joint Project. 7 months fieldwork in Ghana on the socioeconomic effects of a rice culture.


Monitoring of UNICEF and UNHCR cash transfer programmes for Syrian refugee families in the host communities in Jordan – Overall Study lead/ Research Director, UNICEF and UNHCR funded (2016 - )

Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE) programme – Qualitative research lead for Nepal country study, DFID funded 8 year longitudinal research programme (2016 -)

Mental health and psychosocial wellbeing of children and young people in Vietnam – Research Lead, UNICEF funded study (2016 -)

LIGADA / MUVA, Female economic empowerment programme in Mozambique –Research lead for qualitative 4 year cohort study, DFID funded 5 year programme (2015 -

Multi-country study on VAWG with a focus on IVP and male perpetrators in South Asia (Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan) – Research Director, DFID funded study (2015 - 2017)

Maternal and neonatal child health in marginalised communities in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Nepal – analysis of findings of a CARE implemented and GSK funded initiative (2015).

Gender Based Violence – Baseline quantitative and qualitative study in Zambia – Research lead, funded by World Vision (2014 - 2015)

Mental health and psychosocial support provision for adolescent girls in fragile and post-conflict settings of Liberia, Gaza and Sri Lanka – Research lead 2 year study funded by the ReBuild consortium (DFID funded) (2013 - 2015).

National Attitude Study on Adolescent Girls’ Lives in Rwanda: Research lead for Nike/DFID funded study for Girl Hub Rwanda, using the Sensemaker approach stories from 5000 girls across the country will be collected; a questionnaire will also be administered to a sub-sample (2013 - 2014).

Community perceptions of cash transfer programmes: Research manager for DFID-funded 5 country study (Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique, Yemen and oPt -Gaza and West Bank) exploring beneficiary perceptions of CT programmes using qualitative, ethnographic and participatory approaches (2012 - 2014)

Development Progress Stories: Gates funded multi-sectoral, multi-country study exploring progress in various dimensions. Health dimension lead and supporting country case studies on: maternal health (Bangladesh, Rwanda, Nepal, Mozambique), child health (Eritrea), and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)(Sierra Leone, Cambodia) (2010 - 2014).

DFID Flagship 5 year programme on Adolescent girls and discriminatory social institutions – 4 country study (Ethiopia, Uganda, Nepal, Vietnam) – Nepal country lead (2012 - )

Global Monitoring Report (GMR)/UNESCO: Education, Life skills and HIV. Writing a policy focus section for the 2012 GMR (Goal 3 of Education for All (EfA)).

UNESCO: Programme Specialist - Section of Education and HIV & AIDS. Exploring the effects of school-based sexuality education on young people, particularly girls; the importance of advocacy and community engagement in sexuality education and on the cost and cost-effectiveness of sexuality education (2011).

UNICEF: Social Protection Diagnostic and Forward Agenda for UNICEF Nigeria, with a particular focus on women and children. Lead on the HIV and AIDS case study - HIV-sensitive social protection: the case of Nigeria (2010/2011)

UNICEF: Study on the impact of the food, financial and fuel crisis on women and children in Nigeria. Lead on qualitative component (2010/2011).

Interact Worldwide/DFID funded: Social Protection for Safe motherhood programme – carrying out an impact evaluation and designing a cash transfer project to support positive maternal health outcomes in Ethiopia, Malawi and Uganda (2010 - 2011).

CARE UK/Big Lottery Fund funded operations on HIV and mobility – leading and providing overall supervision of the research component of an operations research programme working at source, transit and destination communities of mobile people crossing borders between Nepal and India and Bangladesh and India (2009 -2014)

UNICEF: Social Protection and children in West Africa – development of a framework for a National Social Protection Strategy for Niger. Fieldwork in Niger (2009).

World Vision and Tearfund: Role of FBO responses to HIV-related needs and vulnerability in fragile situations – Providing Technical oversight to desk review and 3 country case studies (DRC, South Sudan, Northern Kenya)(2009-2010).

UNAIDS: Background paper for UNAIDS 2009 Programme Coordinating Board (PCB) meeting: ‘People on the Move: Forced Displacement and migrant Populations (2009).

UNAIDS funded study in collaboration with IOM: HIV Vulnerabilities amongst Undocumented Migrants in Humanitarian Emergencies (2009-2010).

UNAIDS and UNICEF funded study in collaboration with Help Age International: Older Carers and Children: The impact of emergencies on skipped-generation households (2009).

UNESCO; Review of the Education sector’s response to HIV and AIDS (2008 and 2009). The review identified key areas and themes in which considerable research had been carried, it also identified areas where there were gaps.

Reviewing the results of Poverty and Social Impact Analysis (PSIA) on in-country planning and policy processes (2008) – Health service delivery for the poor in Madagascar.