We are recruiting for a unique individual, someone who is able to take on leadership for Wasafiri’s agriculture and private sector development portfolio. We are looking for someone with a strong track record in either agricultural development or private sector development; someone able to act as a lead consultant to clients, and also with the entrepreneurial flair to seek out and develop new opportunities and the experience and relationship skills to manage teams of consultants on larger projects. Above all else we seek someone with a strong commitment to delivering change in Africa; an enterprising spirit; an ability to build and execute a commercial strategy and with outstanding people management skills.

For more information you can see the terms of reference here.

The deadline for applications is now 17th June.

Scott Hinkle recently joined Wasafiri as our Team Leader for the Regional Countering Violent Extremism Research Unit (RRU).  He started his work with Wasafiri with a quick trip to Washington to attend the CVE Symposium (April 6-7, 2016) and did a great summary write-up for the rest of us left at home. We thought it would be worth sharing more generally, so here it is:

On April 6-7, 2016 I attended a two-day CVE Symposium hosted by the International Peace and Security Institute (IPSI) and Creative Associates in Washington DC. There were around 200-225 CVE analysts, practitioners, and leaders in attendance. It was a very impressive, well-organised and participatory conference with multiple break-out and small group sessions. Here are some of the key themes that resonated for me:

  • Conflict prevention is key. Some of the key speakers were Special Operations Commander of SOCOM, US Senator and Cory Booker, the Secretary General for the US Department of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson and an introduction presented by UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon. All emphasised the need to increase violence prevention measures and capacities of vulnerable communities to address VE.
  • CVE is largely undefined, misunderstood and underfunded.Resources are the fundamental expression of priorities.” Conflict prevention has been advocated in the VE arena for some time, but only recently has it gained funding traction in the US. Still, compared to Counter Terrorism, CVE is a tiny drop in the bucket of the billions spent per year on the military and intelligence sectors. CVE also suffers from the growing pains of a burgeoning and newly funded field. Lastly, there was little discussion on overarching definitions of VE, or even CVE. Recognition was given to the difficulties in defining both, but that all programmes should operate around what VE/CVE mean at the micro-level.
  • Working in and on the local context was the most prominent point of the conference. Trust is the strategic and operational capital for CVE programmes.” Understanding the micro, or community-level, environments is the only way CVE is effective. Literally every speaker and discussion mentioned that the local perception of the push factors and, importantly, the “how” of the pull factors, is unique to every area and vulnerable population. Thus, CVE programmes must be community-led, targeted and intentional.
  • Well-thought-out framing of CVE programmes is key to local and international acceptance. Never use CVE to frame a programme.” “All CVE efforts should be integrated into other community-led programmes.” I completely agree with the first quote, as labelling a programme CVE increases the risk to the community and CVE practitioners. Framing a programme as CVE also has many unintended negative connotations linked to militarisation, oppression and even neo-colonialism that limit community, government, NGO and international cooperation. It is important to bring in broader development and humanitarian coalitions and a CVE label will instantly isolate the programme.
  • CVE programmes must be agile. The flexibility and adaptability of CVE programmes was consistently and boldly emphasised. In VE and fragile contexts, change is the norm. CVE programmes will always be operating with a deficit of information. Thus, programmes must have systems for local contextual analysis and organisational learning that consistently integrate new understanding and contextual changes. 
  • Difficulty of M&E in CVE. Obtaining specific metrics for local-level context and conflict prevention is essential for success and future funding of CVE. However, everyone recognised that utilising tangible and quantifiable indicators expressing “prevention” was often (but not always) difficult to achieve. Avenues to explore, and that donors seemed amenable to, were “plausible correlations” of precursors to violence and the USAID Learning Lab indicator free M&E approaches, such as outcome harvesting and most significant change.

https://usaidlearninglab.org/sites/default/files/resource/files/Complexity%20Aware%20Monitoring%202013-12-11%20FINAL.pdf 

  • Complex systems thinking is the logical approach for CVE but difficult to implement. The intent is to learn and improve activities by learning with the community. The overall question should be, “how does change take place in that community/system?” Once that is understood, then CVE programmes would be effective at integrating into, and thus influencing, the system of change. Below are some bulleted thoughts on this subject:
    • Investigate geographic-focused pull factor systems.
    • Use real-time operational research to identify gaps between project designs and outcomes and inform a learning-by-doing approach.
    • Focus on listening and learning over solutions to problems. The goal of CVE projects should not be to meet predetermined benchmarks, but to learn which elements of one’s initial understanding of the system were right and which were wrong.
    • Use systems thinking and visualisation to demonstrate the multiple and parallel entry/focal points for interventions in a targeted community.
    • Use a continually evolving portfolio of interventions.
    • Answer the questions: 1) How do we gather data to represent the complex environment?; 2) How do we programme better in a complex environment?; 3) How are we going to get quick wins using complex theory?
    • Use mixed methodologies/theories besides and with complex systems.
  • Linear or “problem then solution” Theories of Change (ToCs) are difficult to utilise in the complex and ever-changing VE environments. Thus, the following concepts enhance the effectiveness of ToCs in the CVE arena.
    • The ToC needs to be presented as an overarching framework that explains how the programme intends to work, but without detailing the specific mechanisms of change (i.e. interventions).
    • The first version of ToC should still be fairly general since we cannot yet know much about the intricacies of how change happens. It essentially is the representation of our knowledge and hypotheses we start off with.
    • There should be a ToC that is specifically centered on the flexibility, adaptability and learning of CVE programmes.
  • Use technology to capture local and national context, sentiment and narratives. What’s in people’s minds becomes actions.” The importance of social media analysis as a component to any CVE programme cannot be understated. The tech analysts expressed over and over that there are so many inexpensive and open-source (free) software programmes that are under-utilised. E.g.
    • Agolo: Summarises large amounts of text in seconds, plug in news sources and subjects and it creates daily/weekly news letters, performs social media analysis. http://www.agolo.com This is one that I have already started the process for.
    • Symantica Pro: network and link analysis, quite complicated.
    • Recorded Future: Sentiment and social media analysis.
    • Open Situation Room Exchange: hashtags that are driving in social media.
    • ICCM Project: collects multiple sources and identifies overlaps.

If you were there then please feel free to share any thoughts, comments and reflections below. These notes are just Scott’s initial reflections and we will share more of our thinking and current work over the coming weeks. As ever, feel free to get in touch if there is anything you’d like to discuss further with us

Wasafiri is recruiting!

Our work is rapidly expanding in the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) field and we are now recruiting for a unique individual who is excited by the prospect of growing our portfolio and able to assume the role of Team Leader for Wasafiri’s Regional CVE Research Unit.

First and foremost, we seek someone with the enterprising Wasafiri spirit, who is devoted to delivering change in Africa, along with a proven track record of leadership and research-related project management.

Essential skills and experience:

  • An outstanding record of delivering change in conflict, stabilisation or extremism related fields in Africa.
  • An understanding of the political, security and economic context of the Horn of Africa.
  • A background in complex project design and management.
  • Experience in applied research, with the ability to manage a team of researchers based both centrally and across the region.
  • Excellent team and people management skills.
  • Excellent communication and representation skills.

This position is based in Nairobi, Kenya and offers a competitive compensation package for the right person.

Please access the Terms of Reference, which you may download from the link below, or email us at enquiry@wasafiriconsulting.com  for a full description of the job and responsibilities.

To apply, please send your full CV, covering letter and references to Candida Crasto, Commercial and Operations Manager at candida@wasafiriconsulting.com

Please note, the closing date for applications is Monday 15 February 2016 and references will only be contacted with permission.

Wasafiri Consulting – CVE Team Leader TOR

We are excited this week to welcome Candida to the Wasafiri team. She will be based in East Africa and working as our new Operations & Commercial Manager, helping us to grow the organisation and look after the delivery of much of our work in the region. Candida is a chemical engineer by training and has applied her skills to big corporates in the USA and start-up social enterprises in Kenya and India; and somewhere in between all that has found the time to compete in Ironman triathlons. She brings to Wasafiri a spirit of adventure, well honed professional skills and a love of excel spreadsheets.

On Monday June 8th we are hosting our first Change Lab in Nairobi. This free event will be held at Zen Garden, Spring Valley from 6-8pm.

The Wasafiri Change Lab will use real world case-studies, facilitated dialogue and peer-to-peer problem solving to help you develop your organisation’s approach to building effective partnerships in conflict affected regions. The Change Lab will give you a structured approach to exploring challenges and creating solutions in new ways, with new perspectives and new people.

The session will be lively, interactive and discussion based. Please bring to the Lab a real challenge you are working on and come ready to talk, listen, explore and collaborate.

A drink & bitings will be included so please RSVP to kate@wasafiriconsulting.com  to make sure we get enough food! – We look forward to seeing you there.

We are looking for someone excited to take a lead in growing our business; someone with a strong commitment to delivering change in Africa; a proven track record of leadership; an entrepreneurial spirit; and excellent people management skills. Ideally you will be based in Nairobi. Click HERE for more information and if you want to know more then please get in touch.

Download Change Perspectives – Wasafiri Insights 2014 For  some practical tips and ingredients on how to deliver change.

In the last year Wasafiri consultants have worked across Africa delivering change in diverse settings and on diverse projects. Working with private, government and NGO clients and across the continent we have tried, succeeded, failed and learnt new lessons about how to deliver change in Africa. ‘Change Perspectives’ is our new short report that shares  some of the practical insights we have gained.

What do a hotel developer, a community arts innovator, investment manager, a diplomat, several entrepreneurs and a lot of clever, interesting people have in common? They are all part of delivering change in Africa, all interested in creating public private sector collaborations and all came to our first ever Change Lab in Rwanda.

Thank you to all who came it was a lovely evening of interesting people, from diverse backgrounds and organisations exploring, sharing and learning about how the private and public sector can collaborate to deliver change in Africa. We will be doing another change lab here in Rwanda in the new year and bringing it to Nairobi too  – so let us know what topic would you like to see the next lab focus on?

We are delighted to welcome Nada Abshir as a new Consultant in our Conflict and Stability Practice. Nada is a specialist project manager with over a decade of experience working amidst complex political and development challenges in Africa and Asia. She is an expert in the areas of tackling conflict, strengthening stability and building effective institutions, with core skills in stakeholder engagement, advocacy, operational planning, communications and programme management.

Nada holds a BA in Politics and an MA in International affairs; and is a multi-lingual, culturally-sensitive, adaptable relationship builder, who has worked with organisations such as the UN, EC, USAID and US State Department.

Nada explains: “I have had the opportunity to engage this work from different vantage points; and have covered a range of issues including advocacy, human rights, child protection and public health research. The common thread in my work has been to support organisations to identify opportunities and challenges; and exploring with them how to create positive change from these processes.”

Hamish Wilson, Wasafiri Director and Principal Consultant, comments: “Nada brings a wealth of experience to our East Africa based team. Her understanding of how to deliver real change for people affected by conflict is deepened by her being Somali and she has worked extensively across the region. Not only that, she is a real professional and a delight to work with!”

Read more about Nada Abshir and download her CV on her page in Our People.

If you are interested in working with or for Wasafiri Consulting please contact our Head of Development, Dr Kate Simpson, on kate@wasafiriconsulting.com

We welcome Marcel van Driel to Wasafiri as a new Consultant in Organisational Development for the Public Sector. Of Dutch origin and based in Lusaka, Zambia, Marcel is a specialist in the practice areas of agriculture, effective institutions and governance, with core skills in project design and management, strategic planning, monitoring, evaluation and workshop facilitation.

Marcel has worked as an advisor for Gesellschaft für international Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), seconded to the Local Government Association of Zambia (LGAZ); and the Government Service for Land and Water Management of the Netherlands Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Development and Food Quality (DLG).

He explains: “After obtaining a degree in Landscape Engineering, I worked for 7 years as project manager for land use and development. I worked on a feasibility and compliance study in Mali and was a planning advisor in Malawi. My work in Africa has made me knowledgeable about decentralisation and local governance – as well as allowing me to fulfill my passions for African nature and nature photography.”

Ian Randall, Wasafiri Executive Director and Principle Consultant, comments: “Marcel will be marvellous at helping African Governments with effective planning and the capacity to deliver real and sustainable results for their citizens.”

Read more about Marcel van Driel and download his CV on his page in Our People.

If you are interested in working with or for Wasafiri Consulting please contact our Head of Development, Dr Kate Simpson, on kate@wasafiriconsulting.com

Photo copyright Marcel van Driel.