Our ’60 Seconds with…’ blogs are designed to provide a quick rundown of what our staff do here at Itad. Here is what Ruth had to say…
What’s your job here at Itad?
I am a consultant working mainly for the Health theme within the Human Development practice
What does that involve?
Currently most of my work is within evaluations around Global Health Security.
I am currently project managing and providing technical input into two Public Health England (PHE) evaluations related to prevention and control of communicable disease outbreaks in LMICs. The first is an evaluation of PHE’s IHR programme, which supports implementation of the International Health Regulations in six countries. The second is an evaluation of PHE’s partnership with London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to improve outbreak response through a triple mandate of rapid deployment to outbreaks, capacity building and operational research. I am also part of the evaluation team on Department of Health’s Fleming Fund programme of support for LMICs to tackle anti-microbial resistance. My technical roles include carrying out country visits, conducting desk reviews, key informant interviews, data analysis, workshop facilitation and drafting of evaluation reports.
How did you get into the field?
My path into international development has been a winding one from a degree in Astrophysics, to teaching English in South Korea, to running British Council education workshops in the UK and Middle East. In 2007 I moved to Belize, where I worked on education and health projects for NGOs, universities and the European Union. In 2012 I became a district manager for Ministry of Health, which was an incredibly dynamic role providing strategic and operational management of all district health services. Through this role I gained a great deal of technical knowledge across everything from surveillance to nutrition to maternal and child health as well as building up my management skills. I returned to the UK in late 2017 to be closer to family, and after a short time overseeing a local tuberculosis NGO’s international programmes, I moved to Itad to expand my knowledge more into the evaluation field.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy being around people working on programmes that are being implemented around the world across all sectors, not just health, as Itad has truly global reach across a number of sectors. And of course, I also enjoy being part of the process of learning what has and hasn’t worked in these programmes, as I’ve always been a firm believer in the value of evidence and learning from mistakes, and that is the only way that development programmes can improve the impact they have.
What new innovations/methods have you noticed in your sector?
This isn’t an innovation as such, but I can’t help noticing just in my first few months at Itad that Global Health Security really is a growing sector, which is understandable given the major outbreaks of ebola and other serious communicable diseases over the past few years!
Recent highlight/job wins?
I’m currently co-leading the preparation and facilitation of a Theory of Change workshop for Pepal, a UK-based NGO that work with corporate clients such as Roche and Janssen Pharmaceuticals (and also with our very own NHS!) to develop leadership skills through a collaborative process with NGOs and governments in LMICs. While it’s a short-term piece of work it has been very interesting learning about their model and combining the perspectives of the different stakeholders into one coherent Theory of Change that will allow Pepal to better communicate what they do to their various stakeholders.
Most interesting question you have been asked recently?
Not that interesting, but a regular one especially when I am conducting key informant interviews – “Where is your accent from?” – after growing up in Scotland, with English parents, and living in the English-speaking Caribbean for ten years, it’s a bit mixed up!
Favourite place you have visited as part of your job?
I’ve only been to Kenya with Itad so far, but I have a trip Bhutan scheduled for later in the year as part of the Fleming Fund evaluation which I think will definitely be unique!