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Jessica Rust-Smith

Jessica Rust-Smith joined Itad as a Consultant in the Private Sector Development theme in 2014. She has in-country experience as a Knowledge & Results Management Team Member at Kenya Markets Trust (KMT) in Nairobi, Kenya, where she became familiar with the ‘Making Markets Work for the Poor’  (M4P) Approach and the DCED Standard for results measurement.

As a consultant for the NGO Engineers Without Borders Canada, she has promoted organizational change and the strengthening of organizational learning culture. She is certified by the Springfield Centre in the M4P Approach. She has experience working in East and Southern Africa, and has previously conducted work for ActionAid International, and Oxfam Canada, among other NGOs, in the topics of agriculture, agri-business, value chain development, and food security.

She holds a Masters of Science in Development Management from the London School of Economics. She has a media background, with experience communicating international development messages to diverse audiences.

Find out more about Jessie in her 60 Second Interview.

Nationality: British Canadian
Languages: English, French (Intermediate), Mandarin (Basic)
Country Experience:

Canada, China, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Nepal, Tanzania

Qualifications:

2011 - 2012
MSc in International Development Management
London School of Economics
2004 - 2008
Bachelor of Arts (Honours)
Queens University, Canada

Employment:

2014 - Ongoing
Consultant
Itad

2014
Freelance Consultant
Various

2013
Market Development Strategist & Knowledge and Results Manager
Engineers Without Borders Canada & Kenya Markets Trust

2011
Communications Associate
Ecology Ottawa

2008 - 2010
Documentary Researcher
White Pine Pictures

Training:

2013
'Making Markets Work for the Poor' (M4P) Training Program

Project Experience:

2014 - 2018
Evaluation Manager for DFID Tanzania: Rural Roads and Livelihoods
(DFID) - Evaluation Researcher
Description: Itad is evaluating two DFID programmes: the Improving Rural Access Programme (IRAT); and the Livelihood Enhancement through Agricultural Development (LEAD) programme. These investments total £33m to be spent over five years in strengthening agricultural markets and their supporting functions. The purpose of the evaluation is to provide an assessment of the relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, sustainability and impact of each programme. As part of the work, Itad is providing M&E advice and quality assurance to the implementing partners.

Activities: Responsible for assisting the Team Leader and Evaluation Director in developing the evaluation approach and methodology; and, designing and implementing ongoing evaluation work and the mid-term and final evaluations.

2014 - 2017
BEAM Exchange
(DFID, SDC) - Evaluation Researcher
Description: The BEAM Exchange is a multi-donor funded facility responding to the demonstrated need for a central global resource to help shape the process of market systems policy development, codify good practice, demonstrate the benefits of the approach, and increase its applicability to a wider range of sectors and development players. It is a knowledge management facility which will collate and synthesise data and case studies, provide opportunities for exchange and debate, produce guidance on good practice, coordinate research, and strengthen monitoring and evaluation practices. It is currently funded by the UK Department for International Development and the Swiss Development Corporation (SDC).

Activities: Itad is leading the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) spoke for BEAM, which aims to build the credibility of the market systems approach by strengthening the evidence base of its impact, and to support practitioners to improve implementation by generating and responding better to information on the effects of their interventions.

2013 - 2017
Evaluation of FoodTrade East & Southern Africa
(DFID) - Evaluation Researcher
Description: FoodTrade E&SA aims to improve the functioning of staple food markets, increase participation in staple food markets, increase regional trade, and raise income levels and security for food producers and consumers. FoodTrade is deploying targeted interventions across a range of areas including: storage, inputs and service markets; market information; and, policy and regulation.

Activities: Longitudinal evaluation of FoodTrade ESA to assess its efficiency, effectiveness and impact. Employing a diverse set of evaluation methodologies, including quantitative impact evaluation (baseline and endline), qualitative case studies (baseline and endline), value for money assessment, organisational evaluation of the Programme Management Unit, and risk and sustainability analysis.

2014 - 2019
Evaluation Management Unit for West Africa Food Markets Pilot Programme
(DFID) - Evaluation Researcher
Description: The West Africa Food Markets (WAFM) programme aims to improve the functioning of staple food markets, increase participation in staple food markets, increase regional trade, and raise income levels and security for food producers and consumers. WAFM will deploy targeted interventions across a range of areas including: storage, inputs and service markets; market information; transport and logistics; and, policy and regulation.

Activities: Longitudinal evaluation of WAFM to assess its efficiency, effectiveness and impact. Employing a diverse set of evaluation methodologies, including qualitative case studies (baseline and endline), value for money assessment, organisational evaluation of the Programme Management Unit, and risk and sustainability analysis.

2014 - 2016
Monitoring and Evaluation Services in the Area of Disadvantaged Youth and Digital Employment
(Rockefeller) - Team Member
Description: Rockefeller Foundation's Digital Jobs Africa (DJA) Initiative is working across six countries to catalyse sustainable ICT jobs for African youth. Itad is leading a consortium providing Monitoring and Evaluation for the Initiative between 2014 and 2019.

Activities: Part of two-person team conducting desk-based research and analysis to construct baseline for DJA in six countries.

2015
Mid-term Evaluation for Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Trade and Development
(World Bank) - Evaluation Researcher
Assessed evaluation progress against the OECD-DAC criteria for development effectiveness: relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability.

Activities: A range of data collection methods were applied, including key informant interviews, online surveys, and documentation and data review. Conducted a full portfolio review (level 1); deeper analysis of a sample of grants (level 2); and case studies (level 3), triangulating data sources and analysis to reach sound conclusions and recommendations.

2014
Monitoring & Evaluation of the Nepal Rural Access Programme
(DFID) - Researcher
Description: DFID's Rural Access Programme (RAP) aims to address the lack of physical access and social exclusion that many poor people face through the development of an approach to rural road construction and maintenance that targets the poorest and most disadvantaged groups. Itad is managing the independent Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning Unit (MEL Unit) of the third phase of RAP.

Activities: Jessica conducted a desk-based literature review for a thematic study to be conducted by the MEL Unit. The product of this review was a synthesis of findings from the literature, and methodologies used by other researchers in analysing migration in western Nepal.

2014
Malawi, Independent Impact Evaluation Agent (IIEA) for Tilitonse
(DFID ) - Team Member
Description: Tilitonse is a multi-donor pooled grant making facility that will enable civil society promote a culture of efficiency, accountability, capable and responsive governance. Itad has been appointed as the Independent Impact Evaluation Agent (IIEA) to measure the impact of Tilitonse.

Activities: Responsible for conducting an in-depth qualitative thematic analysis and write up of a baseline longitudinal case study. Case studies will be used for the purpose of conducting contribution analysis.

2013
M&E for Kenya Markets Assistance Programme (KMAP)
(DFID) - M&E Team Member

Description: KMAP aims to reduce poverty in Kenya by enabling poor people to benefit from better functioning markets, and by building greater awareness among influential decision makers of how markets can work better for the poor.

Activities: Jessica was an integrated part of team measuring results of the M4P programme KMAP, at the NGO Kenya Markets Trust, run by Adam Smith International. She coordinated the baseline research study (consisting of a quantitative survey, qualitative focus group discussions, and capacity assessments of market actors) for the KMAP Media intervention. She constructed results chains and monitoring plans for KMAP's intervention in the seed sector, in accordance with the DCED Standard. She also facilitated a Learning from Failure initiative, and coordinated a Voices from the Field report to promote organizational change and the strengthening of KMT's learning culture.

2013
Uganda Livelihoods and Enterprises for Agricultural Development (LEAD)
(Engineers Without Borders and USAID) - Market Development Researcher
Description: The objective of the LEAD program was to expand sustainable economic opportunities for improved livelihoods, thus increasing the transformation of the rural agricultural economy. This program used a market facilitation approach in interventions in maize and coffee value chains across Uganda.

Activities: Jessica travelled across the country to conduct in-depth interviews with market actors and market facilitators, synthesizing the findings into a report and presentation she gave to the programme's implementers. Jessica produced a close-of project case study examining the extent to which 'crowding in' was happening in this market facilitation intervention. These findings informed some of the implementer's closing-out activities. An edited version of this report was disseminated through online learning networks including the Market Facilitation Initiative (MaFI) on LinkedIn.

2012
ActionAid Report: Private Investment Trends in Agricultural Development
(ActionAid International) - Consultant Team Member
Description: This report, entitled, "Private Investment Trends in Agricultural Development: The impact of large-scale land investments and contract farming on women smallholder farmers", was requested for use by ActionAid in representing the interests of impoverished women farmers at the FAO's Committee on World Food Security.

Activities: Jessica was part of a five-member consulting team, responsible for delivering a report analyzing the effects of private investments in land and agriculture on women smallholder farmers in developing countries. Tasks for producing this report included an extensive literature review, interviews with an international pool of experts, synthesizing data, compiling case studies, report writing and editing, and presentation of the findings to the client.

2012
Research: Smallholders' Adoption of Conservation Agriculture
(LSE MSc Dissertation, Malawi) - MSc Researcher
Description: Jessica conducted primary research in Malawi on conservation agriculture adoption among smallholder farmers, at the invitation of the agronomic NGO TotalLand Care (TLC). Her findings were presented to TLC for use in their programming decisions. A peer-reviewed version of this paper is to be published in Summer 2014 by the Centre for Agriculture Bioscience International (CABI).

Activities: Jessica designed a semi-structured questionnaire and conducted interviews with 24 smallholder farmers in 3 different agro-ecological zones around the country. She analysed responses to draw several statistically significant conclusions about the risk factors affecting these farmers' adoption decisions.

Publications:

  • Risk as a Determinant of Adoption of Conservation Agriculture by Smallholder Farmers in Malawi, in Conservation Agriculture in Subsistence Farming: Case Studies from South Asia and Beyond (2015)
    Centre for Agriculture Bioscience International
    Rust-Smith, J, C. Chan-Halbrendt and J. Fantle-Lepczyk Eds