60 Seconds with…Mollie Liesner

Our ‘60 Seconds with…’ blogs are designed to provide a quick run down of what our staff do here at Itad. Here is what Mollie had to say…

What’s your job here at Itad?

I am a consultant in the Private Sector Development theme. I also do some work in the Impact Investing theme and work on women’s economic empowerment for the Gender theme.

What does that involve?

My job involves a massive variation of things! The bulk of my work is providing monitoring, research and learning support to DFID programmes. For example, I support the M&E sections of the BEAM Exchange and am currently co-writing a BEAM paper on measuring attribution, which has involved loads of interviews with experts on the subject. It has been great fun and very interesting.

How did you get into the field?

I got into the development field through the community work my family did when I was a kid. We lived in Malawi and my uncle ran a community centre in a rural village that offered clean water, mosquito nets, and childcare.

My first ‘real job’ was doing research on sanitation in the informal settlements in Cape Town. This meant spending all day taking surveys of the levels of human waste overflowing into people’s homes. I ruined many pairs of shoes! This job got me excited about the power of numbers and good evidence, which is why I got into M&E.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy the fact that economic development is really one big puzzle! Thinking about big problems, like how to help women enter into the retail sector in Kenya, or what jobs could be available to young women who cannot leave their house in Nigeria, is always challenging and keeps the brain churning!

I also enjoy how versatile my work is. One day I could be reading piles of articles on how to measure unpaid work and on another listening to a talk on how technology changes work for women in developing countries.

What innovations have you noticed in your sector?

There is a real move towards more participative monitoring and reporting, which I think is very important in terms of giving beneficiaries a voice and a platform to tell their own stories.

Most interesting question you have been asked recently?

“Why aren’t development programmes accountable to the beneficiaries they are meant to serve?” It got me thinking what indicators beneficiaries would want us to report to them on and how different this would be to the things donors want to know.

Favourite place you have visited as part of your job?

I have not travelled with Itad yet, but I lived in Mombasa for work last year and I loved it there. Mainly because the food is so delicious and spicy!

Mollie Liesner, February 2017