60 Seconds with…Rachel Norman

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

What’s your job here at Itad?

I am Senior Consultant, providing maternity cover. As part of this role, I am the Deputy Programme Manager for the DFID WASH Results Programme and the Lead Evaluator for the Sanitation Challenge for Ghana (SC4G) Prize under the DFID funded, IMC Worldwide led, Ideas to Impact Programme.

What does that involve?

The Deputy Programme Manager for the DFID WASH Result MVE is a varied role, ranging from Quality Assurance of different reports, to being a sounding board for the wider programme team, support to the Programme Manager, engaging with the client (DFID), minute taking, troubleshooting, and participating in various learning events. In contrast as the Lead Evaluator for the SC4G the role is more specific and defined. There are of course moments of surprise, learning and reflection, however overall, with a Methods Note already set out, it is a case of delivering the task in hand.

How did you get into the field?

Since I can remember I have had an interest in international development and for almost as long, have wanted to contribute to the water and sanitation (WASH) sector. As I have gone through my education and career, my focus has been on wanting to learn more of the facets of monitoring and evaluation, and so in 2010, I embarked on a PhD in Monitoring Global Water and Sanitation. I suppose my first breakthrough in international development was by getting on the European Commission Stagiaire Programme, where I trod the corridors of the Directorate General for Development, for any opportunity possible to get overseas and work in the field. I was finally offered an opportunity and within the year was off to Liberia where I worked for 18 months.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Having worked on my PhD and as an independent consultant for the past 6 years, I’d say one of the things I most enjoy about the job is working with a wide group of people both in a company context, and with the various independent consultants in the UK and around the rest of the world. Whilst I work the majority of time from my office base in Devon, Itad as an organisation certainly provides so many opportunities to make you feel like you’re in a building next door, which to me is unique.

What new innovations/methods have you noticed in your sector?

The DFID WASH Results Programme is a Payments by Results (PBR) programme, which is relatively new in International Development, and specifically within the WASH sector, so it is interesting and exciting to have the opportunity to experience PBR from the side of verification.

Despite harmonisation and alignment, and aspects of institutional, financial, and environmental sustainability not being knew in the sector, as we move into the Sustainable Development Goals I believe these components will become more visible and new innovations will follow, for example, simplification and standardisation of monitoring indicators and associated methodologies.

Most interesting question you have been asked recently?

In general I find all questions interesting – whether I understand why someone is asking them or not is another story so to pin point the most interesting questions I’ve been asked recently is not an easy task! So I have to say, this question in its own right is probably the most interesting question I’ve been asked recently, and I mean the true definition of interesting, not the accentuated word ‘interesting’!!!  I’m now going to reflect a little more in what could be the second most interesting question I’ve been asked.

Favourite place you have visited as part of your job?

As part of my job with Itad, to date, I’ve visited Hove and London, so I’d have to say Hove/Brighton. In terms of my wider experience I very much enjoyed Swaziland and also Karamoja in Northern Uganda.

Rachel Norman, June 2016