60 seconds with…Ekaterina Shaleva

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

What’s your job here at Itad?

I joined Itad in summer 2018 and am a Research Analyst in the governance theme.

What does that involve?

I provide technical support, including most recently mapping qualitative and quantitative data against key indicators to construct an evaluation baseline and supporting a 4-day workshop on outcome harvesting and report-writing with implementing partners. I have been involved in two large-scale programmes to date, Supporting Partnerships for Accountability and Civic Engagement in Burma (SPACE) and Strengthening Citizens’ Resistance Against Prevalence of Corruption (SCRAP-C) in Nigeria.

SPACE is an adaptive programme, composed of four components, including an innovative project started in 2007 that led to one of the first examples of public participation in state-level policy-making in Burma (Myanmar). SCRAP-C takes a creative approach to fighting corruption through its emphasis on attitudinal change and collective action that goes beyond traditional approaches of legal and policy frameworks.

How did you get into the field?

I took up economics in college but quickly realised I was more interested in my economic development classes than my finance-related modules so I completed the requirements for a major in development studies, in addition to my economics degree. During the summers, I interned for development and human rights organisations in Tunisia, which had just started its arduous transition to democracy. After graduation, I moved to San Francisco to work for a women’s rights fund and support their grantmaking in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. I became really interested in the complex relationship between donors and grantees, including the process of reporting and evaluating impact. My job search eventually led me to Itad and following the end of my Master’s from LSE this past year, I was very happy to join the team.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The opportunity to learn something every day – be it through research of a different culture, travel to a new country, or speaking to a colleague about their previous work experience. It’s such a dynamic and diverse sector that it is really hard to become bored and complacent. I also really enjoy the highly technical aspect of the job, which allows me to think about problems in a systematic way and forge connections between seemingly unrelated theories and contexts for creative evaluation designs.

Most interesting question you have been asked recently?

Are you part of the Bulgarian ‘secret service’?

Favourite place you have visited as part of your job?

I took my first trip with Itad a couple of weeks ago as part of SCRAP-C. AKL and I visited both Abuja and Enugu State in the south of Nigeria, where we stayed for most of the week. I had never been to West Africa and I am already looking forward to seeing more of the region. People are incredibly welcoming, warm and full of optimism!

Ekaterina Shaleva, September 2019