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James Robinson

James Robinson is a Principal Consultant and the Theme Lead for Itad’s Private Sector Development, Markets and Trade work. He has over 10 years’ experience in international development with a focus on private sector and market systems development, resilience and financial inclusion. He has a particular interest in the dynamics of market systems and climate change/environmental sustainability.

Prior to working at Itad, James worked with a number of international and local NGOs, and as an independent consultant. He is an experienced senior manager having joined Itad from Christian Aid where he was the Country Director in Burundi, leading market development and community health programmes.

He has in-country experience across Africa and in South-East Asia, working on a variety of projects and programmes for different development partners. James has experience of utilising Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P) and Participatory Market Systems approaches, and developing and implementing Theories of Change and Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting, and Learning (MERL) systems. He has experience leading baseline studies and evaluations using theory-based approaches and utilising both quantitative and qualitative tools, including using digital technology for data collection and analysis and developing organisation-wide knowledge management systems.  His academic background is in environmental issues and he has a Masters in Environmental Sustainability from the University of Edinburgh.

Nationality: British
Languages: English (native), French (limited working proficiency)
Country Experience:

Afghanistan, Brazil, Burundi, Cambodia Kenya, Myanmar, Peru, South Sudan, Tanzania, Zimbabwe


2006 - 2007
MSc Environmental Sustainability
The University of Edinburgh
2002 - 2005
BSc Environmental Science
The University of Leeds


2018 - ongoing
Principal Consultant
Itad Ltd.

2016 - 2018
Senior Consultant
Itad Ltd.

2014 - 2016
Burundi Country Director (Legal Representative)
Christian Aid
Christian Aid's legal representative in Burundi, providing strategic leadership to CA's work in and on the country with overall responsibility for budget.
2011 - 2014
PROMISE Manager/ Programme Advisor
Christian Aid
Responsible for Christian Aid's International Programme Management Information System, worked across the organisation to improve knowledge and project management practices.
Technical Specialist
Salix Finance

2010 - 2011
Monitoring and Evaluation Consultant
Cambodian Rural Development Team
Led a baseline survey designing data collection tools and analysis, then established a Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Framework for ‘Sustainable Livelihoods for Mekong Biodiversity and Critical Wetland Resource Conservation in Cambodia Project’ funded by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund.
Impact Advisor
Voluntary Services Overseas, Cambodia
Led a baseline (designing local tools) and adapted an international monitoring framework for a country level programme with different partners contributing to a Markets project funded by Accenture.
2009 - 2010
Sustainable Business and Ecotourism Consultant
Cambodian Rural Development Team
Evaluated aspects of livelihood programme worked with team to develop ‘business based approach’. Fed in to successful fundraising and establishment of a new community owned tour company.
Market Chain Analysis Consultant
Oxfam GB

2008 - 2009
Micro Enterprise/ Project Management Advisor
CDA Cambodia/ Voluntary Service Overseas Cambodia
As a VSO Volunteer, James worked for CDA Cambodia as an Advisor on a REDD+ community forest project. Developed project/ programme management tools as well as working with the team on a Micro-Enterprise
Short Term Consultant
LTS International
Undertook a detailed evaluation of the role of microfinance in East Africa with a particular focus on its role in Environmental protection in collaboration with two other researchers.

Project Experience:

2018 - ongoing
Monitoring and evaluation of the Sustainable Urban Economic Development (SUED) programme
(DFID) - Project Director
Strategic input and overall leadership of the contract. Working with the Team Leader to ensure technical quality of support and deliverables. Responsible for liaison with DFID on scheduling and contractual matters.
2018 - ongoing
Gatsby Africa: Strategic Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Partnership
(Gatsby Africa) - Project Director
Providing leadership of Itad’s support to strengthen the Gatsby approach to monitoring and evaluation, particularly in relation to its objectives of achieving sector transformation.
2018 - 2019
Inclusive Economic Development Thematic Evaluation
(FCO) - Project Director

2017 - 2018
Evaluation of a climate-smart business programme
(Good Energies Foundation) - Project Director and Agribusiness Technical Lead
Itad has been commissioned by the Good Energies Foundation to evaluate a multi-year programme focused on incubating climate-smart business to overcome poverty-driven deforestation.
2017 - ongoing
Evaluation Manager for DFID Tanzania: Rural Roads and Livelihoods
(DFID) - Project Director
James provides strategic and methodological leadership to the independent evaluation unit of two large DFID funded programmes. He oversaw the undertaking, analysis and writing of the two mid-term evaluations and also providing technical inputs. He will oversee the design, planning and conducting of final evaluation activities on the ongoing IRAT programme.
BEAM Exchange
(DFID, SDC) - Researcher
Lead author for a narrative synthesis of the results achieved by programmes using a market systems approach.
2016 - ongoing
The Mastercard Foundation: Savings Portfolio Learning Partner
(MasterCard Foundation) - Project Director
Supporting MasterCard Foundation and partners through increased alignment and effectiveness of monitoring and evaluation in the Foundation’s savings sector portfolio programmes. Generation, synthesis, curation and dissemination of evidence and knowledge for a range of stakeholders.