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Tom Gillhespy

Tom Gillhespy joined Itad as a principal consultant in the FCAS theme in Spring 2017. He has 14 years of experience working in fragile states, and has experience in adapting M&E systems to local contexts in conflict environments.

Tom’s career in fragile and conflict-affected states began in 2002 in Sri Lanka, where he worked within the rebel-controlled north-east for four years. Working for Norwegian People’s Aid he developed socio-economic assessments for the mine action sector, training local teams of surveyors to generate prioritised action plans – work which also took him to South Sudan, Jordan, Ethiopia and Mozambique.

Prior to joining Itad, Tom was Head of International Programmes at Peace Direct for eight years, where he managed a wide portfolio of projects including countering violent extremism in Taliban strongholds of Pakistan, providing alternative livelihoods for former Al-Shabaab in Somalia, early warning and early response in Burundi and security sector reform in southern Africa. Tom has also specialised in local approaches to the reintegration of ex-combatants, working with local partners in DR Congo to develop community-based reintegration programmes which are recognised internationally as best practice. He has extensive experience of finding, supporting and working with local partners in areas inaccessible to the international community and a good understanding of how institutional donors can maximise impact on the ground.

Nationality: British
Languages: English
Country Experience:

Bosnia, Burundi, Cambodia, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Israel, Jordan, Mozambique, Nepal, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Zimbabwe.


MA Anthropology of Conflict, Violence and Conciliation
University of Sussex
BSc Environmental Science
University of Leeds


2017 - Ongoing
Principle Consultant

2009 - 2017
Head of International Programmes
Peace Direct, UK

2007 - 2008
Field Co-Ordinator
UNHCR, Sri Lanka

Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining, Cambodia

2006 - 2007
International Task Impact Assessment Advisor
Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), Worldwide

2003 - 2006
Task Impact Assessment Advisor
Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), Sri Lanka

Project Experience:

2017 - 2020
Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund – Support to Strategy Implementation Plan
(Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF), UK and Switzerland) - Investment and Management Package Lead
Description: GCERF is the first global effort to support local, community-level initiatives aimed at strengthening resilience against violent extremist agendas. As a public-private partnership operating at the nexus of security and development, GCERF works in partnership and consultation with governments, civil society, and the private sector in beneficiary countries to support national strategies to address the local drivers of violent extremism. In order to execute the overarching vision of their 2017 Strategy, GCERF has engaged Itad to contribute expertise and steward the development of a strategy implementation plan, and to present clear tangible objectives and activities for the next three years.

Activities: Tom is project director and supporting development of the Investment Portfolio Plan, Corporate Management Plan and MEAL framework.

2017 - 2018
Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL)
(UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)/ UK Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF)) - Project Director
Description: Itad has been contracted by the FCO to lead a consortium to deliver Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) services for the CSSF in the Middle East and North Africa. The CSSF is a multi-year funding mechanism which supports the UK Government’s work in addressing conflict and fragility globally.

Activities: Tom has oversight for developing monitoring, evaluation and learning strategies that will enable CSSF MENA programme teams to better measure and demonstrate the results, benefits, impact and value for money (VfM) of UK investments in the region.

Monitoring and Evaluation of the Global Mine Action Programme
(Department of International Development, UK) - Project Director
Description: Itad has been contracted by DFID to provide Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) services to the GMAP 2014-17. The purpose of GMAP is to reduce the humanitarian and development impact of landmines and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW).

Activities: Tom is responsible for oversight and management of i) monitoring all contracts under GMAP and providing feedback and advice to DFID on an ongoing basis; and ii) conducting a formative and summative evaluation of progress, outcomes and achievements of the programme.

2009 - 2017
Programmes Expansion
(Peace Direct, UK) - Head of International Programmes
Peace Direct is dedicated to improving working relationships between local, national and international actors.

Activities: Managing its programmes expansion to 9 countries, being a key driver of its strategy. Securing and managing grants to deliver conflict prevention and peacebuilding; programmes range from £1,000 to £2 million.
Managing the delivery of projects associated with violent extremism, such as, community led reintegration of ex-combatants in the DRC, women led initiatives to counter extremism in Pakistan, and providing alternative livelihoods for at risk youth in Somalia.
As a member of senior management team, leading on the strategic development of the organisation. Identifying opportunities – country expansion, partner investment, research to improve our positioning/reputation.
Managing all aspects of programmes with a strong focus on M&E.
Managing Peace Direct’s Local First programme to research best practice from peacebuilding and governance. and use that to influence donor and government policy to improve locally driven programming.
Acting as point of contact for all high-level liaison with donors and government officials with regular travel in-country: Pakistan, Sudan, Somalia, DR Congo, Zimbabwe, Burundi, Israel/Palestine, Sri Lanka, Philippines.
Developing specific country strategies to improve the working relationships between local, national and international actors, informed by political economy analysis. Ensuring learning between departments and partners and represent Peace Direct internationally.

2007 - 2008
Quick Impact Projects – Vavuniya/Trincomalee
(UNHCR, Sri Lanka) - Field Co-Ordinator
Activities: Managing the total project life cycle for conflict sensitive community driven projects.
Designing M&E frameworks and evaluating over 70 projects, ranging from fishing to reconciliation.
Carrying out extensive liaison with government bodies, the army, community leaders and armed non-state actors to constantly monitor and analyse the complex political, ethnic and conflict situation.
Liaised with governments and other agencies to co-ordinate projects across multiple sectors: psychosocial support, environment, education, livelihoods, awareness, WATSAN and construction.
Responsible for shaping projects in line with the UNHCR Confidence Building and Stabilisation Measures.
Monitor and evaluate over fifty five projects valued at almost $1 million.
Providing leadership and direction for a team of staff in three field offices with responsibility for the ongoing evaluation of projects and ensuring security within the conflict.

Community Liaison Best Practices
(Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining, Cambodia) - Consultant
Activities: Responsible for evidence based research and documentation of Community Liaison best practices. Authored A Study of Community Liaison in Mine Action: The Case of Cambodia, 2007, published by GICHD.
2006 - 2007
International Task Impact Assessment
(Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), Worldwide) - International Task Impact Assessment Advisor
Activities: Informing and evaluating regional government planning and delivery of mine clearance in Mozambique, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Jordan and Bosnia.
Working with government planning departments, military, UN agencies and non-state armed actors to ensure all mine action was conflict sensitive with priorities based on socio-economic impact of local people;
Training and managing over twenty five teams of ex-combatants in all five countries to conduct nationwide socio-economic assessments of conflict affected communities, including an international team of trainer;
Integrating impact assessment systems into all NPA programmes and evaluating multi-million dollar programmes as a member of the Head Office Monitoring and Evaluation team;
Advocating a more community based and conflict sensitive focus for mine action globally, influencing policies of other INGOs and donors through the dissemination of evidence based research.

2003 - 2006
Task Impact Assessment
(Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), Sri Lanka) - Task Impact Assessment Advisor
Activities: Designing and introducing a socio-economic survey for assessing, planning and evaluating mine clearance activities;
Setting up a unit and training local staff who were female ex-combatants;
Influencing senior management, LTTE (“Tamil Tigers”) commanders, UN agencies and the Sri Lankan government to adhere to this best practice;
Collaborated closely with the UN, army, LTTE and conflict affected communities to produce national action plans, comprehensive country strategies and evaluation tools to be used nationwide;
Successfully developing all communications material for TIA, including participatory tools, standard operating procedures, training manuals and advocacy papers for the international community;
Assisting with the significant organisational change as NPA Sri Lanka transitioned from INGO to INGO Consortium, following Tsunami;
Participating in post-Tsunami recovery co-ordination and evaluation.