Valsa Shah

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Valsa Shah

Valsa Shah is a development professional specialising in evaluations, monitoring, learning, programme design, Value for Money (VFM), and appraisals.

Valsa’s rigorous foundation in economics and public policy provides her with a unique strength in synthesising quantitative and qualitative data for strategic decision making. She is one the world’s thought leaders in VFM analysis and has extensive experience in cost benefit analysis, cost effectiveness analysis, social return on investments.

Valsa has undertaken several VFM assessments, designed tools, and written guidance notes within the education, environment, climate change, humanitarian, infrastructure, and health sectors. She benefits from a wealth of experience in conducting evaluations, having worked with Theories of Change, Randomised Control Trial data, mixed methods, surveys, focus groups, and other qualitative methods. She has also conducted several annual reviews, mid-term reviews and project completion reports for aid programmes and independent evaluations spanning various sectors. Recently, Valsa was the M&E team leader for the climate resilient and infrastructure facility, based in South Africa. In this full time role she designed the monitoring & evaluation and VFM strategies and suite of tools.

In addition to her technical expertise, Valsa has strong experience team management and leadership, training and mentoring, and strategic decision making. She has excellent written and verbal communication skills. She has been a key associate with Itad since March 2013.

Nationality: British
Languages: English (mother tongue), Gujarati (mother tongue), French.
Country Experience:

Afghanistan, Armenia, Bangladesh, Central Asia and South Caucasus, Ethiopia, EU wide, Gambia, Gaza, Georgia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Kyrgystan, Moldova, Nigeria, Nepal, Pakistan, Palestine, South and Southern Africa, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Uganda, UK,Zambia


MSc Economics
University College London, UK
BSc Business Economics
University of Wales, Cardiff, UK


2010 - Ongoing
Independent Consultant Economist
VSC-Economics Ltd.

2008 - 2010
Economic Advisor

2003 - 2008
Economic Advisor
Various positions including: Economic Adviser with DFID’s Financial Sector Team, Economic Adviser for the West Africa region and Country Economic Adviser for Central Asia and South Caucasus.
2000 - 2003
Economic Advisor
Office of Telecommunications
Conducted research with a strong focus on modelling, micro economic analysis and quantitative techniques in the fields of industrial economics.
1999 - 2000
Economics and Statistics directorate, Department for Trade and Industry
Economics and statistics, looking at economic growth drivers for the UK.
1995 - 1998
Office of Fair Trading
In depth investigations into market power abuse, market definition, anti-competitive practices, advising senior management on decisions on mergers and acquisitions.

Project Experience:

2016 - 2018
Evaluation of DFID Disaster Emergency Preparedness Programme
(DFID) - Consultant
Providing key strategic inputs and quality assurance into the case study, country level and fund level qualitative evaluation on the effectiveness of the DEPP programme, and oversee M&E fieldworkers.
2015 - 2016
VFM Assessment Training
(International Labour Organisation) - Trainer
Training in house staff on VFM assessment methodologies and designing tools
2015 - 2016
Low Carbon Sector Evaluation Lead for International Climate Finance evaluation
(International Climate Finance ) - Evaluation Lead
Responsible for designing the realist evaluation methodology for the inception phase of the low carbon sector of the ICF. This involved adapting and applying the theoretical realist framework to this £2.6bn global fund to extract lessons learnt from DFID low carbon programming in Africa and Asia.
2014 - 2017
Adolescent Girls Empowerment Initiative in Kenya
(DFID and Population Council ) - VFM Expert
Overseeing an M&E consultant and providing ongoing technical advice and quality assurance to the wider evaluation team on how to qualitatively and quantitatively assess cost effectiveness for a combination of interventions for adolescent girl's empowerment in Kenya.
VFM expert for DFAT Education Partnership Programme
(DFAT) - VFM Expert
Spent a month in the DFAT offices, training DFAT staff on VFM application to the Education Partnership programme, and delivered a technical and policy paper recommending VFM approach, tools and a process to ensure VFM is mainstreamed in their M&E framework.
2013 - 2017
Evaluation of DFID’s Humanitarian Innovation & Evidence Strategy
(DFID) - LEAD Specialist
Contributing to the ongoing formative and summative evaluation of this fund which is a series of research and evidence projects investigating DRR. Valsa undertook in depth case study qualitative data collection, analysis and synthesis and fund level data collection analysis and synthesis.
2013 - 2016
Bangladesh Nutrition Programmes
(DFID) - Independent Evaluator
Synthesising mixed data from focus groups, process evaluation, RCT endline data in order to draw lessons from phase 1 on what outcomes were delivered and at what cost. Valsa made key recommendations on adjusting key elements of the design of the model for phase two for better infant and child nutrition outcomes. She quality assured and managed an M&E consultant who undertook the fieldwork.
2013 - 2014
Independent M&E of the Forest Markets and Climate Programme
(DFID) - VFM Specialist
Provide key inputs in the M&E framework to ensure that VFM is measured, analysed and improved upon as part of the wider monitoring framework for this 4 year programme.
2013 - 2014
Southern Africa Climate Resilience and Infrastructure Development Fund
(International Climate Fund) - M&E Team Leader
Responsible for the design and implementation of the overarching M&E framework for this facility which mobilises climate resilient infrastructure finance interventions to complement its infrastructure preparation activities.

Valsa designed the M&E strategy and then sourced and led a team to deliver it. She provided the vision for the combination of routine monitoring and reporting at the project level, deeper ad hoc qualitative evaluations at the project level, and high level strategic advice and evaluation at the portfolio and fund level with a goal for continuous strategic learning. She had specialisms in climate resilience, agriculture and WATSAN, and project financial closure techniques. She designed the suite of tools to achieve this purpose and training project staff to use the tools for data collection, analysis and assessments. She also ensured reporting and evaluation against ICF KPIs, including overseeing an in-depth evaluation of the transformational change indicator (KPI 15).

2013 - Ongoing
Evaluation of FoodTrade East & Southern Africa
(DFID) - Lead VFM Specialist
Provide key inputs in the M&E framework to ensure that VFM is measured, analysed and improved upon before during and after implementation
Monitoring and Evaluation of the Implementation of the Forest Governance, Markets and Climate Programme
(DFID) - Consultant
Contributions to the theory based independent evaluation during the inception phase of the evaluation.
Value for money guidance note on infrastructure
(DFID) - Consultant
Activities: Lead author on the economics aspect of VFM, focusing on the 3E framework, various infrastructure funding modalities, covering the main sectors including roads.
2011 - 2013
LEAD M&E for the £20m Environment, Energy Partnership East and Southern Africa (EEP S&EA)
(Environment, Energy Partnership East and Southern Africa ) - M&E Lead
Valsa was involved in the early design of this off grid energy fund during the business case. Subsequently she was the team leader responsible for the evaluation of phase 1 by analysing the dataset to provide design modifications to the programme design and recommendations for phase 2 to improve performance and outcomes. She was also involved in the DFID annual review.
2010 - 2012
Various DFID Business cases (around 20)
(DFID) - Consultant – Design Lead
Project Description: Business cases in: economic growth, livelihoods, infrastructure, environment and climate change, health, education, social policy and humanitarian, infrastructure, private sector development and governance.
Ghana Institution Building Project Completion Review
(DFID/Ghana) - Economic Advisor and VFM Specialist for Evaluation
Project Description: VFM component of the Project completion review, focusing on governance and institution building.
Activities: Undertook the project completion evaluation of the programme.

Cash Transfers in Kenya
(DFID/Kenya) - VFM Advisor
Project Description: Evaluation of phase 1 of cash transfers, and design of phase 2.
Activities: Undertook a quantitative evaluation of phase 1, using data collected in the ministry, and devising cost efficiency indicators. This was applied to the design of phase 2, drafting the technical annex of the business case.

Southern Africa Food security
(DFID/Southern Africa) - Lead VFM adviser
Project Description: Designing and appraising a competitive grant facility for private and public sector to improve food security in Southern Africa, focusing on food storage solutions
Activities: Lead VFM adviser – undertook a complex partial equilibrium model to simulate the costs and benefits of the funds.

South Asia Water Initiative
(DFID/Nepal) - VFM adviser and lead economist
Project Description: Evaluation of phase 1 of a World Bank multi donor trust fund for trans-regional river basin management, and design of phase 2.
Activities: Short term VFM adviser and lead economist in the evaluation and design of a river basin management governance programme.

Climate Resilient Agriculture in Southern and Eastern Africa
(DFID/ East and Southern Africa) - Lead economist and VFM adviser
Project Description: Championed by the Tripartite (COMESA-EAC-SADC) this programme will directly and indirectly increase the resilience and food security of the poor through improved evidence, targeting, policies and use of known agriculture practices that increase yields and are resilient against droughts/floods.
Activities performed: Cost benefit analysis, appraisal case, programme design, VFM indicators development.

Transboundary Water Management in the Southern African Development Community
(DFID, Southern Africa) - Lead economist and VFM adviser
Project Description: Championed by SADC this programme will improve the management of shared water resources in Southern Africa through strengthened evidence, arbitration, capacity building and roll out of water infrastructure. Directly increasing access to water supplies, increasing efficiency of usage and enabling management of floods and irrigation.
Activities performed: Cost benefit analysis, appraisal case, programme design, VFM indicators development.

Southern Africa Renewable Energy Investment Programme
(DFID/Southern Afica) - Lead economist and VFM adviser
Project Description: This programme will enable communities and private sector to attract CDM finance and stimulate small scale businesses to provide low carbon energy supply to the poor, in Southern Africa
Activities Performed: Cost benefit, programme design, drafted a paper on various private and public sector financing mechanisms for renewables deployment.

Energy Environment Partnership with Southern and Eastern Africa
(Lead economist and VFM adviser) - DFID/ East & Southern Africa
Project Description: A facility that funds low carbon energy demonstrations in response to proposals submitted by the private sector, government and NGOs in Southern Africa. It will address some of the market and governance barriers preventing greater use of low carbon energy.
Activities performed: Complex modelling for carbon reductions projections and valuation; programme design and appraisal case.

2008 - 2010
Carbon Trading Economist
(UK Department for Energy and Climate Change/UK) - Carbon Trading Economist
Activities: Support for the Copenhagen negotiations. Advised DFID on the design of the Climate Investment Funds (specifically the Clean Technology Fund), and the role of the private sector. Advised the Indian Government and private sector stakeholders on low carbon growth strategies, and presented the findings of my research on UK lessons learnt on Carbon reduction policies.
General design of global carbon market instruments to harness private sector finance to enable developing countries to sign up to carbon reduction commitments. For example, harnessing forestry sector carbon credits (REDD), industrial sectors in China and India, and scaling up the Clean Development Mechanism (key private sector carbon credit instrument).
Design and implement the cost effectiveness indicator in UK carbon policies’ impact assessments, using the recent carbon valuation guidance (“shadow price of carbon”). Research into the micro economic and macro-economic impact of financial aid and climate finance through loans and grants.
Designed and managed consultancy reports on low carbon growth to support the Copenhagen Climate Change negotiations working in partnership with DFID economists.

2003 - 2008
In-depth research into issues of financial inclusion and measuring the impact of financial flows on poor households
(DFID/UK) - Economic Advisor
Project Description: Conducting in-depth research into issues of financial inclusion and measuring the impact of financial flows on poor households.
Activities Performed: Remittance Country Partnerships, Research paper on the economic rationale of Challenge Funds, Financial sector access, Quantitative surveys, Economic adviser for the rationale behind the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund.

2003 - 2008
Implementation of economic reform programmes
(DFID/Tajikistan) - Economic Advisor
Activities: Economic Adviser to DFID’s Europe and Central Asia Desk leading a number of economic reform projects and development of the DFID strategy for determining new projects and programmes in this country.
Public Financial Management project
(DFID/ Kyrgyzstan) - Lead Economist
Activities: Lead DFID economist working on a Public Financial Management project within the Ministry of Finance, working with specialist consultant in undertaking the DFID reviews and reporting procedures. Managed and mentored a DFID junior economist on this programme.