Gwendolyn Heaner, PhD
PhD, Founder and Managing Director; Senior Consultant, West Africa Projects
Gwen has over fifteen years’ experience in social research in international development and a PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London in the social sciences with a focus on international development and social change and one year of ethnographic fieldwork in Liberia (2007 – 2008). Her expertise is in research design, fieldwork, analysis, and training, working with various corporations, INGOs, US-based nonprofits and academic institutions on matters pertaining to research methodology, education, social change, participation / democracy, religion and culture, gender, public health and service delivery/infrastructure. Her field research over the last 15 years has been primarily in West Africa, first in Ghana as an academic researcher on the social role of religious movements and most recently with GK for the Millennium Challenge Corporation conducting an assessment and designing an evidence-based intervention to help micro and small businesses increase productive use of electricity.
Though she always seems to be on her way to Liberia, as Managing Director of GK Consulting she also leads other research around the world. For example, she is presently leading GK’s ongoing work with CARE Syria / CARE UK from April 2018 to Oct 2019 conducting longitudinal qualitative research on resilience inside Syria and among refugees in surrounding countries (Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey). She is also the Lead Global Consultant for a 4-country quantitative and qualitative endline, midline and baseline (2014 – 2019) evaluation on youth financial education and skills development for Plan UK (Brazil, India, China, Rwanda), and recently completed the endline (having also done the baseline and midline) for NCA’s Eastern DRC Gender-Based Violence Reduction Program
Outside of GK Consulting she consults regularly for the World Bank designing and leading qualitative research (including a study on youth access to services, which she is co-leading with GK Senior Consultant Kayla Boisvert), and is also a Research Fellow at University of Massachusetts Center for International Education (CIE), working as the Research Manager for a USAID funded 5-year contract on Education in Conflict and Crisis Affected Environments (USAID ECCN) where she has led the work on developing research toolkits to assess the safety of learning environments.
Kayla Boisvert, MEd
Senior Consultant, Latin America, West and Central Africa Projects
Kayla Boisvert, MEd, has over 10 years’ experience in social research and evaluation. Her areas of focus include alternative/accelerated education in crisis and post-crisis contexts, gender, and research methodology, including participatory and arts-based methods. Ms. Boisvert has experience leading small- and medium-sized projects and leading local research teams. She is presently co-leading research (with Gwen Heaner, Managing Director of GK Consulting) on youth access to services in Mozambique for the World Bank. Also recently, she successfully led a mixed methods creative / arts-based evaluation of a girls’ scholarships program for out-of-school adolescent girls. Methods included conducting arts-based focus groups with girls, a PhotoVoice project, and Most Significant Change sessions with community members, as well as quantitative analysis of secondary data. Highly detail-oriented, Kayla prioritizes safe and ethical research methods while ensuring the highest quality of data possible. She has conducted research and programme evaluation in several countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and has supported alternative education policy and programming globally. She is also a doctoral student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she works on the USAID Education in Crisis and Conflict Network.
Jennifer Flemming, PhD
Senior Consultant - Middle East Projects
Jennifer Flemming is a PhD candidate in Education Policy, Research, and Administration at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a research assistant on the USAID Education in Crisis and Conflict Network project. The focus of her current research which has involved intensive desk and field work is on the intersection of state and non-state humanitarian actors in the refugee response efforts across the migration routes of Syria, Turkey, and Greece. Since 2015, she has worked as an independent consultant in cross-sectoral program design, assessment, and evaluation for NGOs operating across Jordan, Greece, Lebanon, and Kenya with particular emphasis on youth programming for refugees. Jennifer holds an Ed.M. in International Education Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and an M.A. in cultural anthropology from the University of Colorado Denver; for the latter, she conducted a year of ethnographic and participatory research with Iraqi refugees resettled across the state of Colorado. Jenn’s work has coalesced largely around dynamic and complex contexts in which adept and strategic organizational learning and adaptation are critical to continued program growth and performance. She is experienced in qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research design and implementation, and is currently focused on the use of participatory research methods— such as Photovoice— as means of combating the particular challenges (e.g. “focus group fatigue”) of data collection in humanitarian contexts. With GK she is presently working on the Syria Resilience Research Project for CARE UK, where she develops the participatory methodologies and training materials for the Syrian field teams, leads on qualitative analysis, and co-authors all deliverables.
Edwin Moses Chea
Liberia and Sierra Leone Project Manager
Eight years of experience as local field team leader and qualitative/quantitative researcher on various social research projects in Liberia and Sierra Leone, primarily through GK Consulting, including for Oxfam GB, UNWomen, Unicef, the World Bank, and Plan UK. In the most recent, a 6-county baseline evaluation for UNICEF, Mr. Chea served as local co-team leader and data collector. He also served as local project manager in GK Consulting’s 2013 baseline evaluation of girls’ education in Sierra Leone, where he recruited and assisted in the training of 21 local data collectors, and led a team of seven that visited over 70 communities reaching across 3 districts, completing over 1400 interviews. Mr. Chea is also helping GK Consulting establish a Liberia country office, where he resides.
Senior Middle East Researcher
Sabreen Shalabi has over eight years of social research and
programme development and management experience in the MENA region. With degree
s in Political Science and Sociology from the University of California, Irvine, the majority of her research experience has revolved around governance, gender, and civil society. She has worked from the MENA region since 2013 and has an extensive network in Turkey, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon. In the past, she has consulted and advised on DIFD funded Syria governance and stabilization programmes, such as “Tatweer,” “Syria Stabilization Response Mechanism (SRM,)” and “Tamkeen,” all of which had a particular focus on enhancing governance, civil society, and response systems. Most recently, Sabreen designed, developed, and managed a 2.5-million-dollar civil society programme with Tatweer, working with 18 different civil society organizations. She recently completed an assignment with GK Consulting as Regional Field Team Leader for the Syria Resilience Research Project Component 3 that focuses on the changing gender roles of Syrian refugee women in Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan. She is a fluent Arabic and English speaker.
Jacob Bower-Bir, PhD
Senior Quantitative Analyst / Governance and Public Policy Specialist
Expertise in quantitative modelling and analysis, with vast experience in RCTs and quasi-experimental evaluations in socio-economics, both at the academic and practical levels, with recent field research in Liberia, Afghanistan, and Papua New Guinea. In his own research, he looks at the evolution of moral norms and the influence those norms have on various social policies, with additional experience applying economic and social theory to a range of research topics. He has worked internationally in fragile and conflict-affected states, and has a keen understanding of the dynamics of inequality in the international development setting. His previous work includes conducting a cross-national quantitative comparison of legislative data, developing cutting-edge modelling techniques of legislative behaviour in order to predict policy outcomes; and evaluating the effects of charter school reforms on the traditional public education system, assessing the ability of charter schools to educated minority and economically disadvantaged students by conducting a quantitative analysis of student performance across a range of school types while controlling for student demographics, and reported findings to state legislatures, public school officials, and community stakeholders. For GK Consulting he was Quantitative Lead / Field Coordinator for a UNWomen baseline evaluation on Women’s Economic Empowerment in Liberia (2015), Quantitative Lead / Senior Field Researcher on the UNWomen Papua New Guinea Safe Cities Programme. Outside of GK Consulting he has recently worked on a variety of M&E tasks in Afghanistan.
Rachel Cole, MA
Rachel Cole has a Master’s Degree from the University of Arkansas – Clinton School of Public Service and 14 years of experience working in education reform with a focus on education equity across the United States but with experience internationally as well. She has partnered with non-profit organizations and school systems to establish vision, goals, and metrics for their work. Her particular focus has been on building teacher capacity and effectiveness in under-resourced schools and districts. Rachel’s expertise lies in classroom observation, student and teacher survey, and student work analysis. In addition, Ms. Cole has done extensive work with pre-service and novice teachers in over 40 school districts to ensure that they have a deep vision for equitable and inclusive classrooms, strategies for achieving those visions and qualitative and quantitative indicators to make meaning of their work. She has worked with GK Consulting as a project associate, analyzing and reporting on multi-country qualitative and quantitative data, contributing to toolkit design, writing literature reviews, and authoring proposals.
Arbab Ghulam Qadir
Mr. Qadir is a development professional with master’s degree in Agriculture Economics and more than 16 years experience in the development and business sector in Pakistan (where he resides), United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. He has expertise on conducting mixed methods evaluations of livelihood, education and WASH projects. He is also actively involved in field survey team management including training, management, field operations, and coordination with client and donors. He first worked with GK Consulting in 2013 on a Year 3 mixed methods evaluation of an adolescent education programme in Pakistan.
Eric Chavez, MA
Eric Chávez is a social researcher, service designer and communications specialist with six years of progressive development experience in the United States, México and El Salvador. He’s earned two master’s degrees in International Policy and Development and International Education Management from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS). His area of focus has been instructional design and technology in contexts of crisis, conflict, migration and/or displacement with particular interest in livelihoods, civic engagement and alternative education. Some of Eric’s specialties include data and policy analysis, systems and design thinking, participatory action research and project management. Having helped found the Transatlantic Refugee Resettlement Network (TRRN) as an inaugural steering committee member and worked with the USAID Education in Crisis and Conflict Network (ECCN) in both research and communications since 2016, he’s excited to now join the GK-Consulting team as a Project Assistant
Extended Consultant Database
We have an impressive database of local and international consultants from around the world with skills to meet clients’ specific needs. Our consultants are based in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the US and Europe with language skills in (among others) English (primary), Spanish, Portuguese, French, Swahili, Chinese, Russian, German, Italian, Urdu, Hindi, Arabic and a variety of local dialects.
We can provide consultants of varying experience, depending on client needs, at competitive rates based on their skills. We have PhD-holders with over 20 years’ experience and JDs with over 10 years of experience; we have medical doctors with experience in public health in developing countries; we have life-long consultants who have worked in over forty countries; we have recent PhD graduates with up to 5 years of consulting experience and MA and PhD students who are anxious to get dirty in the field. All of our consultants share a passion for theoretically-grounded yet practical and results-driven social research.