I am a freelance editor / researcher / author / evaluator / anthropologist specialising in issues around refugees, internal displacement and other humanitarian crises.
I have over 25 years' experience in relief and development as a volunteer, fieldworker, manager, consultant, researcher, evaluator, editor and writer.
I have degrees in Modern History, Middle Eastern Studies and Social Anthropology and speak Arabic, French and Spanish.
Click here for: my CV | my publications.
Here is a list of agencies I have worked / am working for. Click for information about my role with them:
|DARA – Development Assistance Research Associates||UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency|
|UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)||Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC)|
|Forced Migration Review, University of Oxford||id21, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex|
|Feinstein International Center, Tufts University||Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children|
|International Development Research Center (IDRC)||Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford|
|UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP)||UNICEF|
|International NGO Training and Research Centre (INTRAC)||Norwegian Refugee Council|
|Young Lives||UK Department for International Development (DFID)|
|World Bank||Save the Children UK|
|HelpAge International||British Red Cross|
|Oxfam GB||Royal Geographical Society|
|Medical Aid for Palestinians||Catholic Institute for International Relations|
|Institut für Projektplanung GmbH.|
I have had many professional contacts with UNHCR. In 2009, UNHCR and the Cities Alliance (World Bank) contracted me to prepare an urban displacement scoping study as a background discussion document for the December 2009 High Commissioner’s Dialogue on Protection Challenges for Persons of Concern to UNHCR in Urban Settings. I attended the High Commissioner's Dialogue as an Expert. In May 2011, I visited Bangladesh, having been asked to be the external consultant for an evaluation of UNHCR's response to the protracted displacement of Burmese Rohingya refugees. In May 2011, I facilitated a UNHCR-convened workshop on urban refugees. I wrote a chapter (on displacement to urban areas) for the forthcoming edition of UNHCR’s landmark publication, State of the World’s Refugees.
DARA is an independent, international, non-profit organisation, which works to improve the quality and impact of development and humanitarian interventions. I edited, and contributed substantial original text to, the 2010 version of their Humanitarian Response Index, the major international tool to ensure that donor governments’ aid funding has the greatest possible impact for people affected by conflict and disaster and adheres to the principles of Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD). In 2011 I edited the report of a ground-breaking evaluation, undertaken for the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), of the humanitarian response in South Central Somalia 2005-2010.
In April-June 2012 I twice visited Chad as a member of a DARA-led evaluation, commissioned by the World Food Programme and UNHCR, examining the role of food assistance during the protracted displacement of refugees originating from the Central African Republc. My special responsibilities focused on issues around protection, livelihoods and the quest for self-sufficiency.
OCHA is the arm of the UN Secretariat responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure coherent response to emergencies. In January 2010 I was contracted to work with OCHA and a range of partner agencies in the UN's protection and early recovery clusters to produce a ten-country case study of successful approaches to facilitating durable solutions for internally displaced people (IDPs).
From 1999 to 2007 I was the co-editor of Forced Migration Review (FMR), the in-house practitioner-focused magazine of the University of Oxford's Refugee Studies Centre. During my co-stewardship FMR became the world's most widely read and influential publication on refugee and internal displacement issues. I was responsible for establishing the FMR websites, a five-fold expansion of the mailing list and an increase in the number of articles and pages in each issue.I was primarily responsible for fund-raising - securing support from a wide range of UN agencies, INGOs and governments - to cover salary costs of the FMR team, and all design, translation, production and distribution costs. I oversaw a six-fold increase in grant income. Liaising with funders and authors led me to establish close working relations with a wide range of humanitarian actors, ranging from high-level officials in New York and Geneva to local and regional human rights, protection and assistance agencies. I 'ghost-wrote' a very substantial number of pieces - both for those lacking confidence in English and for senior humanitarians without time to write, but keen to see their agencies profiled in FMR. I also authored a number of articles addressing key humanitarian debates. (See publications below). I am particularly proud of the unsolicited commendations made by a wide range of humanitarian actors - heads of UN agencies, INGOs, government officials, community-based agencies and individual refugees, IDPs and asylum-seekers.
The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), established in 1998 by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), is the leading international body monitoring conflict-induced internal displacement worldwide. Since 2009 I have assisted with editing and finalising a substantial number of reports, thus enhancing and regularly updating my knowledge of the quality of responses to virtually all the world's major internal displacement crises.
I co-authored a policy briefing, Environmentally displaced people: Understanding the linkages between environmental change, livelihoods and forced migration, the first in a series produced by the Refugee Studies Centre on behalf of the UK Department for International Development.
Published by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex, id21 communicated UK-sourced international development research to policymakers and practitioners worldwide. I worked part-time for id21 from its inception in 2001 until its closure in 2009 and prepared around half of all the online summaries. My engagement with id21 allowed me to keep abreast of development debates and research findings and to hone my ability to translate academic language into readily understandable, concise and user-friendly text.
The Feinstein International Center at Tufts University strives to improve the lives and livelihoods of communities caught up in complex emergencies, war and other crises. Much research is undertaken by local people and my role has been to rewrite their text to make it more accessible to a global audience, without losing local voice. I have also introduced consistency into multi-authored publications and drafted articles for submission to professional journals. The publications I have edited for FIC include:
The Women's Commission's mission is to improve the lives and defend the rights of refugee women and children, including the internally displaced, returnees and asylum seekers. I edited a large number of articles published by the Commission in Forced Migration Review and assisted with editing/reseaching Building Livelihoods: a Field Manual for Practitioners in Humanitarian Settings.
The IDRC is a Canadian Crown corporation that works in close collaboration with researchers from the developing world in their search for the means to build healthier, more equitable, and more prosperous societies. I edited - and substantially rewrote the report of a major piece of research into the legal and economic status of Palestinians in Jordan - Listening to Palestinian Refugees/Displaced Persons In Jordan: Perceptions of their Political and Socio-Economic Status
I am on UNICEF's roster of authors. UNICEF contracted me to edit a chapter for the Machel Strategic Review of Children and Armed Conflict
I am on UNESCO IIEP's roster of authors. I edited Confronting the Shadow Education System: What Government Policies for What Private Tutoring? and Education and Fragility in Afghanistan.
I am an Associate of INTRAC, an Oxford-based non-profit organisation working in the international development and relief sector, supporting non-governmental and civil society organisations to explore policy issues and strengthen management and organisational effectiveness. I co-authored Overview of Civil Society in the Arab World, edited a report on the impact of the war on terror on development and a book on monitoring and evaluation and co-authored a book, Civil Society and the War on Terror. I made a presentation at an Arab League-convened conference (Promoting Government-Civil Society Dialogue and Reforming Laws) in Cairo on The Impact of Counter-Terrorism Measures on Civil Society.
NRC provides assistance, protection and durable solutions to refugees and internally displaced persons worldwide. For many years Forced Migration Review was produced collaboratively with NRC. I have edited many articles which NRC colleagues published in FMR. I have edited NRC's toolkit on monitoring and evaluation, the revised version of the Camp Management Toolkit. produced for the United Nation's Camp Coordination and Management Cluster and a training manual on how to respond to displacement-induced housing, land and property issues
Young Lives is a long-term international research project investigating the changing nature of childhood poverty. Coordinated by the University of Oxford, Young Lives is tracking the development of 12,000 children in Ethiopia, India (Andhra Pradesh), Peru and Vietnam through quantitative and qualitative research over a 15-year period. From 2006 to 2009 I edited a large number of YL publications.
From 1997 to 1999 I was employed as a Social Development Consultant advising DFID on water and sanitation projects in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. I undertook seven missions to the West Bank and Gaza advising on gender, poverty and equity issues related to British Government investment in the Palestinian water sector. I worked closely with a range of Palestinian NGOs and with the Palestinian Water Authority. I evaluated the social impact of a number of community-based water and sanitation programmes undertaken by Save the Children's Palestine programme.
In 1998 I was a Consultant Social Advisor to the World Bank in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. I worked with the Palestinian Water Authority and Palestinian NGOs engaged in the Southern Area Water and Sanitation Improvement Project, West Bank. I was responsible for co-ordination of a project component to address water and sanitation needs of marginalised rural inhabitants. I was solely responsible for preparation (amidst a volatile, politically constrained, planning environment) of a £4.5 million programme for community-based water harvesting, development of available groundwater resources, safe storage of potable water, improved communal and domestic sanitation facilities and enhancement of local management and maintenance capacity. In support of the proposal I developed a Logical Framework, Concept Note and Stakeholder Analysis. I coordinated a team of Palestinian researchers preparing the first comprehensive survey in the West Bank of water-use and demand and willingness and ability to pay for improved water and sanitation services.
In June 1997 I was asked to head Save UK's programme in Iraqi Kurdistan. I was Programme Director for a period of four months at a time of extreme tension both between the Kurds and the regime of Saddam Hussein and between the two main Kurdish factions - the PUK and KDP. I was the sole international staff member of Save the Children in Kurdistan, travelling frequently - and at some risk - between offices in Irbil and Sulaymaniyah. I managed 155 staff, one third of whom were armed guards. I was responsible for management of a £2.5 million development programme primarily intended to enable return of displaced rural Kurds and enable Kurdish young people to resume education. I was responsible for enforcement and revision of security policy in an extremely volatile situation, management of systems for utilisation of finance, transport, supplies and capital assets and all negotiation with government authorities, project partners, NGOs and international agencies. I contributed to Save UK efforts to influence policies of major donors and UN agencies. This was a high-profile position - in effect, as I was repeatedly told by senior Kurdish officials, I was the 'de facto British ambassador'. My work thus brought me into close contact with the leaders of both the PUK and KDP, including with Jalal Talabani, currently President of Iraq and Hoshyar Zebari, Iraqi Foreign Minister. For family reasons, I declined the opportunity to serve longer in this post.
HelpAge International is a global network striving for the rights of disadvantaged older people to economic and physical security, healthcare and social services and support in their caregiving role. In 1995 I spent three months as a Management and Institutional Capacity Adviser in the Karagwe District of north-western Tanzania. In an extremely crowded NGO environment - there were around a hundred international agencies supporting Rwandan refugees - HelpAge International was the sole NGO addressing the needs of local people adversely affected by the massive refugee presence. I worked with members of the local branch of a Tanzanian older peoples' organisation, district government officials, UNHCR and community representatives. I was responsible for proposing interventions to address problems of environmental degradation and insecurity caused by the refugee presence. I wrote a proposal for a £0.5m programme of water harvesting, fuel conservation, legal rights education and income generation projects which was successfully submitted to the British government for funding.
In 1993 I successfully completed an ICRC/IFRC accredited Red Cross Delegate Training Course. For the next three years I was a Consultant / Visiting Delegate seconded by the British Red Cross to work as a development adviser for the North Gondar Branch of the Ethiopian Red Cross Society. In the course of nine visits - ranging in duration from three weeks to three months - I worked with Ethiopian colleagues to substantially increase the capacity of the Ethiopian Red Cross to increase services to a population of three million people in this isolated region of the Ethiopian Highlands. I assessed the Branch's disaster response capacity, designed development programmes to address the needs of vulnerable communities and worked to enhance Branch capacity. I prepared a socio-economic profile of North Gondar Zone and proposals for health, water, sanitation, afforestation and education interventions which were successfully submitted to funding agencies. I trained Branch staff in techniques of Participatory Rural Appraisal, project planning, monitoring and evaluation. I filmed and scripted a publicity film which was used by the British Red Cross to publicise the work of its International Aid Department. I drew on the experience in Gondar to develop a training case study in development issues which was used on a British Red Cross training course for delegates and for a DFID-sponsored training course run by the Group for Anthropology in Policy and Practice.
I worked for Oxfam GB in 1991-1992 - a short-term appointment resulting from a regular staff member taking sabbatical leave. I was Acting Deputy Regional Manager for the Middle East, sharing management of Oxfam's development and emergency programmes in Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Yemen. I was responsible for co-ordination of administration and capital budgets for Oxfam Field Offices in the Middle East; co-ordinating communications between Oxfam and field staff and partners and ensuring field engagement in Oxfam debates around such issues as gender, environment, debt and structural adjustment. As non-resident Country Representative I was solely responsible for management of five Oxfam programme staff in the West Bank and Gaza and a grants budget of approx.£1.5m which focused on women's' income generation programmes, vocational training, early childhood development, water resources, human rights, agriculture, disability and primary health care. I additionally headed a team evaluating Oxfam's Iraq programme, and travelled extensively in post-war Iraq assessing Oxfam's emergency relief programme and providing action-oriented recommendations for its future direction.
The Jordan Badia Research and Development Programme was a joint initiative of the Royal Geographic Society, Durham University and Jordan's Higher Council for Science and Technology to promote human resource development, promote self-reliance and sustainability and combat desertification in the sparsely populated region of north-eastern Jordan adjoining Syria and Iraq. In 1992 I was employed as the Programme's first Anthropological Consultant, working with Jordanian counterparts to survey livelihoods of Bedouin communities.
Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) is a UK charity providing support to the health and medical needs of Palestinians living under occupation in Gaza and the West Bank, to refugees in Lebanon and to other vulnerable communities in the Middle East. I worked for MAP for two years (1988-1990) - the height of the first intifida. I visited the Occupied Palestinian Territory on a large number of occasions. As Projects Officer, I was solely responsible for selection, briefing, support and management of twenty volunteer health workers attached to a wide range of health institutions across the West Bank, Gaza and Lebanon. I undertook research into health needs in the West Bank and Gaza; assessed requests from Palestinian and Lebanese health institutions; liaised closely with the Palestine Red Crescent Society; advertised for and maintained a database on available personnel and represented MAP at international conferences. I liaised closely with donors and prepared MAP's first successful funding applications to the British Government and the European Commission.
The Catholic Institute for International Relations (now renamed Progressio) supported primary health care projects in Yemen throughout the 1980s and 1990s. From 1985-1987 I was a volunteer development worker attached to a British-government funded health project in the town of Abs in the isolated northern Tihama (coastal) region of Yemen, As the sole Arabic speaker in a team of expatriate medical personnel I was primarily responsible for promoting PHC concepts, selecting male and female candidates for training, negotiating with local communities to assist in the construction of health posts and liaising with Ministry of Health, local government and local co-operative association officials and traditional local leaders. I travelled extensively in the project area on the Red Sea coast and produced a series of leaflets in Arabic providing basic information on the goals of PHC, family planning, treatment of malaria, use of oral rehydration solution and antibiotics. I compiled the first comprehensive glossary of colloquial medical terms used in Yemen. Living and working conditions were extremely arduous due to the intense heat, humidity, shortages of water and electricity and corruption. While my colleagues on average only remained for 13 months, I completed the full two years of my contract. I wrote a book about my experience. (See publications below).
I 'ghostwrote' a great number of articles for Forced Migration Review - including for heads of three UN agencies - but only a fraction bear my name as author. Those which I authored (i.e. did not ghostwrite) include:
"'Eze-vu' - Success through Evaluation. Lessons from a Primary Health-care Project in North Yemen", in Practising Development, edited by Johan Pottier, Routledge, London, 1992
'Going to Extremes', Guardian, March 18, 2000.
Displaced People: Understanding the Linkages Between Environmental
Change, Livelihoods and Forced Migration,
Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford.
"‘Locals within locals’: Cultural sensitivity in disaster aid", Guest Editorial, Anthropology Today, vol 24, no. 3, Royal Anthropological Institute, June 2008.
Selected Bibliography: Displacement to Urban Areas”, UNHCR, November 2009.
refugees in Bangladesh”, UNHCR, December 2011.
Displacement in urban areas: new challenges, new partnerships, Disasters, vol 36, Special Issue: Urban vulnerability and humanitarian response, June 2012
"Ironical and slyly humorous, this is a humane and an important book", The Observer, 4th August 1991."Should be an essential item on the bookshelves of those who work in aid and development at whatever level", UN Special, November 1991, United Nations, Geneva.
"Asks vital questions about development aid", Bookchoice, BBC World Service, 19th October 1991.
"Strikes a nerve and provokes new thinking... may generate a revision of current thinking about development... the presentation is far from self-serving. Morris does not insulate himself from his critique", American Anthropologist, Issue 94, vol. 4 1992.
Overview of Civil Society in the Arab World (INTRAC 2008).
Civil Society and the War on Terror (INTRAC, 2008).
I additionally wrote two books for students of English as a Foreign Language:
English Idioms: A Fun New Approach (Black Sheep Press, Oxford, 1995)
Phrasal Verbs: A Fun New Approach (Black Sheep Press, Oxford, 1996)
Click here for: my CV
Back to top