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Profile: Ephrem Gebre

- Kemantha Govender

Ephrem Gebre joined the WSG in 2016 as a Senior Monitoring and Evaluation Technical Specialist.

Relatively new to the academic world, but with an abundance of experience working in the world of development practitioners, Gebre tells us more about himself.

Briefly describe your work experience

My educational background is in the areas of political science, international relations and international development along with management and public administration. I have more than 15 years of working experience in international development at local, national, regional and global levels, particularly in the fields of governance, democracy and civil society.

In the last 10 years, I worked with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) as a  Regional Governance Programme Manager for Southern Africa based in Pretoria. Prior to that I served in different organisations in different capacities. At global level, I served as an International Campaigns and Membership Manager for CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizens Participation and with Oxfam, in a Regional Capacity Building Programme in the Horn of Africa.

With the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, I worked as a peace-building specialist in its Africa Peacebuilding Programme. All in all, I have managed international development programmes in more 20 countries of Africa with responsibilities to design, implement, monitor and evaluate a wide-range of governance projects. My work experience gave me first-hand knowledge and experience on many subjects related to governance, democracy and civil society.

What is you role at the School?

I joined WSG in September 2016 as a Senior Monitoring and Evaluation Technical Specialist. Along with colleagues, I am involved in all aspects of academic programmes including the provision of courses and supervision of postgraduate students.

What your experience has been like thus far at WSG?

I found WSG very welcoming and supportive. As I come from a world of development practitioners, I am relatively new to the academic world and I am getting accustomed to it. It is an excellent opportunity to look back at my experience as a practitioner and bring that to the academia through the course I will provide and the postgraduate students I supervise. 

You have extensive experience working in Africa, what do you find is our strengths and weaknesses when it comes to international development programmes?

WSG is one of the leading governance schools in the continent. It is well-placed to strengthen the capacity of governance institutions in Southern Africa and beyond. It has a huge potential to work with similar schools in the Africa continent and engage in mutual learning and knowledge sharing. Balding on its success so far WSG, it should definitely expand its horizon in the continent.

I am currently working on my PhD thesis. My research focuses on institutional designs and state capacity, and it is a comparative study based on empirical analysis in Ethiopia and South Africa. 

Things you enjoy doing outside work: Reading, swimming, cycling

What do you miss about your home country:  I am from Ethiopia. I miss my home town, Addis Ababa.

Best travel destination: I have been to many places over the years. My last trip was in May 2016 which took me to Washington DC to attend the Global Forum on Social Accountability at the World Bank. Of all the places I visited, I consider my trip to Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2011 as a special one. It was a fascinating learning experience about the history, culture and present day politics with very hospitable people.