Based in Kenya, Dr Holly Ritchie is an independent consultant, academic (PhD) and social entrepreneur, with over 22 years of international experience. She takes a special focus on gender, culture and institutions in ‘fragile’ economic development.
As a part-time academic, Holly is a Research Fellow at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), part of Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), and a Research Associate at the Centre for Frugal Innovation in Africa (CFIA). Her PhD (Cum Laude, Best PhD Erasmus University 2013) focused on (grassroots) women’s enterprise in Afghanistan, cultural norms and institutional change (published with Routledge 2016). Her academic research and consulting work have looked in particular at (poorer) women’s enterprise participation in marginalized, conflict and refugee settings. She focuses on social inclusion/integration in business, value chains and technology, and looks ahead to social outcomes from economic and technological empowerment. Post-doctorate research (2014-present) has investigated Somali and Syrian women refugees and economic engagement in fragile displacement contexts in urban Kenya and Jordan. Recently, she has explored refugee links to ICTs, culture and digital inclusion.
Alongside her academic work, Holly also works as a development consultant focusing on gender, enterprise, value chains and livelihood security, with specific country-based experience in Afghanistan (10 years), Kenya (7 years), Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, the Middle East and Brazil. NGO research under CARE International (2014-2018) looked at gender, social norms and trends of change across Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, Kenya and Somalia. Recent assignments (2018-2020) include the development of Gender Profiles for Somalia and Sudan under the African Development Bank and UN Women (Lead Consultant). As a consultant, she also works as a (part-time) Gender and Enterprise Advisor for the Dutch government (Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO)) across the Horn of Africa and the Middle East.
Complementing her academic and consulting work, in 2019, Holly founded a social enterprise in Kenya called THRIVE – Women Socio-preneurs for Change. THRIVE supports the professional development and empowerment of women in the aid sector through facilitating short courses in topics related to gender, research and socio-economic development, with proceeds channeled into THRIVE community projects for refugee women in Nairobi (www.thriveforchange.org).
For more information, kindly see: https://www.linkedin.com/in/holly-a-ritchie-phd/