Susannah Saqqa

Dr Susannah Pickering-Saqqa

Senior Lecturer

NGO management, International Development

Department of Social Sciences , School of Education and Communities

Susannah is a senior lecturer  and programme leader in International Development and NGO Management. Susannah specialises in NGO management in the context of international development with a particular interest in faith-based NGOs. Her research focuses on how NGOs in the global North and global south are adapting to and shaping new development paradigms. She continues to work in an advisory capacity for a variety of development NGOs.

Areas Of Interest

  • How NGOs based in the global North are adapting to and shaping new development paradigms
  • Faith-based NGOs
  • Development communications
  • Researching NGOs
  • Dignity and Menstrual Health.
On This Page


Over the last 20 years I have worked in the NGO, local government and intergovernmental sectors on a wide variety of development programmes in Bangladesh, Jordan, Palestine and the UK. Her research focuses on how NGOs in the global North and global south are adapting to and shaping new development paradigms. I am also interested in faith-based NGOs and development communications. I continue to work in an advisory capacity for a variety of development NGOs.

External roles

I am currently:  External Examiner for the University of Portsmouth's undergraduate international development studies programme; Advisory Committee Member for Newman University, Birmingham's MA Islam and Sustainable Development, and Trustee for Sunshine Solar Academy.


  • Forthcoming Pickering-Saqqa, S. (ed.) Researching NGOs, Routledge.
  • Nov 2020 Established Third Sector Organisation and Covid-19 research network with colleagues in Brazil, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Malawi, Palestine and UK
  • April 2019 "The rise and reality of INGO domestic programming", BOND blog published 25 April 2019
  • April 2019 "Places of Poverty and Powerlessness: INGOs working 'at home'", European Journal of Development Research, 31 (5): 1371-1388.
  • February 2019 "Why work 'at home'"? Oxfam's value-added and the UK Poverty Programme, Development in Practice, 29 (4): 477-488.
  • Jan - July 2019 Principal Investigator, Building capacity among young development researchers in Ethiopia, Global Challenges Research Fund, DFID.
  • October 2018 - Nov 2020 Co-investigator, The role of dignity in improving sanitation and menstrual 

health in rural India, Global Challenges Research Fund, DFID.

  • November 2017, Developed and ran collaborative research skills workshops for Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Foundation, Uttar Pradesh, India with Professor Allan Brimicombe and Dr Meera Tiwari (UEL).
  • August 2017 "Is development becoming universal?", BOND blog, published 17 August 2017.
  • August 2017 "Telling the right story: development NGOs as brokers of global citizenship", EADI Conference, University of Bergen, 20-21 August, co-author with Emma Mortensen-Byrne, University of Aalborg.
  • August 2017 "Places of poverty and powerlessness: INGOs working 'at home'", EADI Conference, University of Bergen, 20-21 August.
  • June 2017 "Why the money development charities spend in Britain is so vital to their work", The Conversation, published 5 June 2017.
  • May 2017 - to-date Research contract for Islamic Relief Academy, The extent, challenges and resourcing of domestic programming in seven Islamic Relief partner offices.
  • April 2017 External Evaluation for Childreach International and Action for Brazil's Children: "Creating My Story" Project, in collaboration with Dr Meera Tiwari and Dr Kathryn Kraft, UEL.
  • September 2016   "Political or apolitical; powerful or powerless? NGOs, Politics and Power", Co-convenor of DSA NGOs in Development Study Group Panels, DSA Conference, University of Oxford, 13 September 2016.
  • August 2016 "Why development NGOs in the North work with the poor in their own communities", presentation to Islamic Relief, Birmingham, 22 August 2016.
  • "Evaluation Report: Lessons Learned, True Vine School". Written for Lebanese Society for Economic Social Development with Dr Meera Tiwari and Dr Kathryn Kraft.
  • July 2016 "Oxfam GB's UK poverty programme: a case for organisational habitus", BSA Bourdieu Study Group Biennial Conference, July 2016
  • December 2015 "Evaluation Report: Save the Girl Child". Written for Childreach International and Childreach India with Dr Meera Tiwari and Dr Kathryn Kraft.
  • November 2015 "Communicating across multiple domains: The case of Islamic Relief", C4D Workshop, University of East London, 25 November 2015.
  • September 2015 "Why development NGOs in the North work with the poor in their own communities", Oxfam UK Poverty UK Advisory Group, London, 23 September 2015.
  • September 2015 "NGOs as Knowledge Hubs and Brokers of Expertise in Tomorrow's World?"
  • Co-convenor of DSA NGOs in Development Study Group Roundtable, DSA Conference, University of Bath 8 September 2015.
  • April 2015 "Development NGOs working within and across multiple domains: the case of Islamic Relief", British Association of South Asian Studies, Portsmouth, 8 April 2015.
  • November 2014 "Why work 'at home'? Domestic poverty programmes and their challenge to Northern Development NGOs", Development Studies Association Conference, London, 1 November 2014.
  • June 2014 "Adapt or Die: What is the future for Non-Governmental Development Organisations in the global North?", EADI Conference, Responsible Development in a Polycentric World: Inequality, Citizenship and the Middle Classes, Bonn, June 2014
  • April 2014 "Understanding and measuring urban deprivation" at Measuring Human Development and Capabilities in High-income Countries, Roma Tre University, 12-15 April 2014, co-presenter with Dr Meera Tiwari.
  • November 2013 "The role of Access and Gatekeeping in Understanding Grassroots Poverty: a North-South Perspective", Development Studies Association Annual Conference, Birmingham, 16 November 2013, co-presenter with Dr Meera Tiwari.
  • Co-convenor of NGOs in Development Study Group Panel, "NGOs and Development Communications in the 21st Century", at Development Studies Association (DSA) Annual Conference.
  • November 2012 "Understanding Urban Deprivations: a Northern Perspective using Case Studies in East and South London", at Development Studies Association Annual Conference, London, co-presenter with Dr Meera Tiwari.
  • 2011 - 2013 Co-researcher on 18- month UKIERI-funded project which seeks to identify strategies for overcoming urban deprivation in East London and Mumbai across 6 case-study community organisations.
  • Sep 2009 - Sept 2015 PhD, University of East London: Why development NGOs in the North work with the poor in their own communities: Does Everyone Matter? The research uses four case studies: Oxfam GB; Red Barnet, Denmark; Oxfam America, and Islamic Relief UK examining the shifts in understanding of what "development" is by Northern development NGOs.


I  teach on the EADI-accredited MSc NGO and Development Management, leading the module in Project and Programme Design for Development.

MSc NGO and Development Management

This course examines the central issues facing developing countries in today's globalised world, equipping you for a job in development and the wider sectors. 

Read more


I teach on the following undergraduate modules:

  • Social Enterprise (Module Leader)
  • NGO Placement

I supervise the following PhD research:

2018 - Director of Studies, Hamda Mohamed, ESRC-DTP scholar. 'Leave no-one behind.' Sustainable Development Goal 4 - inclusive and quality education for people with disabilities. A critical investigation of International NGO practices in Somaliland.

2017 - Director of Studies, Sorawit Pulsawasd, Thai Government scholar, expected to complete Sept 2019. A critical examination of social partnerships between transnational corporations and local NGOs.

2015 - 2020 Member of supervisory team, Emma Jones. How do discourses of empowerment shape understandings of gender in the context of global development?