- We see things differently
We know that designing aid & development programs that are technically sound is only half of the equation.
The other half is designing your program to fit the local context. That’s where we come in.
Mainstream view of Local Development
Ethnic / Clan
of Land / Water
How We See Local Development
Bridging Peoples is an international company, first registered in Timor-Leste in 2014, and in Singapore and Australia a few years later.
Bridging Peoples began as an experiment. The idea was to see if the principles of good community development and community engagement could be usefully applied to help larger NGOs and donors to improve their work and impact in local communities. And it worked.
Since then, we have gone from strength to strength, transforming from a small consulting outfit based in Timor-Leste to a global network of like-minded professionals, all committed to improving the impact of aid & development at the local level.
Bridging Peoples works primarily through a network of in-country and international researchers & development professionals who are spread across the globe. This network is supported by a small core team.
Our networked approach gives us the best of both worlds, as we bring teams combining deep contextual knowledge with technical know-how. Even better: this approach allows us to stay nimble, responding and scaling to the needs of each individual project – with savings that we then pass onto our clients.
Deborah Cummins has a PhD on local governance and democratisation, and has been working as a local governance and community engagement specialist since 2005. During this time, she has worked in numerous countries, leading teams to provide research, monitoring & evaluation, policy analysis and program development support on a range of issues. She has published widely on issues of decentralisation, community engagement, local governance, livelihoods and markets, justice delivery and gender issues.
Timor-Leste Country Coordinator
Eugénia da Costa Correia
Ms. Correia is a post-graduate in Peace & Conflict studies from the National University of Timor-Lorosa’e (UNTL). She is a researcher, trainer and M&E specialist, with significant experience across a number of organisations including USAID, GIZ, CRS, Oxfam, Counterpart International, Peace Direct, Belun, and others. Her particular passion is in peace building, including how peace building principles can be applied to organisational development and conflict transformation. She is also the Executive Director of a research organization, focused on national history.
Egypt Country Coordinator
Sarah Moharram has an MA in Economic Change in the Arab Region, and has worked with different research institutes and NGOs since 2011. She brings strong quantitative and qualitative expertise, and has implemented and led numerous large projects, including monitoring and evaluation of projects being implemented in Syria, research projects on local market viability, and needs assessments. Her work has been across a variety of sectors, including education, FSL, WASH and capacity building for several INGOs, including Save the Children, People in Need, and World Vision. Her particular passion is working with more vulnerable sectors of the community, including children in need.
Clients say nice things about us
We have contracted with Bridging Peoples on a number of different occasions to provide technical support to our project’s local governance activities. Deborah’s intimate understanding of the context in Timor-Leste combined with her excellent technical knowledge are a winning combination. She has been able to apply these to support us with strategic planning, legislative analysis from a community perspective and to facilitate participative workshops to successfully engage local partners to explore and define their own perspectives on how to achieve inclusive local governance.
Carolyn Tanner, Chief of Party, Ba Distrito Project
UNFPA greatly appreciated the work of Bridging Peoples, which resulted in a quality piece of research with insightful findings and useful recommendations. Deborah and her team’s professionalism, deep understanding of the cultural context, strategic approach and strong analytical skills yielded a powerful result that will be useful for years to come.
John M. Pile, Country Representative – Timor-Leste
The Bridging Peoples team were flexible to an environment of changing needs, and worked with discretion, cultural sensitivity and a process to ensure people appreciated being heard. The report and recommendations were of high quality and relevance, while also being accessible and easy to read. We were very happy, and plan to work further with Bridging Peoples!
Kathy Richards, Country Director – Timor-Leste
IWDA has worked with Bridging Peoples on a number of occasions. It was a pleasure working with them. They were very professional and delivered timely, high quality work. They were warm and consultative, building good relationships with IWDA and our partners within a short time period. They bring an excellent level of analysis, particularly in contextualizing the findings and recommendations for the local context.
Georgia Ride, Program Manager
We were delighted to partner with the Bridging Peoples on the development of our Corruption Training Manual, which is now being used as a key activity for CEPAD. The Bridging Peoples’ team provided a depth of methodological experience and great ideas, creating a collaborative and engaging atmosphere from the beginning. The assistance provided remains an invaluable resource and we truly appreciated all that the team contributed to this very successful project.
João Boavida, Executive Director
The TOMAK program engaged Bridging Peoples in 2018 to conduct a gendered marketplace assessment of four marketplaces in Timor-Leste. Ably led by Deborah Cummins, Bridging Peoples brought a depth of experience, developing a robust methodology to thoughtfully capture the voices, experiences and aspirations of women marketplace vendors. We greatly appreciated the ease of communication and collaborative spirit of the team, and the resulting research presentations and report are something we can all be proud of.
Inga Mepham, International Gender Specialist
TOMAK Program (implemented in Timor-Leste by Adam Smith International)