Dr. Laila Smith has been the Director of the Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results for Anglophone Africa for the past three years. Prior to moving into the evaluation arena, Laila worked for 20 years in development both in Canada, South Africa and within Southern Africa. With a PhD in urban geography, Laila has focused her professional interests on addressing inequality in service delivery in the face of rapid urbanization. She has spent over a decade in the South African water sector wearing a variety of hats ranging from: research in public private partnerships; regulating water services for the City of Johannesburg; developing and implementing bottom-up methodologies for citizen engagement in the regulation of municipal water and sanitation services; and as Head of Policy for the Mvula Trust, steering civil society policy engagement in strengthening local government capacity to deliver services. Following her work at Mvula, Laila began managing the Australian Government’s Water and Sanitation investments in Southern Africa with a focus on accelerating water and sanitation services in rapidly growing small towns and in informal settlements in Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia.
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