Jessica Ayesha Northey

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Jessica Ayesha Northey

Research Associate

My Research Vision

I have worked for ten years in countries dealing with environmental, political and developmental challenges in Africa and in Europe. My focus is on associations in these societies which strive to provide practical solutions and foster trust between actors.  I seek to understand their work and to communicate positive examples of cooperation. I hope to develop further research initiatives which can build bridges between researchers, policy makers and activists to create more enabling environments and greater trust between communities, associations and the political systems in which they work.


Jessica Northey gained her PhD from the European University Institute, Florence, where she studied relations between the EU and Algerian charitable associations, examining, through extensive fieldwork, the impact of external funding on their work and role in political life. As a researcher, she is interested in the work of charities and local activists in different political systems and their potential for building trust and dialogue. She has carried out numerous research assignments and electoral observation missions for international organisations, including the EU, the Westminster Foundation and the World Bank. She has worked with civil society organisations and institutions in Madagascar, Algeria, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Mauritania. She is a country expert with the Bertelsmann Foundation and is associated with the Borderlands Project, which explores the links between the EU and MENA countries. In Florence, she created a network of researchers who work on the role of artists and activists in redefining ideas of the nation in the Mediterranean area. She is involved in local environmental campaigns in the UK and advises the newly created East African Green Federation on its strategy plans and international links.


  • Support to the project conception, language editing, translation and interpreting for conferences and publications of the RELIGIOWEST programme and the Director of the Mediterranean Programme at the RSCAS (2010- 2013)
  • Interviews with local and international TV and print news agencies on the Presidential and legislative elections in Madagascar, 2013. Available on YouTube
  • Successfully co-managed the EU’s programmes to support Algerian development associations  including coordination of a series of training programmes for Algerian charities on project cycle management and conception; project management; and financial management and reporting 2007-2009


  • Borderlands (ERC funded): Challenging the notion of Fortress Europe, the research project ‘BORDERLANDS: Boundaries, Governance, and Power in the European Union's Relations with North Africa and the Middle East’ investigates relations between the European Union and MENA countries through the concept of borderlands. 
  • ReligioWest (ERC funded): ReligioWest studies how different western states in Europe and North America are redefining their relationship with religions under the challenge of increasing religious activism in the public sphere due to new religious movements and Islam.
  • Cooperation links with the East African Green Federation (WFD funded): Report to the Green Party of England and Wales following interviews and exchanges with the national parties, regional body, NGOs, activists, donors, in Kenya and Uganda, on potential support East African Green Parties and the Federation, 2014.
  • Algeria, Nation and Transnationalism 1988 -2010 (IRCHSS funded): The research project engages with the transnational in Algerian cultural production. It argues that in response to official views of the nation, writers and film-makers have sought to look beyond a nation-centred narrative and to situate Algeria within broader regional and global networks of identity, in particular the Mediterranean.
  • Evaluation, and conception of a second phase, of the EU’s support to Mauritanian Civil Society Organisations (EU funded), 2010: Evaluation of the EU’s support 2006-2011 to Mauritanian NGOs, involving focus groups and workshops with over 200 local NGOs, authorities and donor agencies.
  • Shaping Change, Strategies of development and Transformation (Bertelsman Foundation): The Bertelsman Transformation Index is a part of the Shaping Change Project, for which country reports are prepared on a bi-annual basis. I was contracted to produce the 2014 Algeria Country Report for the Foundation. 
Research breakout image

Research Associate

Building: Technology Park, IV5