Jennifer Obado Joel as over a decade of experience in policy research and academia, focusing on policy-centered research. Her core research interest is in urban and economic governance, accountability and transparency, evidence-based decision making, and more recently civic tech. Jennifer has worked on several donor-funded projects, including the UN, IDRC, DFID, USAID, EU, World-Bank, Open Society Foundations, and Habitat for Humanity.
Within the private sector, Jennifer has experience working on corporate social responsibility strategies in the Nigerian telecommunications industry. She was a visiting faculty on Informal Politics in Africa at the University of Hradec Kralove, the Czech Republic, and a Professorial Lecturer in African Studies at the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University (GW). Prior to joining GW, she was a researcher at the Centre on International Development and Governance at the Urban Institute, Washington D.C, where she was the Sub-Principal Investigator for the Hewlett Foundation, Canadian and UK-Aid funded research project on ‘Patterns of Economic Growth and Women’s Economic Empowerment in Nigeria and Ghana. Her research has informed several programs and policies in Nigeria including the gender components of cash-transfer programs under the Nigerian Social Safety Nets Project implemented by the Nigerian Presidency, and socio-economic reintegration of returned migrants by the UN-International Organization for Migration in Nigeria.
In Nigeria, she runs Enyenaweh, a research and innovation think-tank dedicated to generating new evidence to support program and policy design, implementation, and evaluation. Jennifer has received several awards for her research, including a certificate of appreciation from the National Intelligence University (formerly National Defense Intelligence College and the Joint Military Intelligence College, Washington, Washington D.C. She was also the luncheon guest speaker for the US- Nigeria Bi-National Trade Commission meeting in February 2020. She has also taught classes on macroeconomic policies in Africa as a guest speaker at the Foreign Service Institute, US Department of State Currently, she is a doctoral researcher at the National Center for Integrated Coastal Research at the University of Central Florida, where she is completing her Ph.D. in Security Studies.
Jennifer holds a Bachelors and Master’s degree in Sociology and Public Policy from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, and Central European University Budapest, Hungary respectively; Certificates in Health Law, Policy and Ethics from the University of Latvia; as well as Monitoring and Evaluation and Data Quality from the Bloomberg School of Public Health, John Hopkins University. In June 2021, she was awarded the Gender Equity and Governance Fellowship at the Hewlett Foundation.