Rachel Gordon

Rachel Gordon

Rachel Gordon conducted research for and managed the South Sudan and Uganda programs of the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium (SLRC) at Feinstein from 2012 through 2016. She also conducted research on teenage pregnancy with SLRC Sierra Leone program and leads the consortium’s Gender Task Team.

While in graduate school, Rachel worked on several Feinstein projects as a research assistant. She has worked with MIT/USAID’s Urban Resilience in Chronic Violence project and with the International Gender and Disaster Network. She has also worked on risk and crisis management for several international education and development organizations.

Rachel has a B.A., cum laude, in international studies and history from Macalester College in St. Paul, MN. She has dual master’s degrees, with a focus on urban resilience and marginalized populations, from The Fletcher School and the department of Urban and Environmental Policy & Planning at Tufts University.

Feinstein Publications

Key Lessons Learned on International Engagement

This paper explains that aid actors in South Sudan have largely failed because they applied technical solutions to political problems.

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Livelihoods and conflict in South Sudan

This briefing paper recommends a rethink in the way that aid actors approach questions of recovery and livelihood. Rather than a simplistic either/ or approach, what is needed is a much more localized and deeper analysis of conflict, inter-communal grievances and inter-communal relations.

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Complexities of Service Delivery and State Building

This paper describes the findings from research carried out in several areas of South Sudan in the context of armed conflict and raiding. The findings show that despite state-building efforts, service delivery remained inadequate in remote areas and that the interface between service delivery and people’s perceptions of the state is complex.

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Trajectories of international engagement with state and local actors: Evidence from South Sudan
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What can international aid policymakers and practitioners learn from the history of international engagement with South Sudan prior to and during the current conflict? This paper traces shifts in international…

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Change the context not the girls: Improving efforts to reduce teenage pregnancy in Sierra Leone

In 2013 Sierra Leone ranked among the ten nations with the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in the world. If the Government of Sierra Leone’s renewed National Strategy for the Reduction of Teenage Pregnancy is to succeed, a more contextually tailored approach is needed. This report makes five recommendations.

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Questions and Challenges Raised by a Large-Scale Humanitarian Operation in South Sudan

This working paper analyzes the relationships between international humanitarian aid agencies and the government structures they engage with in South Sudan.

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Looking back to look ahead? Reviewing key lessons from Operation Lifeline Sudan and past humanitarian operations in South Sudan

This paper reviews large-scale humanitarian operations in South Sudan, focusing on what lessons can be learnt from Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS). The paper is structured as follows: The first section…

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Briefing Paper: Recovery in Northern Uganda How are people surviving post-conflict?

In 2012/13, the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium (SLRC) implemented the first round of an original sub-regional panel survey in northern Uganda aimed to produce data on livelihoods, access to and…

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Briefing Paper: The impact of serious crimes during the war on households today in Northern Uganda

In 2012/13, the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium (SLRC) implemented the first round of an original sub-regional panel survey in northern Uganda aimed to produce data on livelihoods, access to and…

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Briefing Paper: The war-wounded and recovery in Northern Uganda

In 2012/13, the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium (SLRC) implemented the first round of an original sub-regional panel survey in northern Uganda aimed to produce data on livelihoods, access to and…

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Surveying livelihoods, service delivery and governance – baseline evidence from Uganda

In 2012/13, SLRC implemented the first round of an original sub-regional panel survey in Uganda aimed to produce data on livelihoods, access to and experience of basic services, exposure to…

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Livelihoods, access to services and perceptions of governance: An analysis of Uror and Nyirol counties, South Sudan

This report is based on qualitative fieldwork conducted in Uror and Nyirol Counties, Jonglei State, South Sudan and a household survey conducted by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)…

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In the eye of the storm: An analysis of internal conflict in South Sudan’s Jonglei State
By Rachel Gordon | March 2014

The violent political crisis that has engulfed South Sudan since mid-December 2013 has awakened the world to the fundamental lack of stability in the world’s newest country. Unfortunately, the situation…

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Feinstein Research Projects

Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium Generating stronger evidence on conflict situations

The Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium aims to generate a stronger evidence base on how people in conflict-affected situations make a living, access basic services like health care, education and water, and perceive and engage with governance at local and national levels.

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News Items

Rachel Gordon discusses Uganda research at the 19th Annual Sustainable Development Conference
December 8, 2016

Rachel Gordon discussed the results of Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium (SLRC) projects at the 19th Annual Sustainable Development Conference hosted by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute in Islamabad, Pakistan. On…

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Feinstein researchers publish on Uganda, disabilities, and war crimes in Third World Thematics
December 1, 2016

On December 1, Feinstein researchers published an article in Third World Thematics. The article, “Disability and recovery from war in northern Uganda,” explores the prevalence and impact of disabilities resulting from…

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Rachel Gordon presents panel at Nordic Africa Days conference
September 23, 2016

On Friday September 23, Feinstein’s Rachel Gordon presented a panel at the Nordic Africa Days, the Nordic Africa Institute’s biannual conference. The panel—titled: Gender, sexuality, and violence during and after…

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Feinstein participates in event asking: are girls the answer?
September 21, 2016

On Tuesday September 20 the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) hosted an event “Delivering change: beyond investing in girls.” The event centered around the broad array of development initiatives that have emerged focused on empowering girls….

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Dallin Van Leuven, Dyan Mazurana, and Rachel Gordon publish chapter in Foreign Fighters under International Law and Beyond
April 1, 2016

Foreign Fighters under International Law and Beyond is a collection of contributions from outstanding experts in the field  that tackles the important and underexplored phenomenon of foreign fighters. Dallin, Dyan,…

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Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium releases report to inform reduction of teen pregnancy in Sierra Leone
January 5, 2016

With one of the world’s highest teenage pregnancy rates and the Ebola-imposed constraints on the education and health sectors and the economy as a whole, the Government of Sierra Leone…

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Mazurana, Gordon and Van Leuven preview book chapter on gender and ISIL
August 20, 2015

Dr. Dyan Mazurana, FIC’s Research Director on Gender, Youth, and Community, along with Researcher Rachel Gordon and Dallin Van Leuven, have authored a series of blog posts previewing their latest…

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Dan Maxwell, Rachel Gordon and SLRC colleagues release new Working Paper on South Sudan
May 28, 2015

Dr. Dan Maxwell, Rachel Gordon and their colleagues on the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium (SLRC) project have just released a new working paper on questions and challenges raised by a…

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FIC faculty and researchers participate in ‘Lean Research’ initiative
April 16, 2015

On April 15, 2015, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, MIT D-Lab, and Feinstein International Center co-hosted Lean Lab, a day-long convening to reflect on the Lean Research initiative…

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