CoST International Secretariat


The International Secretariat is responsible for the management of CoST and for supporting the participating countries by providing technical, managerial and administrative assistance.  The International Secretariat is hosted by Engineers Against Poverty who draw upon a number of part-time advisors from Integrity Action and the Communications Hub.

Director: Petter Matthews is a senior international development and built environment specialist with over thirty years’ experience. He is the Executive Director of Engineers Against Poverty, an independent NGO that works with government, industry and civil society to fight poverty and promote sustainable development. His early career involved periods as a building sub-contractor and construction manager. He has worked for Government, international agencies and NGOs in many parts of Africa, Asia and Oceania. Petter on the Advisory Board of the ‘Engineering, Social Justice and Peace’ Journal.

Senior Policy Advisor: 
Dr. Jill Wells currently works with Engineers Against Poverty, a London-based NGO. Jill is a social scientist with many years of experience in research and development work focused around the construction sector. She has spent at least two years working in each of the main stakeholder groups – a private building contractor, a government Ministry of Planning, an international organisation (the ILO), various research and academic institutions, and most recently in an NGOs. 

Senior Policy Advisor: 
Soren Kirk Jensen comes from a background in international development and public administration and has for many years worked on governance issues focusing on transparency and accountability in the management of public finances. More recently he has specialised in public investment management and infrastructure governance. Soren joined CoST on a part-time basis in September 2016 after having run his own consultancy specialising in research, policy analysis, technical assistance and training on public financial management issues for almost a decade. He is currently leading on research around the value-add of the initiative for high-income countries. Soren is also an Associate Fellow at the Chatham House Africa Programme. Geographically, Soren has worked extensively in Southern Africa, especially in the Portuguese speaking countries in the region and previously he had a strong focus on Central America. Soren has published widely on political economy, PFM and taxation issues especially linked to the countries where he is specialised.

Programme Manager:
 John Hawkins is a specialist in UK and international procurement policy and governance in the construction sector. He has extensive experience in researching the interaction between infrastructure procurement and social development, and in developing transparent procurement and contract policy for construction. Since 2008, John has played a central role in the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST), as Policy Advisor to the International Secretariat for the pilot phase and now as Programme Manager where he is responsible for developing country programmes in partnership with the MSGs and engaging with countries who are interested in joining CoST. He has recently drafted the Guidance Note series on establishing and implementing a national programme. John joined the Engineers Against Poverty team in November 2011 to take on the role of Programme Manager. Before this he was responsible for knowledge creation and transfer in civil engineering best practice at the Institution of Civil Engineers.

Associate Director: 
Bernadine Fernz is a qualified barrister and well versed in the issues of good governance, transparency and accountability.  Before joining EAP, Bernadine worked with the Overseas Development Institute, where she was responsible for the Climate Funds Update, an innovative initiative designed to increase the transparency and accountability of public climate finance flows and provide insights and analysis on global climate finance architecture and instruments. She has worked extensively in the private sector, focussing on both renewable and conventional energy technologies and infrastructure.  Bernadine also has experience with mega-infrastructure projects; as a consultant with Deloitte & Touché, she worked on Iskandar Malaysia, a regional mega-infrastructure and economic development initiative within Southern Johor.  Her experience includes extensive research on Masdar City in Abu Dhabi and she has a keen interest in sustainable cities. Since 2012, Bernadine has played a key role as initially Policy Advisor and now Associate Director to the International Secretariat on the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST).  Her remit includes supporting the development of country programmes in partnership with the MSGs and engaging with countries who are interested in joining CoST.  

Communications Manager: 
Eleanor Morgan joined CoST in October 2015 as the Communications Manager. With five years’ experience in international development programmes, her primary role is to develop the organisation’s communication strategy and engage stakeholder in its activities. She also supports CoST country programmes to develop their own communications platforms. Eleanor is an experienced bilingual communications professional, with a diverse background in international development covering infrastructure, enterprise, legal aid and healthcare. Her previous role involved leading multi-stakeholder communications for Euclid Network, the European community of civil society leaders and social entrepreneurs. Eleanor has also worked in France and holds a BA in French Studies from the University of Sheffield.

Programme Officer: 
Mia Jeannot joined CoST in October 2015 and is the Programme Officer. With three years’ experience in international development programmes, her primary role at the International Secretariat is to conduct and manage the monitoring and evaluation of the CoST programme. Mia is also the CoST Company Secretary. Before joining CoST, Mia was a team leader on the International Citizenship Service (ICS) programme for Restless Development Zambia. On the ground, she led the implementation of Restless Developments strategy in rural communities, overseeing volunteers, monitoring progress against project objectives and managing budgets. Mia has also worked in Brazil and India and holds a BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of York.

Finance Officer: Sean Henderson is the Finance Officer at Cost. He joined the organisation in June 2016. Sean has worked in the not for profit sector in Belfast and London for over 13 years. He graduated from University College Dublin with a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce. Before joining CoST, Sean worked with The Ireland Funds as Financial Controller and Events Manager for six years.

Civil Society Advisor: Claire Schouten is a Programme Director at Integrity Action, coordinating a network of civil society organisations monitoring aid and reconstruction in post-war countries. Prior to that, Clair worked in the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as researching corruption and humanitarian assistance as a consultant with the Overseas Development Institute.

Communications Advisor: Lara Samuels is the Director of The Communications Hub, a communications consultancy which specialises in strategy and planning. Having begun her career at a global advertising agency, Lara went on to develop particular experience across the charity and public sectors. Her roles have included running public-facing Government information campaigns at the Central Office of Information, leading work on volunteering as Campaigns Director at Media Trust, and working with charities to improve awareness and understanding.

Date Published: 11 December 2013
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