Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), DFID

Climate and development go hand to hand. Yet, foreign aid operates in silos. That was until UK Department for International Development (DFID) decided to experiment combining funding from different sectors into the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN). Our Principal Consultant, Isabela Souza, has played a number of roles in this programme when she was working at PwC, the lead consortium partner who was responsible for implementing CDKN.

Even before CDKN was operative, she engaged in setting up the consortium and bringing her previous employers – LEAD International – to be part of the diverse group of NGOs responsible for running the engagement on the ground. Besides designing CDKN’s proposal, Isabela also shaped the programme’s first strategy, business plan and the preparation of the first annual budget.

Not a small task, considering CDKN was, at the time, a £80 million international aid programme led by a business consultancy (PwC) and five NGOs! Isabela’s portfolio career, ranging from the private sector, consultancies, academia and NGOs gave her legitimacy to genuinely engage with her counter parts in the programme in a peer-based approach and to collaborate at every step of the way.

After the inception phase, Isabela became CDKN’s Global Manager responsible for the Asia technical assistance portfolio. In her two years at CDKN, she became the Research and Technical Assistance Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean. Isabela was responsible for the oversight of a £4 million portfolio, with an additional role as the project management of the Peru and El Salvador programmes.


Isabela Souza