Image of Rachel Sabates-Wheeler

Rachel Sabates-Wheeler

Research Fellow

Prof. Rachel Sabates-Wheeler is a Development Economist with extensive experience in rural development, institutional analysis, migration and social protection, including 2.5 years leading research on Land Policy in Albania and 2.5 years in Rwanda working as Chief of Research and Social Policy for UNICEF.  

A Research Fellow at the IDS since 2001, a Director of the Centre for Social Protection since 2006 and co-leader of the Rural Futures Cluster, Rachel’s primary geographic research focus is Eastern and Southern Africa – having worked in over 8 African countries.  Much of the analysis informing her work utilises mixed methods research and data analysis. She has led and been involved in a number of studies that explore understandings of risk and vulnerability both conceptually and empirically and has published numerous articles and books on these topics.

Through IDS, Rachel has worked for numerous international agencies, including DFID, EC, SIDA, UNICEF, WFP, FAO, ILO, the Land Tenure Center and the World Bank. She is currently an Executive Director of a large DFID-funded research grant on Action on Children’s Harmful Work in African Agriculture (ACHA).

Google Scholar



Action on Children’s Harmful Work in African Agriculture

Action on Children’s Harmful Work in African Agriculture (ACHA) is a seven-year, DFID-funded research programme that started in January 2020. The aim of the programme is to build evidence on: the forms, drivers, and experiences of children’s harmful work in African agriculture; ...


Centre for Development Impact

The Centre for Development Impact (CDI) contributes to learning and innovation in the field of impact evaluation. The Centre aims to improve the assessment of impact on the poor, particularly through the use of appropriate, mixed method, and robust evaluation designs.



Working Paper

Inclusive Development: Beyond Need, Not Creed

CREID Working Paper 1

This CREID paper explores the extent to which development, in its frames of reference, policy and practice, is sensitive and responsive to religious inequalities. The enquiry is guided by the question 'to what extent does international development thinking, and policy-making engage with freedom...

14 February 2020

Journal Article

Linking Social Rights to Active Citizenship for the Most Vulnerable: the Role of Rights and Accountability in the ‘Making’ and ‘Shaping’ of Social Protection

The European Journal of Development Research

Social protection has the potential to provide a key interface between states and citizens. We consider how the institutional framing and design of social protection can be adapted from top-down forms of provision to forms that stimulate vulnerable citizens to make rights-based claims and...

8 July 2019

Rachel Sabates-Wheeler’s recent work


DFID funds programme on Children’s Harmful Work in African Agriculture

The majority of children’s work in Africa is within the agricultural sector. However, there is insufficient evidence on the prevalence of harmful children’s work across different agricultural value chains, farming systems and agro-ecologies. Furthermore, little is understood about the...

16 October 2019

Press release

Action on children’s harmful work in African Agriculture

Identifying and reducing children’s harmful work in African agriculture is the aim of a new project led by the Institute of Development Studies and partners, announced today.  Awarded £8.3million over seven years, the research programme will initially focus on children and their families...

16 October 2019