Sarah Cechvala TrustWorks Global Geneva

Sarah Cechvala

Senior Associate

Sarah is a corporate social responsibility professional and experienced researcher and facilitator focused on systems analysis, conflict-sensitive business practice, heightened human rights due diligence, business and peace, and accountability for the aid sector. She specializes in stakeholder engagement, social risk assessments, and the application of conflict-sensitivity and conflict risk mitigation for corporate operations in fragile and conflict-affected settings.


With over 13 years of experience, Sarah works with corporate practitioners and communities in challenging environments to enhance company-community relations and to strengthen corporate social performance management systems. Her experience in conflict settings extends to humanitarian practitioners with a particular focus on accountability to affected communities, organizational behavior change, and participatory program design.


Previously, Sarah was the Managing Director of CDA Collaborative Learning, where she led engaged research and learning in the areas of responsible business and aid accountability. She has contributed to public knowledge on the topic of systems analysis and the role of business in conflict and peacebuilding, having developed tools and strategic frameworks focused on the topics. She has worked in more than 30 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America supporting private sector companies in industries such as oil and gas, mining, fast moving consumer goods, and commercial agriculture as well as aid agencies such as the UN, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, IRC, DRC, USAID BHA, among others. She has particularly robust experience in Myanmar, the Philippines, South Africa, and Kenya.


Currently, Sarah is a PhD Candidate in Political Science at the University of Oslo, based at the Centre for Development and the Environment in Oslo, Norway. Her PhD research applies systems analysis to understand and analyze the role and agency of small-medium enterprises in violent settings, such as the Cape Flats in South Africa and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, Philippines. Sarah holds an MA in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University and a BA in International Relations from Boston University.



Regional Specialization


Thematic Specialization

Conflict and systems analysis, conflict-sensitive business operations, heightened human rights due diligence, stakeholder engagement and company and community relations, private sector and peacebuilding and governance, and accountability for the aid sector.

Selected Publications

  • “Empowering Frontline Staff to Enable the Participation of Crisis-Affected People.” Learning Report. (2023)
  • The Voluntary Principles Initiative’s Conflict Analysis Tool for Companies. (2022)
  • Responding Amid Uncertainty and Managing Risk in Humanitarian Settings. (2022)
  • “What COVID-19 Has Taught Us About Doing Business During a Crisis: Takeaways from a Survey of Business Leaders and Managers in Seven Global Cities.” Harvard Business Review. With the Working Through Violence research team. (2021)
  • “Practicing Business and Peace? Considerations Overheard in the Field,”. In Jason Miklian, Rina Alluri, and John Katsos (eds.), Business, Peacebuilding, and Sustainable Development, New York: Routledge. (2019)
  • A Seat at the Table: Possibilities and Limitations of Private Sector Peacebuilding. CDA Collaborative Learning. (2018)
  • “Business and Armed Non-State Actors: Dilemmas, Challenges, and a Way Forward,” in The Journal of Business, Peace, and Sustainable Development. (2014)