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Curriculum Vitae of Avril James

Profile

As an experienced aid professional, I have significant knowledge of programme implantation and
management, having acquired this through my experience in both large-scale emergencies and in
development contexts. As I have worked sectors such as Education, Food Security, Livelihoods, WASH,
Shelter, NFIs, Nutrition, Protection and Coordination, I am extremely familiar with best practices and
minimum standards across these sectors. I am highly skilled at proposal design and development as
well as donor reporting, with solid knowledge of donor compliance, financial management and supply
chain processes. I have worked with a wide range of donors including ECHO, USAID, DFID, UNHCR,
UNICEF, WFP, FAO, OCHA and many private donors and foundations. Having worked in Greece,
Sierra Leone, Turkey, Belgium and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, I am seeking a new challenge
by moving to a programme management role.

• Experienced aid professional working in large scale emergencies and development
programmes across the Middle East and West Africa.
• Previously worked as a teacher and counsellor in the Education sector.
• In-depth knowledge of donor reporting, compliance and financial management
• Skilled at proposal design, programme implantation and programme management.

Professional Qualifications

Proyecto Kalu: May 2014- September 2015
Master in International Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid (online)

Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland: September 2009 – September 2010
MA International Relations, Honours

NUI Maynooth, Maynooth, Ireland: September 2004- June 2008
BA European Studies (French, German and Spanish), Honours

Professional Experience

Organisation: International Rescue Committee, Athens, Greece: January 2017- present

Job Title: Grants Manager (short-term contract)

Solely responsible for the management of the IRC Hellas grants portfolio (approximately €25 million for
2016-17), with a strong focus on donor compliance and financial management, as well as proposal
development and donor reporting.
Key outputs have included:
• Designing, developing and submitting project proposals valued between €500,000 and €10
million, covering the following sectors: WASH, Protection, Economic Recovery and
Development. Donors included ECHO, UNHCR, and a range of private donors.
• Implementing grants in compliance with both donor and IRC’s internal standards- also ensuring
these standards are shared with other staff through the development of internal memos and
guides.
• Carrying out monthly financial reviews with the Senior Management Team on a programmatic
and project-based level, including Budget Versus Actual analyses.
• Building the capacities of national staff through providing trainings on project design, proposal
and report writing and donor compliance.

Organisation: GOAL: August 2015- 2016 (Syria, based in Turkey) and September- December
2016 (Sierra Leone)

Job Title: Grants Manager

Responsible for the management of GOAL Syria’s grants portfolio (approximately $150 million in 2016)
and acted as Grants Coordinator from September- December 2016. As GOAL’s largest country
programme, and due to the context, this role had a heavy emphasis on donor reporting and proposal
development across the following sectors: WASH, FSL, Shelter, NFIs, Cash and Nutrition. I was also
responsible for writing GOAL Global’s biggest ever proposal for a $85 million food security project in
northern Syria.
Other key outputs included:
• Supported programme coordinators by taking on elements of programme management
(mainly in emergency food security responses) by monitoring implementing partners’
activities, workplans and financial spend.
• Development and submission of proposals and reports to the following large-scale donors:
USAID Food for Peace, WFP, UNHCR, Norwegian Church Aid, OCHA Humanitarian Pooled
Fund and FAO, as well as supporting the Grants Coordinator on proposals to DFID and ECHO.
• Increased my knowledge of MEAL through closely working with the MEAL team to ensure
programme quality and accuracy of data recorded.
• Worked with implementing partners (5 Syrian NGOs) to build capacities by providing trainings
on proposal and donor reporting.
• Recruited and line-managed the Programme Support Officer.

During my assignment with GOAL in Sierra Leone I was responsible for managing GOAL SL’s grants
portfolio (approx. €20 million in 2016). Bringing my expertise from the Syria response, I mainly focused
on improving overall grant management processes in GOAL SL, as well as proposal development.
Key outputs included:
• Design, development and submission of proposals across a range of sectors, including WASH,
Livelihoods and Protection, with a heavy focus on Education projects (both formal and non-
formal education).
• Creation and maintenance of grant management tools such as reporting calendars, funding
trackers, templates, etc.
• Represented GOAL at NGO Forum and donor meetings.
• Built capacities of GOAL and local sub-grantee staff by giving trainings on record-keeping and
donor reporting.

Organisation: DG ECHO (Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection), Brussels, Belgium: March- July
2015

Job Title: Blue Book Stagiaire

As a Trainee in the Specific Thematic Policies Unit, I had the opportunity to increase my knowledge of
how aid functions at a high level, as well as familiarize myself with ECHO internal processes. I worked
on projects across several sectors, including Food Assistance, Shelter, Mine Action, Missing Persons
and Human Rights.
Key outputs included:
• Researching and writing ECHO’s contribution to the 2015 Food Assistance Convention
Annual Report by analyzing over 200 FSL projects, as well as compiling and editing
contributions from other donors.
• Representing ECHO at a range of external meetings and fora such as the Food Assistance
Convention biannual meeting in London, Council of Europe Working Groups and meetings with
prospective implementing partners.
• Prepared and presented briefings to the European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and
Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides.
• Supported the drafting of ECHO’s Cash Compendium, which provides guidance on the usage
of Multi-Purpose Cash Transfers.

Organisation: I’lam Centre, Nazareth, Israel: April 2014- February 2015

Job Title: International Relations Manager

Responsible for I’lam’s external relations, mainly working on donor relations and communications, while
all the while increasing my knowledge of civil rights issues pertaining to the media and the Palestinian
Community in Israel.
Key outputs included:
• Development and submission of project proposals ranging between $500,000 and $1 million to
several funding bodies, including USAID, EIDHR, EUPFP and private foundations.
• Handling external communications i.e. drafting press releases, translating and editing reports
in English, writing and distributing the monthly newsletter.

Organisation: High Schools International: August 2012- September 2013 and December 2013-
April 2014

Job Title: Student Counsellor

This role involved the daily management of an international education programme with a strong focus
on liaising with partner agencies, educational establishments and host families.
Key outputs included:
• Individual case management which included carrying out assessments and placements.
• Acted as legal guardian for the teenage students, taking responsibility for their welfare while in
Ireland.

Organisation: Teach for Palestine, Nablus, the Occupied Palestinian Territories: September-
December 2013

Job Title: Volunteer Teacher

In this role, I taught English in a Non-Formal Education after-school programme in Balata camp to
students aged 8-14 years.
Key outputs included:
• Designed an English curriculum and lesson plans to ensure strategic learning objectives were
achieved in a culturally-appropriate manner.

Organisation/School: Gael-Choláiste Chill Dara, Naas, Co. Kildare: September 2010- June 2012

Job Title: Teacher and Head of the German and Spanish departments

In this role I taught French, German and Spanish through Irish up to Leaving Cert. Higher Level, while
also taking on extra responsibilities in my role as Head of the German and Spanish departments.
Key outputs included:
• Designed appropriate and stimulating lesson plans for the varied range of young people and
developed students’ interests and abilities through creative teaching methods.
• Coached and mentored students through state examinations, achieving a high pass rate.

Further Education

Project Management for Development Professionals: March 2016
• Week-long intensive course in project management for the development and emergency aid
sectors.

Languages

English (native speaker), Irish (fluent), French (fluent), German (basic), Spanish (basic)

References

Anna Fraenzel, Head of Programmes, GOAL Sierra Leone, afraenzel@sl.goal.ie

Lea Krivchenia, former Head of Programmes, GOAL Syria, lea.krivchenia@gmail.com

Personal Information
Address: 16 Ailesbury Park, Newbridge, Co. Kildare, Ireland
Skype: avril.james87
Email: avril.james@alumni.nuim.ie