• Paula Alionyte

Meet the team – Louise Jenkins

What did you want to be when you were a child?

I was obsessed with tennis from the age of about 7. I would spend summers glued to the screen when Wimbledon was on, dreaming one day I would be just like my idol; Steffi Graf. I played right up until I was about 17 but a back injury and the shift from school to university meant I slowly stopped playing. I’m hoping to pick the racket up again this summer as I really miss playing and there is nothing better than smashing a ball around as a form of release and self-care!

What happened in-between?

Following my A-Levels I studied for my BA Sociology. I had applied to do a combined course with Women’s Studies however, just before starting they informed me they were closing the women studies department, whilst disappointed I continued with a straight BA Sociology, picking women’s studies modules at any opportunity I could. From university, I worked within the women’s sector in the UK focusing on ending violence against women in training, front-line support to policy and development roles. After 5 years, I left London to travel Kenya before taking a place with VSO working in Tanzania on women’s and girls’ rights and gender equality, where I had the pleasure of working alongside and learning from incredible feminists.

What is your role now?

I’m now an Independent Consultant in Women’s and Girls’ Rights, specialising in ending violence against women and girls and achieving gender equality. It has been an incredible journey so far as I have been fortunate to work with some great and inspiring clients. I love the diversity and flexibility the work gives me especially as I am half way through doing a part-time MA in Gender, Violence and Conflict. My research is focusing on exploring older women’s (un) spoken experiences of discrimination and violence in Tanzania. I recently returned from my research trip in Tanzania and I am currently in the data analysis stage with some exciting themes occurring already. It is going to be an interesting few months as I continue to process the data and write the dissertation but I am excited to see what appears and where this may take me next!

Why have joined the collective?

Throughout my career I have had the opportunity to work alongside both larger and smaller NGO’s. The passion and drive is no different between the two but budgets and capacity constraints can often hinder smaller NGO’s from growing. I agree wholeheartedly with Fair Development’s ethos that smaller NGO’s shouldn’t be excluded from accessing affordable and appropriate expertise to enable them to grow to their full potential.

I think the collective is a great social enterprise made up of incredibly talented experts in their own fields which I am really excited to be a part of and look forward to collaborated with a variety of NGO’s!