As Elrha’s CEO, Jess has developed and led the organisation from its early beginnings in 2009 to its place today as a leading global actor in humanitarian research and innovation. Jess works closely with our Board of Trustees and leadership team to ensure we have the vision, strategy, talent and experience to deliver transformative results in humanitarian action.
Jess serves on a number of strategic Boards for UK research and innovation, including the UKs Disaster Research Group, and the Strategic Advisory Group for the Global Challenge Research Fund.
Jess is passionate about challenging the lack of investment in research and innovation in the humanitarian system, and is committed to working with others to make sure the the challenges faced by people affected by crises get the attention they need, so they can be addressed by the very best that global science, research and innovation can offer. Jess drives Elrha to explore and demonstrate how meaningful partnerships between people affected by crises and scientific and innovative communities can become transformative agents of change and ultimately realise their right to humanitarian action informed by evidence of what works.
Thaïs joined Elrha in May 2021 as Director of Finance and Operations, being responsible for the provision of effective operational support (HR, finance, procurement, admin etc.) to teams across Elrha. She is also responsible for ensuring Elrha meets donor and statutory requirements and is accountable to our Board and other stakeholders.
Prior to joining Elrha, Thaïs worked for more than 20 years with different international humanitarian organisations, including Save the Children UK more recently. During this time, she worked for nearly a decade in humanitarian crisis in the Middle East, Southern East Asia and East Africa, as project manager and country director. Working from London, she provided expertise and support to country programmes in fundraising, funding management and donor relationships.
Starting to work as a volunteer in an international NGO while still at university, she has never thought of working in any other sector. She brings her long and varied experience to ensure the organisation has what is needed to run activities smoothly.
Jean works cross organisationally to ensure the key lessons and outcomes from our work, reach the right audiences to influence positive change. She is passionate about ensuring that people affected by crises get the right help when they need it most.
Previously Jean worked at Global Citizen, ActionAid and Save the Children, influencing and mobilising multiple actors to create systematic change.
Anne has been the Head of our Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises (R2HC) programme since 2015. Whilst she oversees all elements of the programme, the major focus of her work is to ensure that research outputs influence policy and practice.
Before joining Elrha Anne spent more than 20 years managing international development programmes in the South-East Asia region. She has a public health background specialising in sexual and reproductive health and rights, and has worked for many years with NGOs and the United Nations Population Fund to increase access to services for marginalised and excluded people.
Anne brings to her role a commitment to using evidence to improve humanitarian practice.
As Portfolio Manager in the R2HC programme, Simon oversees the relationships with R2HC’s portfolio of funded research studies and works with the R2HC Funding Committee to manage our grant assessment processes.
Simon previously founded the international development programme at The Waterloo Foundation where he managed a diverse portfolio of grants. He is a funding committee member for BBC Children in Need in Wales, and is a Trustee of the Welsh Centre for International Affairs (WCIA) where he helps oversee the Wales-Africa (Hub Cymru Africa) programme.
Simon’s experience in managing grant partnerships is helping R2HC funded grantees to deliver cutting-edge research in humanitarian contexts.
Jess joined Elrha in 2020 as a Senior Programme Officer within the R2HC team. She supports with the oversight of R2HC’s portfolio of funded research studies and with the grant assessment processes.
Jess has over 10 years of experience in the development sector, working in monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning (MEAL) and programme coordination within a variety of iNGOs, including Meningitis Research Foundation, Restless Development and Riders for Health.
Jess has a particular interest in ensuring meaningful engagement with people affected by crises is central to our work.
Claudia joined R2HC as a senior programme officer in 2021 to support the management of R2HC’s portfolio of funded research studies and support the application process to this fund.
Claudia joined R2HC from Elrha’s Humanitarian Innovation Fund, where she was a programme officer supporting the HIF’s innovation grant-making in the areas of GBV, disability and older age inclusion, and scale. Prior to joining Elrha, Claudia worked for an international humanitarian and development agency in corporate and foundation fundraising where she helped build relationships with donors, and supported grants around the world – from emergency response to clean energy initiatives to impact investing.
She has an MA in International Development and is passionate about the role that research and innovation can play improving the lives of people around the world.
Cordelia is the Research Impact Manager for the RH2C programme. She joined Elrha in 2019 and has responsibility for supporting and facilitating R2HC grantees in achieving impact through their research. She also works with the RH2C team to engage with and strengthen communities of humanitarian policy and practice, to promote collaboration and increase uptake of evidence.
Cordelia came to Elrha after seven years in the international development sector with a track record in policy research, engagement, influencing, and communications. Previously she was Senior Policy and Engagement Adviser at Development Initiatives, where she led policy and advocacy for the ‘Financing for Development’ workstream.
Cordelia loves to meet new people from all around the world, learn from others, and build connections that can inspire positive change in the world.
Cecilie leads Elrha’s team of innovation managers, supporting the team to deliver high quality innovation processes across the HIF’s thematic areas of work. She also manages HIF’s WASH initiative and has been part of strengthening Elrha’s focus on uptake, adoption and scaling of innovation, developing the first ever catalogue of humanitarian WASH innovations.
Cecilie has worked with innovation in environmental technology, charity programming and civil society activism, and before joining Elrha in 2016 she advised charities and funders on strategy, evidence and innovation at think tank and consultancy NPC.
Cecilie is particularly interested in how humanitarian innovation can become more responsive to the needs of people affected by crises and how it can become a vehicle for participation and accountability in the sector.
Ian is an innovation management and strategic communications specialist, with over 10 years’ experience in the international development and humanitarian sectors. He is passionate about harnessing the right tools and methods at the right time in support of humanitarian practitioners and social entrepreneurs looking to solve complex challenges.
Ian leads our work on scale as well as the Humanitarian Innovation Guide, and has been instrumental in our drive to place meaningful engagement with affected communities at the centre of humanitarian innovation through our partnership with the Asian Disaster Reduction and Response Network.
In previous roles, Ian has led and worked on brand projects, digital campaigns and content strategy and development at Bond, Save the Children, Oxford University’s Refugee Studies Centre and Oxfam. He holds an MSc in Globalisation and Development from the University of Manchester and a BSc in Disaster Management and Technology from the University of Birmingham.
Angela leads the gender based violence (GBV) area of work for the Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF).
Prior to joining Elrha, Angela worked in innovation for the humanitarian sector with a focus on design thinking, facilitation/capacity strengthening and innovation management for the UN World Food Programme (WFP)’s Innovation Accelerator, various Country Offices, and the ETC Cluster. Before working for humanitarian contexts, Angela consulted internationally for the global health sector, working with Population Services International (PSI) as a trainer and technical advisor in human-centered design (HCD) and behaviour change communications for healthcare providers while focusing primarily on sexual and reproductive health (SRH).
Abi joined the team in 2019 as one of our Innovation Managers, and leads our work on localisation (primarily through our partnership with the Asian Disaster Reduction and Response Network) while also supporting our work on scaling innovation.
Before joining the Elrha team Abi worked for a social impact consultancy firm where her work focused on supporting non- profits to develop value-oriented strategies and financially resilient business models. Previous roles have led her to Kathmandu where she edited Managing Humanitarian Innovation, a field guide for humanitarians, and to Geneva developing partnerships for the Global Humanitarian Lab.
Abi is excited to play a role in ensuring that innovation fulfils its potential to continually improve humanitarian action, better meeting the needs of people affected by crises. She believes we can do this through embedding better models and more effective collaboration – within communities, with aid workers, within aid agencies and with researchers.
Ruth joined Elrha in 2020 and is an Innovation Manager leading on the WASH area of work our HIF programme. She also supports our work on scaling innovations.
Before joining us Ruth worked for a non-profit consultancy designing and scaling innovative financing programmes in the WASH, health and education sectors across East and West Africa. She has also worked in monitoring and evaluation and research roles in WASH and provided technical assistance to the government of Sierra Leone for two years.
Ruth is interested in how collaboration between different actors in the humanitarian sector can enable solutions to complex problems and is excited to play a role in achieving this.
Seema joined Elrha in 2020 as an Innovation Manager leading our Humanitarian Innovation Fund’s work on community-led innovation. This work focuses on putting people who have experienced crises at the centre of the process to lead on designing and scaling innovations.
Before joining us, Seema worked in global health philanthropy and implementation of solutions to combat various forms of malnutrition globally. She specifically focused on sustainable market solutions for micronutrient malnutrition and building a portfolio strategy for and investing in research and community-led innovation solutions for prevention of acute malnutrition.
Seema is passionate about empowering people and communities to design solutions that work for them and is excited to contribute to this endeavour here at Elrha.
Björn joined Elrha in late 2020 to develop the support offer of our Humanitarian Innovation Fund, including new tools and resources for our grantees and the wider humanitarian innovation community.
He brings a wealth of experience, from his work with Oxfam Australia where he was Research Lead for the first blockchain-based CVA pilot in the Pacific, and as an educator at RMIT University where he taught design and innovation theory with a focus on complex systems and community-led solutions for our built environments.
His passion for healthy systems—particularly social and environmental—and a profound belief in human creativity has motivated his career-long exploration of complex, dynamic and networked problems and the most efficient and effective way to address them.
As Portfolio Manager, Mambwe is the lead support on the management of the HIF’s varied portfolio of innovation grants and the operational delivery of its innovation programme. She also manages and develops the HIF’s grant making systems and processes.
Before joining Elrha in 2016, Mambwe worked in charity and human rights organisations in the UK and South Asia, previously supporting a team of human rights lawyers.
Her legal background provided her with an attention to detail that helps to ensure effective coordination of the HIF team and its processes.
Francesca joined our Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF) team as a Programme Officer in 2020 to support the management of grants, portfolios and operational delivery of the HIF.
Before joining us, Francesca worked for the Australian Council for Educational Research, where she supported the development and delivery of the International Development Programme in the UK office. Francesca also has experience in fundraising, educational innovations, donor reporting, research and award management.
Francesca has a Masters Degree in International Development and Education and is passionate about the role that innovations and locally-led responses can have on improving the effectiveness and efficiency of humanitarian assistance in improving the lives of people around the world.
Laura joined our Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF) team as a Programme Officer in 2021 to support the management of grants, portfolios and operational delivery.
Before joining the HIF, Laura worked in the Finance and Grants Team at Elrha and provided support on due diligence and financial processes. Prior to this, she worked as a freelance writer of humanitarian briefs, and as Access Director for the Coronavirus Tutoring Initiative.
Laura has a Masters Degree in International Relations, specialising in human rights and international development. She is passionate about the importance of research and innovation in finding impactful and effective solutions to help populations affected by crises.
Catriona has led the Finance & Grants team and looked after Elrha’s financial management, reporting and compliance since 2019.
After training as an auditor with KPMG in London and qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, Catriona became a key member of the team establishing and managing KPMG Mongolia, living for five years in Ulaanbaatar. Upon her return to the UK in 2017 she took a career break to study for an MSc in Middle Eastern Studies with Arabic at Edinburgh University, before joining Elrha.
Catriona has volunteered with many different charities over the years, and is particularly enthusiastic about applying her professional skills in support of projects which are making a difference internationally.
Lucy was born and bred in the charity sector, working in the environmental and humanitarian sector before joining Elrha in 2012.
As Grants Manager she works closely with the programme teams to develop effective and flexible funding models and systems. She also ensures the correct management of sub granting mechanisms and internal compliance are adhered to.
Lucy is passionate about supporting grantees with developing robust internal processes and overall business development.
Ariella joined Elrha’s Grant Operations and Finance Unit in 2020. She is responsible for coordinating the operational aspects of Elrha’s grant making and procurement, supporting risk management in relation to projects funded by Elrha, and ensuring appropriate systems and processes are in place to comply with all donor requirements.
Before joining Elrha, Ariella worked for an organisation focused on improving access to quality education for children in humanitarian settings. She has an MSc in Development Studies from the London School of Economics and experience in trust and foundation fundraising, donor reporting and award management.
Rachel joined Elrha as Contracts Manager (Grants) in 2020 to manage the contracting process for Elrha’s Grantees, she has since transitioned into her new role as Donor Compliance Adviser where she supports colleagues across Elrha to ensure policies and processes are in place to comply with all donor requirements. Rachel continues to lead on the set-up of agreements with new grantees as well as providing support on procurement contracts.
Rachel has a Law Degree LLB and prior to joining Elrha, she worked on the other side of grants contract negotiations as a Contracts Negotiator at Imperial College London.
Rachel is thrilled to be a part of Elrha and contributing to our work in the humanitarian sector.
Liz joined Elrha in 2016 and has led on shaping Elrha’s identity, voice and place in the humanitarian community, while leading on Elrha’s strategic communications and supporting the entire team to share what we do, why we do it and the impact of our work.
With a degree and background in journalism, Liz is a Chartered PR Practitioner with over a decade of experience in strategic communications in the humanitarian, international development, healthcare, research and not-for-profit sectors, holding senior communications and campaign roles in both in-house teams and agency. She was extremely proud to be awarded the CIPR’s (Chartered Institute of Public Relations) Outstanding Young Communicator Award in 2017.
With a keen interest in behaviour change, change management and stakeholder communications, Liz is a determined and passionate communicator, with a strong belief in its power and ability to unite, connect and empower people around the world.
Catalin joined Elrha in 2020 as a Digital and Creative Communications Manager, and he is responsible for developing and implementing our digital communications strategy.
Catalin brings over seven years of experience in strategic communications working in various roles across international development, social entrepreneurship, e-learning and the built environment.
His passion for digital storytelling will help us deliver creative and data-driven communications enhancing the impact of our work in humanitarian research and innovation.
Leah is our Communications, Engagement and Outreach Manager. She joined us in 2020 to help spread the word about the life-changing impact of the research and innovations we support.
She is an NCTJ-accredited journalist and Chartered PR Practitioner with more than 15 years of experience working in the UK, Europe and the Middle East in both reporting and communications roles, including in the humanitarian sector.
Leah is passionate about using her journalism experience to help people tell their unique stories, and she is keen to help Elrha and our partners share their work with the world.
Ziad joined Elrha in 2021 as the Research Manager for the Global Prioritisation Exercise, an ambitious research programme that aims to support the global humanitarian community to identify priorities for research and innovation funding. Ziad oversees the commissioning and monitoring of multiple research and consultations to support the delivery of this critical programme.
Prior to joining us, Ziad worked for over six years with civil society and humanitarian organisations in Syria, gaining first-hand experience in conducting research and designing interventions in situations of conflict. Ziad completed his undergraduate training as a pharmacist and received an MSc in Global Health and Development from University College London. He has also worked for the NHS to improve the quality of care for patients through research and data.
Ziad’s passion to create a more inclusive humanitarian system is helping him bring the voices of communities affected by crisis into the research and innovation policy conversation.
Pau joined Elrha in 2019 as MEAL Coordinator supporting the delivery of Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning processes across our programmes.
With a background in engineering and anthropology, he holds an MSc in impact evaluation, and ten years’ experience in the international development sector, specialising in programme management and evaluation. Before joining the Elrha team, Pau worked for a range iNGOs, including UNICEF and OXFAM and has experience in the UK and overseas.
Pau is passionate about the role rigorous evidence plays in improving humanitarian action effectiveness.
Sarah is our HR and Admin Manager and joined us in September 2020. She is responsible for overseeing all HR policies, procedures and advice within Elrha, including recruitment, induction, training and performance, and supporting our staff to thrive. She is also responsible for supervising our administration function which supports on facilities, IT, events management and organising travel.
Sarah holds a Masters in Strategic Human Resource Management and has developed her knowledge and experience across a wide range of HR matters, having held previous strategic and advisory HR roles working in international development, and within the public, private and third sectors both in the UK and internationally.
With a passion for developing efficient and culturally sensitive HR initiatives, Sarah enjoys working in innovative and collaborative environments which aim to bring about positive change.
Having studied a first degree in Social Sciences, and an M.A. in History at the School of Oriental and African Studies, Helen has always been drawn to working for value-driven international organisations that work to create a better world.
After a period of working as a senior administrator in the International Labour Office in Geneva, she returned home to Wales and continued to work for organisations with similar international outreach and missions; the International Baccalaureate and Elrha. She joined Elrha in 2015 and uses her extensive administrative experience to support Elrha’s Board of Trustees and its Senior Management Team.
Helen is responsible for managing the admin team and HR processes and is the focal point for colleagues in our London and Cardiff offices. Helen loves working for Elrha and the opportunity to contribute to Elrha’s ongoing success.
Sammael joined Elrha in 2021 as HR Admin and Operations Assistant. She is responsible for providing HR, finance, and administrative support to the office.
Sammael has a master’s degree in Psychology from the Education University of Hong Kong. She has worked in intergovernmental organisations for many years and brings extensive experience in providing administrative support to fast-paced and busy teams. With a strong passion for international development and social issues, Sammael is keen to use her expertise to support the team in bringing about positive changes.
Laura joined Elrha in 2017 and supports the team with travel, finance and event planning.
She has a masters in Human Rights from the University of Essex and has worked in the third sector for many years, and her experience helps her to provide administrative support to a very busy team!
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