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Our team

Meet our team of dedicated staff. Working at Act for Peace is gives you the opportunity to use your skills to make a real difference to the lives of others. To find out about how you can join our team visit our jobs area.

 

Janet Cousens

Act for Peace - Janet Cousens

Interim Executive Director

Janet joined Act for Peace in May 2008 as International Program Coordinator responsible for programs in Burma, Zimbabwe, Cambodia and Syria. Her leadership and management skills were quickly recognised as valuable and in December 2010 she was appointed as Programs and Policy Director, followed by her appointment to her current role as Interim Executive Director in July 2016. In her interim executive role, Janet is tasked with leading Act for Peace through the DFAT accreditation process, while ensuring continued agency and operational development. She is also charged with overseeing that crucial services to partners working with communities threatened by conflict, displacement and natural disaster continue seamlessly during this transitional time.

Prior to joining Act for Peace, the focus of Janet's work has been on refugee resettlement, with specific attention on health issues. Janet worked for several units within the Department of Health in policy, population health, and psychosocial health program roles focused on improving structures, systems and capacity for service provision to diverse communities of refugees settling in NSW. During this time, Janet also travelled as a volunteer to Indonesia and the Thai-Burma border on several occasions to participate in health-based training for refugees and IDPs. Janet’s entry into the humanitarian sector followed a vocation change from the world of international television, where she specialised in documentary work. Janet holds a BA in Social Work, completing her honours thesis on resettlement issues for Tamil Sri Lankan women, a BA in Mass Communications, and is currently completing a Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies.

“I firmly believe that we have a positive role to play in partnering with communities where we can fill the gap in the opportunities they have available to them to address the mechanisms that lead to injustices impacting on their lives. I’m constantly encouraged by the work of our partners and their belief that change is possible.”

 

International Programs & Policy Team

 

Geoff Robinson

Act for Peace - Geoff Robinson

Interim Programs and Policy Director

Geoff has more than 15 years of experience in community-, partner- and government-focused environmental programming, including community-based climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. Geoff is an effective facilitator who has led strategic and program planning, monitoring and evaluation frameworks, policy development, consultation processes and training programs. He has been based in the Pacific for the last five years where he has managed a range of education, development, emergency preparedness and humanitarian programs in Vanuatu.

 

James Thomson

Act for Peace - James Thomson

Policy & Advocacy Associate Director

James has served as National Advocacy Officer for the Program on Refugees and Displaced People, and is currently operating as the Associate Director of Policy and Advocacy. In 2007 and 2008, James was the Rapporteur for UNHCR’s Annual Consultations with NGOs, and he has attended the Ministerial Consultations and the DIAC-NGO Dialogue on Humanitarian Issues for the past seven years. James co-chairs the ACFID Protection Working Group, is the founding member and chair of the ACT International Protection Advisory Group, and is heavily involved in refugee rights work. Prior to his current position he spent five years in Ethiopia and Eritrea working as a journalist and in the development field.

“I find my work to be a continuous challenge, but am motivated and inspired by the work of our project partners. I've worked for Act for Peace for eight years, but I continue to be amazed by our collaborative partnerships and what can be achieved when sharing common goals.”

 

Tamara-Domicelj

Act for Peace - Tamara-Domicelj

Regional Refugee Protection Adviser

Tamara was appointed to the newly-created position of Regional Refugee Protection Adviser in July 2012. She is also currently the Deputy Chair of the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN) – a civil society network dedicated to the advancement of refugee rights across the Asia Pacific region. APRRN is a growing and diverse network with over 160 mostly organisational members across more than 20 countries spanning New Zealand through to Iran. Tamara’s previous roles include: National Policy Director of the Refugee Council of Australia, Director of the Asylum Seekers Centre of NSW, consultant on immigration detention and asylum seeker policy to the Australian Human Rights Commission and Oxfam Australia, and manager of a psycho- social settlement education program with the Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Services NSW. Tamara has also managed a human rights organisation in Mexico City and worked with displaced indigenous communities in southern Mexico. Tamara has been on management committees of several organisations working to strengthen protection for refugees, including the Refugee Advice and Casework Service NSW. Tamara completed her Master’s degree in International Social Development with the Centre for Refugee Research at UNSW. She is an alumna of the Benevolent Society’s Sydney Leadership Program and received a Premier’s Award for her work with refugee youth in Western Sydney.

 

Tracey Robinson

Act for Peace - Dorothy Bryce-Fauonuku

International Program Coordinator

Tracey has a broad background in program management and has worked in government and non-government organisations and within the formal education sector for over 15 years. Prior to joining Act for Peace to support the implementation of a Climate Change risk reduction program in the Pacific, Tracey spent seven years working in the Pacific focusing on community engagement and human rights with organisations including Live and Learn and Save the Children. Tracey currently coordinates and supports Act for Peace's local partners in the Pacific through a variety of programs ranging from disaster response, community based protection, food security, WASH, resource development and program design and implementation. Tracey holds a Bachelor degree in Environmental Science and Cultural Heritage and a post graduate certificate in Education. She has a passion for working with people at the grass roots level.

“I am passionate about the implementation of quality sustainable programs that continue to benefit all members of the communities beyond the project funding cycles. I am humbled and privileged to be working with great people and in an organisation which is genuine in their desire to make a difference to those most in need.” 

 

Yvette Crafti

Act for Peace - Dorothy Bryce-Fauonuku

Disaster Resilience/Emergency Response International Program Coordinator

Yvette has worked in humanitarian and development operations for more than 10 years, combining emergency deployments with humanitarian training facilitation. She holds a Master’s of Social Science (International Development) and a Bachelor of Arts (Political Science) and has worked with UN agencies including OCHA and UNHCR in Tanzania, Namibia and Jordan (Yemen crisis), as well as working with NGOs in Cambodia and youth-focused CSOs in Israel. Yvette has designed and delivered training for disaster responders globally, including Ebola response medics, Nutrition Cluster Coordinators, UNICEF, DFAT’s rapid response team, the Sphere Project, World Food Programme and more. Yvette is registered as a trainer on the Sphere trainers’ database.

 

Sharon Edington

Act for Peace - Dorothy Bryce-Fauonuku

International Programs Coordinator

Sharon has worked in a variety of international development and humanitarian settings including in the Middle East, Africa, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of Georgia, Chile’s Atacama Desert and Bosnia-Herzegovina. She holds a Master’s of Conflict, Security and Development degree from the University of Bradford, completed in her capacity as a Rotary Peace Fellow from 2013-2014. Prior to joining Act for Peace, Sharon held roles with ActionAid Palestine, CARE International in the Caucasus, and UQ International Development as well as placements and volunteer work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the British Red Cross, Shelterbox emergency response, Association Najdeh in Shatila refugee camp, the Chilean Ministry of Education and with the Rotary Foundation and clubs. Her primary work involves gender-sensitive programming and advocacy, particularly related to refugees and asylum seekers. Sharon currently coordinates Act for Peace partner programs in Africa, Palestine, India and Sri Lanka and is the agency’s Inclusion Focal Point.

 

Laura Spano

Act for Peace - Laura Spano

Safe Societies and Arms Control Manager

Laura joined Act for Peace in May 2015 to run the Secretariat of the Pacific Small Arms Action Group (PSAAG) hosted by the Center for Armed Violence Reduction and works to create safer societies through injury and violence reduction.

Laura has seven years of experience working with International NGOs at the UN in New York and internationally in over 12 conflict and violence affected countries. A policy analyst and campaign manager in the prevention of conflict and armed violence, Laura spent five years as the peace and security officer for the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) at UN Headquarters advocating for the responsibility to protect norm, international civilian protection mechanisms and ensuring the link between peace and security in UN frameworks. Her previous experience with NGOs in the USA, Australia, Rwanda, Colombia and South Africa focused on human rights, civilian protection, education and refugee policies.

 

Henrik Fosseldorff

 

Return and Reintegration Advisor

Henrik is currently based in Sri Lanka as the Reintegration and Reconciliation Advisor to Act for Peace local partners Organisation for Eelam Refugees' Rehabilitation (OfERR) and National Council of Churches in Sri Lanka (NCCSL). Before Henrik joined Act for Peace, he worked for other ACT Alliance partners and the UN in Nigeria, Liberia, Haiti, India and Myanmar. Henrik’s primary work has been related to refugees and IDPs in either post-conflict environments or after natural disasters. Henrik holds a Master’s degree in Geography from University of Copenhagen.

 

Marlous van Oorschot

Act for Peace - Marlous van Oorschot

Business Development Manager

Marlous joined Act for Peace in 2016 in a newly-created role and is responsible for securing institutional funding for international programs. She works closely with the Programs and Policy Team to build the donor portfolio, prepare project proposals and ensure all donor reporting requirements are met. Previously, she worked as an institutional fundraising consultant for several not-for-profit organisations in the Netherlands, helping them to improve their internal and external fundraising processes and increase fundraising success. She has a background in change management and business consultancy and always looks for opportunities to create more impact, unafraid to explore new opportunities and innovations that could lead to a better result.

 

Aruna Thebuwana

Act for Peace - Aruna Thebuwana

Program Finance Officer

Aruna is an experienced accounting and finance professional and joined Act for Peace in April 2012. Aruna is a Chartered Accountant and also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and Finance. He has worked in both accounting public practice as an auditor and in the corporate profit and not- for-profit sectors. He has more than 13 years of experience in financial reporting, compliance and capacity building.

“I look for opportunities to apply my years of experience in finance to the organisations I work for and to continuously improve and add value.” 

 

Marketing & Communications Team

 

Ben Littlejohn

Act for Peace - Ben Littlejohn

Marketing and Communication Director

Ben joined Act for Peace after moving from the UK to lead the Marketing and Communications team in May 2012. He brings with him extensive marketing experience in the international aid and development sector. He has held a number of senior fundraising and campaigning roles, and for nine years prior to joining Act for Peace was Head of Innovation and Change Strategy at Oxfam GB.

Ben has managed high-profile fundraising initiatives in a range of disciplines including events, community, digital, corporate, direct marketing, and institutional fundraising and he has worked on campaigns tackling poverty, trade justice, arms control and climate change.

Ben has had the opportunity to visit Act for Peace programs in Jordan, Gaza, Ethiopia and India and feels privileged to be part of a network of committed people making a lasting difference through Act for Peace.

 

Marketing and Campaigns Team

 

Claire Evins

Act for Peace - Claire Evins

Marketing Coordinator

Claire joined the team in 2014 and comes from a background in global brand marketing with experience in consumer products. Claire is receiving news from our partners on the ground to share their experiences with our Regular Givers through monthly Peace Mails.

“I want to share the stories of hope from children and families around the world. Our Changemakers make it possible for people in refugee camps and war zones to have hope and rebuild their lives.” 

 

Howard Graham

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Major Giving and Gifts in Wills Volunteer

Howard began a part time role with Act for Peace in 2004, following work with the Anglican Church in PNG, as well as some managerial assignments with United Church in the Solomon Islands. After a long corporate career, Howard was involved in promoting legacy gifts and then establishing regular giving opportunities for supporters. After a long break travelling in 2014, Howard now volunteers each week encouraging and thanking our wonderful supporters.

 

Karen McGrath

Act for Peace - Karen McGrath

Marketing Coordinator - Ration Challenge 

Since 2015, Karen has helped to grow the agency’s award-winning Ration Challenge and is currently playing a key role in taking the challenge to the international stage. Karen began working for Act for Peace in 2013 as the Media and Communications coordinator after graduating with honours from the University of Wollongong in Marketing Communications and Commerce. Karen previously worked at Student Marketing Australia, The ACT Conservation Council and Flight Centre. She has travelled throughout India and South East Asia teaching English and volunteering for a number of local organisations.

Karen is passionate about using digital marketing to empower communities to network, take action and create real change. She describes herself as a strategic thinker who promotes innovation and risk-taking.

 

Jess Xavier

Act for Peace - Jess Xavier

Media and Communications Coordinator

Jess started in 2015 as Junior Marketing Officer before moving into her current position. She holds a double degree in Media and Communication and International Relations with a Spanish major. Prior to joining Act for Peace, Jess worked as a Digital Media Designer, a varied role that spanned front-end web development, video production and graphic design. Jess has a personal and professional commitment to the pursuit of social justice and enjoys being able to work in an environment where she can combine her passion for storytelling with a love of all things digital.

 

Lisa Roberts

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Marketing Data Analyst

Lisa joined Act For Peace in 2014 as the Marketing Data Analyst, bringing her extensive brand and database marketing experience to the team. Having held various marketing positions in the corporate sector since 2000, Lisa’s work with companies such as Brady Corporation, Rodenstock and Pacific Magazines is vast and varied.
Lisa is also a Board Member for Hope For Orphans and Vulnerable Children (HOVC Aust. Inc.) and volunteers for other programs and events at her local church. Passionate about justice and advocacy, Lisa feels privileged to use her skills and experience to help make a difference in the world for those who are less fortunate.

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Susan Lorenzo

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Marketing Officer

Susan began working as an intern at Act for Peace in May 2010 and moved into her current position just four months later. She obtained a PhD in Chemistry from the University of New South Wales.

“I consider myself truly fortunate to work with people so skilled, enthusiastic and determined to help some of the most disadvantaged people in the world, and to be able to contribute to that work myself.”

 

Holly Jarvis

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Supporter Care Officer

Holly has worked as a Supporter Care Officer since May 2015. She was attracted to this role as an opportunity to combine her customer service experience and Development Studies degree to inspire Act for Peace supporters to give more, do more and stay longer in the fight against injustice.

Holly has previously completed internships at UNICEF and the Australian Red Cross. She is currently interning part-time for our Programs and Policy Team as the International Project Officer for the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program for Palestine and Israel (EAPPI).

 

Deirdre Ashe

 

Director of Business and Finance

Deirdre joined the National Council of Churches in Australia in December 2015 as Director of Business and Finance after a 20-year career with The Salvation Army. Deirdre also worked in the finance field in a broad range of roles in banking, manufacturing, import-export and the Air Force. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Business and Accounting and a Master’s degree in Commerce and Accounting.

 




 

More ways to take action

You can help prevent children like Maala being born with chronic illnesses by helping pregnant women stay healthy and nourished in the first place.

Take the Act for Peace Ration Challenge and eat the same rations as a Syrian refugee during Refugee Week (June 2017). Raise money to support refugees who have lost everything, and challenge perspectives – including your own.

Right now, thousands of innocent people are fleeing Syria every day to protect their families from bloodshed, violence and death. We need your support to provide emergency relief packs to the families fleeing in Syria.