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Anne Gormally

Career Path: DRM Technical Advisor

Please tell us about your career path since leaving Northumbria

When I finished the masters I first started to work with the Environment Agency (EA) in Newcastle as an environment officer with specific interest in contingency planning. After two years of working for the EA I decided to move to international development and moved to Cambodia for a year where I undertook different voluntary positions, working on housing rights for a local NGO in Phnom Penh as well as development task in an Australian INGO (AustCARE). During the 5 months volunteered for AustCARE the organisation became an affiliate of ActionAid and I got the opportunity to take over a secondment position for ActionAid International as a DRR specialist. Over 7 months I move from one country to another to develop contingency plans and DRR strategies for country programmes (in Myanmar, Cameroon, Guatemala and Haiti). After this experience I decided to settle in Haiti with ActionAid and work for a year as a Humanitarian coordinator. I’ve had the “chance” to be in Haiti before, during and after the January 2010 earthquake. I have learnt a lot of this experience but I also needed a break and decided to go back to France and settled back in my home town Lyon.

Since 2011 I've been working for Handicap International (based in Lyon) as a DRM Technical Advisor focusing on the inclusion of vulnerable groups and in particular persons with disabilities in DRM/DRR projects.

Please tell us about your current job and what it involves

I have been working for more than 2 years in Handicap International (HI). The first year I worked in Lyon my position entailed me to develop HI policy paper on inclusive DRR and at the same time support project development/co-ordination in South East Asia.

Since June 2012 I am the only DRM technical Advisor in HI and I cover the overall regions where HI has developed or wants to develop DRM and DRR. In March 2012 I undertook an exploration mission in Mali and Niger to look at drought and disability and see how HI could develop project in the Sahel region. I was caught in the Bamako “coup” in March 2012.

My position in 2013 entails me to support each region in developing inclusive DRM and DRR strategies and projects but also to carry HI advocacy work in the same thematic and support the development of networks. My job is varied and exciting, including short term missions in the field, participation to international conferences and workshop as well as development work within the structure of HI.

What made you chose Northumbria University?

I had done an internship as part of my Erasmus (Undergraduate diploma in France) year within the University and I highly enjoyed working as part of the lecturer and research team. I therefore decided to do a second Master two years later but this time in the UK and at Northumbria.

Why did you choose to study in the UK?

I chose the UK as I have dual nationality and it was for me an opportunity to better know the country and my own British side.

Coming from a French Background I really disliked the French University system. I believe the British university system allows students to express their own opinions and teach us a lot more about how to apply and use our knowledge professionally.

What was your favourite thing about your course and/or Northumbria University?

I very much enjoyed the fact that most lecturers had an experience in the field as well as some students and it was very interactive and full of resource for us younger/non experimented students.

What societies/activities did you take part in outside of your studies?

None - I really focused on the course and making sure my English was at a good level.

How would you describe the city of Newcastle as a place to live and study?

Fantastic! Newcastle is small but so lively. Culture is at every corner and people are very warm!

In one sentence, sum up your time here at Northumbria

I came to Northumbria/Newcastle for an 8 month internship and I ended up staying 6 years. All the years that I have spent between university and work are all fantastic memories.

What professional achievement are you most proud of since leaving university?

I have developed capacities in working in disaster management in the UK (Europe) as well as in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. I am very glad / proud to be able to adapt my knowledge to the context and situation.

What career objectives do you still have?

I want to develop and adapt my international capacities to the French context. I am already working with specialists here, but it’s all to be created as nothing exists.

How have your experiences at Northumbria University helped your life and career so far?

I had no intention/interest in working in the international development/humanitarian world. I was “forced” to follow the developing world module (the year I did the masters we were not very interested in the developed world module) and it opened doors for me I had never thought of. I am really thankful for this.

What advice would you give students who wish to pursue a similar career to yours? What advice would you give to someone thinking about studying at Northumbria University?

Northumbria is a very good university; If I had to do it again I would do exactly the same. In a humanitarian/development career it’s important to open the doors to all opportunities even if it’s not exactly what you want to do it’s a foot in the door.

Volunteer work is very important to start with to test the waters and find out what you really want to do and not do.

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