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Lauren Smith - Swedish Red Cross

Accountability Delegate

Don’t be afraid to pursue your passion, it is guaranteed to take you on a most enjoyable journey.


What are some of your main responsibilities at your job?
My role has been to support the Sierra Leone Red Cross to strengthen Community Engagement and Accountability in emergency response operations and health programming. Community Engagement and Accountability is an approach that puts communities at the heart of operations by ensuring two-way communications and participation of communities in the design and implementation of Red Cross activities. My work with the Sierra Leone Red Cross has been focused on providing support to the Health, Disaster Management, and Communications team to increase their reach and impact by helping them set up methods to gain a deeper understanding of community perceptions, beliefs, culture and values and to implement innovative behaviour and social change communication strategies using a variety of methods including community forum theatre, radio soap operas and house-to-house sensitization. These systems help to ensure communities are given the opportunity to provide feedback on the assistance and services they receive, and enable the timely dissemination of life saving information in disaster-prone communities. 

How did the MFRE program help you land your job?
The MFRE provided me with the opportunity to collaborate with UBC International Nutrition to undertake my first international working experience. I completed my MFRE Graduating project in Rwanda where I supported the end-line analysis of an effectiveness study looking at the impact of a nutrition intervention designed to reduce and prevent chronic malnutrition in children under two years of age. After graduating, I continued to work with UBC as a Technical Advisor and Project Manager on nutrition programmes in partnership with the United Nations and Governments of multiple countries in Africa and Asia. 

Which skills learned at MFRE have helped you the most?
The skills I gained from the MFRE project monitoring and evaluation course in particular have helped me greatly in my work, especially since there was a focus on accountability in international development projects. 

What would you say to a prospective student about the MFRE program?
Don’t be afraid to pursue your passion, it is guaranteed to take you on a most enjoyable journey.