CAFOD staff career stories

Our staff share their stories about what it's like to work for CAFOD in the UK and overseas

We asked some CAFOD members of staff about their careers. Click on their photos to find out more. 

Susan, Secondary INSET Coordinator, Education Team, UK head office

I have worked at CAFOD for six years now. While in the temporary post, the role of Secondary INSET Coordinator came up, and this has been even more of a perfect role for me.

I often describe CAFOD as being like a family - the Education section has provided me with support and friendship over these years. I have been so inspired by those that I work alongside and those that I have the privilege of meeting. National RE advisers, teachers in schools around UK and amazing young people who are leading others in their communities to make a difference in the world. CAFOD partners in Bolivia, Peru, Zimbabwe and volunteers who willingly give up their time here at home and those overseas. Colleagues from all over the world who have their own inspirational and moving stories of why they have chosen to work for CAFOD.

I have learned so much from every one I have met and they have shaped the person I am today. I have gained a deeper understanding of Catholic Social Teaching whilst working at CAFOD. I try my best to live out CAFOD’s values of dignity, compassion, hope, partnership, solidarity, stewardship and sustainability.

It’s challenging, and I often fall short, but my world is a brighter place because of the people I meet and the work we do together. I hope I help a little to make the world a brighter place too.

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Becca, Bangladesh Programme Officer, Programmes Team

I joined CAFOD as an intern in 2012 and immediately felt at home. I suppose that’s one of the reasons I’ve stuck around since!

CAFOD is more than a place of work to me, it’s a space I share with like-minded friends to work towards a common goal. CAFOD is the first place I’ve worked where I have genuinely felt that people care for each other’s well-being. As with any job, there are deadlines to meet and times of stress, but that’s balanced with a real sense of solidarity and support I feel from my colleagues. 

I’ve had the opportunity to work across a range of roles and departments during my 5 years at CAFOD and this has given me a real insight into the many different approaches CAFOD takes to fulfill its mission.

These roles have seen me engage with young people in schools, stand side by side with CAFOD supporters at rallies in Westminster, discuss development issues with MP's in parliament, deliver training to colleagues in South East Asia and visit projects and partners in Cambodia, Myanmar and Bangladesh.

It’s a real privilege to spend time with our supporters, partners and the communities we work with overseas. Their work continues to inspire me and is a constant reminder of the force for good that CAFOD is.  

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Joseph Rwanjagarara -Management Accountant (London):

As a recently qualified ACCA affiliate I was busy looking for an accounting job placement and had registered with several recruitment agencies for a position. I was on my way from Oxford from another job interview and I received a call from CAFOD for yet another interview for a maternity cover within the Finance section. It wasn't necessarily what I was looking for but it was an opportunity. This marked the start of third Finance related sector having previously worked in Taxation as a government Revenue officer, and as an Accountant in a commercial sector with focus on supply of garments to retail outlets and now the Charity sector.

Although my initial appointment was temporary, it coincided with the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. I was taken aback with the outpouring of human generosity and the importance to which charities like CAFOD make a difference to ordinary people’s lives. I was blessed because soon after a permanent position of Management Accountant became available and the rest like the saying goes is history.

CAFOD is an excellent institution to work for. CAFOD’s culture is deeply enshrined in its values of dignity, compassion, hope, partnership, solidarity, stewardship and sustainability. The whole experience can broadly be summarised in Jesus’ sermon on the mount quote. Mathew 5: 1-12 - The Beatitudes “Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward reflected in the joy and happiness of those you have shared your life with as part of your journey with CAFOD”.

Career wise my role has given me an opportunity to learn and develop unparalleled skills beyond my wildest dreams and after 13 years, I can say this has been a journey well worthy of being a part.

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Jacquie Heany -Head of People & Performance (London)

I came to CAFOD in 2010 having worked in both the private and public sectors in Change Management and Organisational Development roles.  I remember saying to a colleague in 2007 that I would like to work for international aid organisation but had no idea when and if that would happen.  Then, in 2010, someone sent me details of the role here at CAFOD – Director of Organisational Development and People.  It sounded interesting but I wasn’t sure I was qualified.  I phoned my predecessor and explained that I had never been an HR Director, worked in the sector or, indeed, was a Catholic.  I thought at least one of three would disqualify me but she said apply anyway.  And I am so glad I did!  Seven years later and I am still here – the longest I have ever been in one post.  The work is challenging, often emotional but never boring.  People here are passionate and committed to the mission, vision and values of CAFOD and to the people and communities we work with across the world.  I still feel that it is an extraordinary privilege to work with dedicated people from such diverse backgrounds and experiences; in any one day, I can be on a Skype call or swapping emails with people on three continents. 

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Ronica Mashabidze - Regional Finance and Administration Manager(Harare)

I am the Regional Finance and Administration Manager for CAFOD Southern Africa supporting Zimbabwe, Zambia and Swaziland. I started working in the post since November 2011 to date and this is now almost six years. My responsibilities include oversight of financial administration & reporting, office & IT administration and  human resources for both CAFOD & partners. I lead with personnel & costs planning as well as partner budgeting. I check donor reports before they are finalised by the Programme Managers and the Country Representative and help analyse them for her understanding. We have institutional funding from EU, DFID Match Fund, Misereor, Caritas Australia Caritas International & the Canadian Catholic Organisation for Development & Peace.

External and internal audit liaison, coordination and troubleshooting is one of my responsibilities.  I formulate financial, human resources and other administrative policies for review by the Country Representative and I check implementation thereof. I help programme officers with partner  assessments and development plans are put in place to improve the partners’ capacities. I manage human resources administration, policy and ensure compliance with our legal framework. Recently I have been involved in the SIMBA training and we piloted an M& E post with our Quality Manager in Harare. SIMBA is a good system which needs a little more refinement to be perfectly used.

CAFOD is a good organisation to work for. I appreciate the organisation’s vision, mission and values for they enable our work and help communities grow in all respects for their well-being.

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Sara Hassan Elnour - Office Administrator (Sudan)

Working for unique organization like CAFOD is a great opportunity for my career and spiritual life. I am saying this because I used to work for many international organisations and I have worked in each of the organisation for one or 2 years. Today I am happy to say I have started my sixth year with CAFOD and I am feeling very confident in my work and personal life and the most important thing is I feel very self-assured in taking decisions.

At CAFOD there are no limitations for growth and I’ve always been encouraged to stretch myself, improve my knowledge and develop new skills. I have learned so much here at CAFOD, I have laughed, cried, faced challenges and I have also experienced very beautiful moments that will stay forever in my memory. CAFOD is an international organisation but yet very flexible. CAFOD has the right working environment in which people can develop and make a difference.  It’s exciting and motivating to be a part of CAFOD family  and it is for these reasons that I am happy to say I still work here.

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Catherine Ogolla- Country Rep(Kenya & Uganda)

A teacher by profession with 12 years of experience, and a social scientist. From a UN Volunteer Community Development Specialist, I joined CAFOD as a Programme Officer HIV & AIDS in July 2004. The friendliness and favourable working environment were of no doubt that I was in the right place! I have progressively grown and developed my career path rising from PO HIV & AIDS, to PM HIV & AIDS, to PM Emergency Food Security (CAFOD Harare), to Regional Programme Manager (Kenya, Uganda & Tanzania) and finally confirmed as the Country Rep (Kenya & Uganda) in 2013. Mine is a humbling, surprising and exciting journey of the first African Female Manager in CAFOD! This is what many of you do not know about me. I thank God for this great favour.

Through my work in different capacities I experience consistent achievements and motivation with the communities we serve, partners we work with and the organisation I work for. The work I do with my team links with the organisational vision and goals enabling huge contribution to CAFOD’s overall goals. The partners I work with have grown from strength to strength, establishing strong and committed partnerships  and communities that are making valuable contribution in reducing poverty.  The Nairobi staff that I lead are inspiring, dedicated and hardworking ensuring quality programme delivery.  My senior managers not only respect my opinion but also challenge me enabling even better performance. I am mostly motivated by confidence and trust bestowed on me, with responsibility to make decisions for the Country Office. Nairobi is a hub office; at time overstretched with competing demands but I am well  supported and I feel encouraged to give my best to achieve our organisational mission.

I look forward to taking my second option for renewal in July 2018.  I love my work at CAFOD.

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