Our Team

Social development specialists with decades of
International development sector experience

Our Team

Jennifer O'Brien Photo SDDirect.jpg

Jennifer O'Brien

Project Coordinator

Jennifer joined SDDirect in February 2018 as Project Officer as a part of SDDirect’s Programmes team to support the coordination and delivery of a varied project portfolio.

Jennifer is currently working full-time as the Portfolio Coordinator on the DFID-funded Girls’ Education Challenge programme, a 12 year commitment focused on improving the educational opportunities of marginalised girls in developing countries and the largest global fund dedicated to girls’ education. In this role she coordinates monitoring and reporting processes for all 27 GEC-T projects implemented across 18 countries and sits within the PwC-based fund management team.

Jennifer’s past portfolio of projects includes setting up and delivering the Disability Inclusion Helpdesk, a research and advice service for DFID and other UK government departments on disability inclusion in policy and programming, DFID’s Strengthening Transparency, Accountability and Responsiveness initiative (STAR Ghana ll), a voice and empowerment programme that supports civil society to achieve increased accountability and responsiveness of the state to the citizens, Implementation and Analysis in Action of Accountability Programme (IAAAP), a £12m DFID funded adaptive intervention that probes ‘what works’ for strengthened accountability in Somalia, the flagship £25m DFID What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls Programme and UNICEF’s Gender-Based Violence in Emergencies Helpdesk, a technical advice and learning service for UNICEF global. Other client partnerships include The World Bank, UN Women, and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO). 

Jennifer brings cross-sectoral and multidisciplinary experience having worked in the public, private and non-profit sectors in the fields of public health and international development. She brings experience in gender equality and social inclusion, women’s economic empowerment, child protection and grassroots community development in Nepal, UK and Canada.

Prior to joining SDDirect, Jennifer worked as Coordinator for the Bupa UK Foundation where she managed a portfolio of 52 grant recipients worth £1.4m across the UK. Prior to that, she spent time at Plan International UK conducting research for the Girls’ Rights and Youth Team, contributing valuable knowledge and information to a high-profile campaign. Jennifer also spent time at Street Child UK, a charity that aims to create educational opportunity for some of the most vulnerable children in Africa and Asia, working on one of its largest fundraising events in Nepal.

Jennifer also has experience consulting on the operation and implementation of WASH programs in Western Africa for a London-based organisation as well as in corporate social responsibility (CSR) with a large UK based corporate where she revised and further aligned their Sustainabilities Agenda with the 2030 Development Agenda and the UN Global Compact for Business. Before moving to the UK, Jennifer worked as a research assistant for Public Health Ontario, a Crown corporation of Canada aiming to reduce inequities in health.

Jennifer holds a BA in Political Science and International Development with a concentration in Economic Development and Living Standards from McGill University in Canada and an MSc in Development Studies from The School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

She is an avid traveller, sports enthusiast and foodie.