Louise Talbot Beirne – Executive Director,
International Development and Volunteering
Lou worked in Uganda on psychosocial community development projects before moving to Ireland in 2014. She is an experienced fundraiser, project manager and volunteer coordinator as well as a trained counselor. She loves that VMM International ensures that development empowers the communities we work with, and they are the ones making the decisions about their own futures. She is an active member of the Lay Mission Union of Ireland and is passionate about the importance of volunteer mental health and reducing burnout among humanitarian workers. In her spare time she’s an enthusiastic member of Discovery Gospel Choir, Dublin’s leading inter-cultural choir.
Fiona Duignan – Programme Manager, Short-Term Volunteering
Fiona is responsible for developing a bespoke, short-term volunteering programme that will provide opportunities for people who wish to donate a few weeks to projects in Africa, including tailor made packages to suit volunteer’s requirements. Prior to this Fiona has worked with NGO’s in Ireland, ensuring that legislative requirements were met, introducing best practice and procedures to ensure maximum efficiency and transparency for key stakeholders, personnel and the public. She has travelled to several countries as an independent researcher on social and youth justice projects and has also worked as witness protection officer for victims of torture. Fiona has been a human rights activist for many years and has a Masters in International Human Rights Law from NUI Galway, a BA (Hons) in Law and Administration of Justice. Fiona has 2 children, 2 crazy dogs, loves to cook for friends, a book worm and music lover.
Tim Flynn – Africa Manager
A native of Co Tipperary in Ireland, Tim has a background in teaching, finance and administration and youth work. Tim first visited Africa in 1997 on a short term volunteering programme and since 1999 Tim has volunteered with VMM International in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Prior to this Tim taught at the College of Commerce in Cork and worked in Company & Trust administration in the Channel Islands. From his current base in Kitale in Western Kenya Tim visits VMM International’s project partners and volunteers in the field as well as working with the Safeguarding & Positive Discipline mentoring programme team.
Van Garber – UK Manager
Before joining VMM International in 2011, Van worked in charity and government organisations both in America and the UK. Recent posts included Director of Development for Habitat for Humanity in Virginia and later as CEO for Habitat Liverpool for two years before joining VMM International as UK Manager. Van is also a trustee for the Catholic Mission Union. Van has 3 children and enjoys travel, sports and cooking.
Lucy Monari – Programme Manager, Safeguarding and Protection
Lucy has eight years’ experience in international development NGOs, principally with responsibility over set up, management and training of safeguarding policies and projects. Her most recent role was as Child Protection Officer for East Africa with the Jesuits. Her experience is complemented by qualifications in Social Ministry, Sustainable Human Development and more recently, Kimmage (KODE) in Child Safeguarding and an MA in International Development from Manchester University while living and working in the UK for five years. As such, she is a very fortunate addition to the VMM International team, as Safeguarding Manager, based on the ground in Kenya.
Louisa Preston – Appeals Coordinator for England and Wales
Louisa Preston is VMM International’s Appeals Co-ordinator for England and Wales. She has held this position since January 2011, but started volunteering with VMM International in 2008. Louisa takes care of anything and everything to do with Parish Appeals. Parish Appeals consist of visiting a Parish, making Appeals at each Mass that weekend, taking a collection and recruiting new VMs and members to VMM International. She is also responsible for some of the finances of this office and of the Wavertree Charity Shop. Louisa is originally from Liverpool, went to school and University here. She enjoys the opera, theatre, cinema, dining out and travelling. And hopes to go to Africa at some point!
David West – Marketing & Communications
A veteran traveler with four years’ experience on projects in the International Development and Community Non-Profit sector, Dave joined the VMM International team in July 2017 in a dual role as the International Programme Assistant, moving into his forte of Marketing and Communications . Originally graduating with a BA in History and Archaeology from UCD, he has recently up-skilled and applies his talents in Digital Marketing, Communications and Project Management along with a wealth of administration experience with VMM International. Having spent some years in Brazil and Colombia and some months volunteering in Cameroon, he hopes to return to Africa again soon in an International Development capacity. He plays the guitar, enjoys music, culture and the Arts, languages, cycling and cooking.
Emily Piccione – International Programme Assistant
Emily is from Detroit, Michigan and is working with VMM International for the summer of 2018. Currently in her fourth year, Emily is a student at Michigan State University. She is pursuing a duel bachelors degree in International Relations and Comparative Cultures and Politics, with a minor in European Studies. Emily has developed a growing passion for international development and helping those less fortunate. She is excited to be working with the VMM Team, helping and learning as much as she can about both non-profit and faith-based organizations. In the future, she hopes to volunteer and work on the ground in developing regions of Africa and the Middle East.
Zoë Ledwith – International Programme Assistant
Zoë joined VMM International in January 2018 and works on the International Programme team assisting with the writing of project proposals and reporting. She is a graduate of European Studies (BA Hons) with a focus on French and International Relations. Zoë recently returned home from New York where she worked on campaign fundraising as part of a political consulting company. Before that she gained extensive administrative experience as a clerical officer in an Irish public sector union. She is enjoying learning about development policy in Africa and new fundraising procedures as part of her work with VMM International. Her interests include social activism, traveling and cooking.
Christy Creely – Administrator
When Christy retired as Customer Services Manager in the Aviation Business he went back to study the Non-Profit Sector in All Hallows College while volunteering with Camara on computer recycling activities. Two and a half years followed as a VMM International volunteer in Lodwar, Kenya working as the Director of Turkana Trade Training Centre, training managers and staff. Christy enjoys working overseas having worked two and a half years as Engineering Manager Guyana Airways in South America and three years as Project Manager in Royal Nepal Airways Kathmandu building workshop facilities and training staff. He hopes to volunteer overseas again.