Canberra Women in Development Events

The Role of Sport in Development

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Our first networking session of the year will focus on the role of Sport in Aid and Development, bringing development professionals and some sporting guests to talk about sport as a successful way to develop cooperation & collaboration in every community – in those lacking health care it can also improve the quality of lives and provide an opportunity for everyone to participate in physical activity. Sport Matters confirms that “Sport is well recognised internationally as a low-cost and high-impact tool for development and a powerful agent for social change. It is a culturally accepted activity that unites families, communities and nations and brings people together.” Sport can make a difference in health, economic development, disaster, building peace and environmental areas of development and is supported by DFAT grants recognising its power for change.

Jo Metcalfe is an energetic leader who enjoys a portfolio of experience from strategy development to business operations and project delivery. With over twenty years’ experience in professional services management, board directorships and committee work in arenas from sports governance, and tertiary education to professional standards and property, she thrives on tackling change through strategic projects.

Her key strength lies in collaboratively engendering change through structured programs and she loves moving between the abstract and conceptual, to the tactical, to translate ideas, big and small, to real life. 

Jo is also passionate about diversity and inclusion as well as improving her own diversity intelligence for the benefit of the organisations she serves. 

Her current curiosity is about fighting Australia’s cultural cringe to increase access to, participation in and ultimately love for the arts and specifically classical music. Please contact her on LinkedIn or Facebook if you’re interested in helping with the brainstorm and startup. 

In her home life, she enjoys trying to stay fit and spending quality time with her husband, her two lovely kids and the very adorable puppy, family and friends. You'll also have the opportunity to network with women who work in the sector, and enjoy drinks and nibbles at the lovely Highball Express*.

Cost: $20 at the door.
This entitles you to venue entry, drinks and snacks.
Students, interns and unwaged - $10 at the door only.

RSVP here

*Note that wheelchair access to this venue is available with prior arrangement only.  Please email if you would like to arrange access.

Other Events in 2020

  • Wednesday, 20 May - Working for managing contractors
  • Wednesday, 22 July - New technologies in the aid sector
  • Wednesday, 14 October - Working in the disability sector
  • Wednesday, 2 December - Working in a humanitarian role in a conflict zone

Previous speakers and events

Mental wellness in the aid sector - October 2019

Coinciding with Mental Health Month, in October we hosted a discussion which focused on challenges faced in the field.

As we know, aid and humanitarian work is often done in environments of crisis, violence, high workloads, limited resources and critical incidents which create high stress. Aid workers may experience anxiety, post-traumatic stress, depression and burnout which is exacerbated when working away from family and support networks. Aid and humanitarian workers may also experience depression, anxiety and other mental wellness challenges so preparation, organisational support and self-care in the field is essential. In this event we talked about the issues that challenge wellbeing, as well as good preventative programs, and support offered by organisations prior to assignment and on return.

Election Monitoring - July 2019

The team at Women in Aid & Development welcomed to discuss her research and experience on Election Monitoring in PNG.

Election Monitoring involves Australian volunteer observers, who work with the electoral body of another country to assess the conduct of an election. They record and report on any electoral fraud they might observe but are not there to intervene. Come along to hear from speakers who have been involved in election monitoring, their experience from the field and how they got involved.

Our speaker is Dr Roannie Ng Shiu was ill so we welcomed Theresa Meki a PhD Candidate with the Department of Pacific Affairs, Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs. Her research focuses on women’s presence and vote share in Papua New Guinea’s election history.

She is interested in elections and women’s political representation in Melanesia more broadly. Her PhD research will explore women’s political participation in Papua New Guinea’s 2017 national election.

Prior to commencing her candidature with DPA in 2014, Theresa worked as a field producer and research assistant for the DFAT funded Pawa Meri film project, a partnership between the Victoria University, Melbourne and the University of Goroka in Papua New Guinea.

International Women's Day - #BalanceforBetter - March, 2019

We were delighted to welcome Marc Purcell CEO of ACFID speak on the ACFID Gender Audit and Action plan at our first meeting on building a better gender balanced world and what that means for the clients and staff of the Aid, Development & Humanitarian Sector in Australia, and on the ACFID GenderAudit and Action plan.

Marc Purcell has headed the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) since 2009. ACFID is the peak body for around 140 Australian organisations working in international development. ACFID operates a Code of Conduct for Australian development NGOs. Marc has 25 years’ experience in the community, international development and human rights sectors in Australia. He worked as Oxfam Australia’s National Advocacy Manager and was Executive Officer for the Catholic Commission for Justice Development and Peace Executive.

He has also worked as Country Program Manager for Africa at Australian Volunteers International; and worked with UNHCR in Nepal assisting Tibetan refugees. He researched China’s global rise and impacts on developing countries for Oxfam Hong Kong and has written about refugee and human rights in Burma.

Making Human Rights Your Career - November 2018

In our final event for 2018, Dr Deborah Cummins and Sarah Burr talked about how turn your passion for human rights into a career.

Deborah Cummins has a PhD on cross-cultural local governance from the University of New South Wales and has been working as a local governance and community engagement specialist since 2005. During this time, she has worked in Indigenous Australia, Timor-Leste, and Turkey/Syria, implementing and leading teams to provide research, monitoring & evaluation, policy analysis and program development support for a variety of organisations, including the Government of Timor-Leste, the World Bank, UNFPA, UN Women, Adam Smith International, Counterpart International, Oxfam International, International Women’s Development Agency, The Asia Foundation and a variety of national and local NGOs. She has published widely on issues of decentralisation, community engagement, local governance & justice delivery and gender issues. She speaks and writes English and Tetun fluently.


Sarah Burr works in Indigenous affairs in Canberra. She has experience in Indigenous and land management policy, and holds a Bachelor of Environmental Management in Sustainable Development (Hons)from the University of Queensland, a graduate certificate in Public Administration from the University of Canberra, and a Masters of Agribusiness from the University of Melbourne. She is Vice President of the YWCA Canberra and a member of the University of Canberra’s Indigenous Advisory Group. Sarah believes women can do anything.

Volunteering & Internships - The Inside Story - August 2018

It’s tough to find a role in the international development and humanitarian sectors. This makes volunteering and internships increasingly popular and competitive ways to get a foot in the door. At this session we heard great advice for those looking to volunteer on what to look for in a voluntary role, what you can expect to do and value others discovered about its value in getting a permanent role.

Emily Moreton is currently studying a Master of Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development at ANU. She recently completed an internship at the Australian Council for International Development, where she is now working. In 2013, Emily lived in South Sulawesi, Indonesia as a volunteer teacher trainer as part of the Australian government volunteer program. She has nine years' experience as a primary school teacher in NSW and ACT.

Ashlee Betteridge is the Manager of the Development Policy Centre at ANU. She writes regularly for the Devpolicy Blog on a range of issues related to Australian aid. In her role at the centre, she supervises volunteers and research interns, including those participating in the Australian National Internships Program, as well as the centre's team of professional staff. She has also provided pro-bono support to PNG NGO Femili PNG since 2013, served on the board of NTA East Indonesia Aid throughout 2017, and undertook an Australian Volunteers position to Timor-Leste in 2012.

Viraji W.W. Mudiyanselage is a Canberra-based RAVN State Representative. Viraji’s volunteer experience took her to Indonesia where she advised the Indonesian Institute of Sciences on refreshing their brand in time for the organisation’s 50th anniversary. Viraji’s describes her volunteer experience in Indonesia as a life-enriching experience, both personally and professionally.  Viraji graduated from the Australian National University with a double degree majoring in international relations, international business and marketing. Since returning from Indonesia, she has joined the executive committee of the Australia Indonesia Youth Association.

Sarah Bearup is a global international development leader with field experience in South East Asia and Eastern Europe. She has a deep appreciation for the intersection between humanitarian and development programming, having led and initiated emergency responses to natural disasters and crises including the Western Balkans Refugee Response. Sarah has designed and led disaster resilience programs that strengthen national preparedness and response systems.

She has worked on the cutting edge of human rights responses to trafficking, gender-based violence, exploitation and abuse. Sarah is a passionate advocate for protecting the rights of the world's most vulnerable women and children affected by poverty, trafficking, exploitation and humanitarian crises. She has promoted and implemented systems strengthening approaches to social protection and translating policy to practice in complex settings.

Her executive roles have included: National Director of World Vision Bosnia-Herzegovina; Country Director of Hagar International/Cambodia; Executive Director of Positive Women; and more recently as Assistant Director (Humanitarian Policy) for the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade. 
Sarah is a strong believer in the value of global volunteering and found her experience as an Australian Youth Ambassador for Development pivotal to her international development career

Life in Politics - Dr Anne Aly MP - May 2018

Dr Anne Aly is the Labor Federal Member for Cowan elected in 2016. She spoke about her experience in academia & politics, how she came to be working as a Parliamentarian, what helped her career prospects and the challenges she you faced on the journey.

Anne’s background is as a Professor, Academic and Practitioner in the fields of counter terrorism and counter radicalisation. She has published over 50 articles and texts on terrorism and related issues and is the author and editor of five books. Prior to becoming an academic she worked in government policy.

Anne is the founder of Australia’s first non-government organisation to combat violent extremism. People against Violent Extremism (PaVE) is a not for profit organisation that developed a social media campaign against violent extremism and delivered a series of hackathons to harness young people’s skills and talents to address issues in their communities.

Anne’s contributions to national and international security have been recognised internationally. In 2015 she was the only Australian civil society representative to be invited to speak at President Obama’s White House Summit on CVE. Later that year, she was again the only Australian representative to participate in the Club de Madrid +10 policy dialogues. Anne has also been an expert adviser to the United Nations Security Council and has participated in experts’ meetings.

In 2011, Anne was inducted into the WA Women’s Hall of Fame. In 2014, she was named one of Australia’s 100 most Influential Women by Westpac/Fin Review. In 2016 she was awarded the InStyle Woman of Style award in the category of Community and Charity. Also in 2016 Anne was nominated for the Australian of the Year and received the prestigious Australian Security Medal.

Government Relations & Advocacy in the Development Sector - February 2018

Panelists Leanne Joyce, the Australian Red Cross' Head of Government Relations, and Joanna Pradela, ACFID's Director of Policy and Advocacy led our discussion on government relations, advocacy and public affairs.  Questions addresse3d included how to influence policy, how to work effectively with government and how to ensure your organisation has a voice in the debate.

Ms. Leanne Joyce serves as Head of Government Relations - Canberra at Australian Red Cross Society. Ms. Joyce has a wealth of experience in government affairs and communications across the not-for-profit, government and corporate sectors. Her experience is supplemented by my qualifications in journalism, public policy and business administration. Her corporate and government experience includes senior executive roles with Telstra, NSW State Government and the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade). Ms. Joyce served as an Executive Director of the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO) in the 1990’s during a transformative time in health policy. She remains committed to social justice and to humanitarian issues. Leanne has worked with Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) - an international non-profit foundation created to develop new, affordable antimalarial drugs - as well as the Digital Industry Group, the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), the Asia Pacific Business Coalition on AIDS and the Australian Primary Principals’ Association. She has also been President of the International Association of Business Communicators (Canberra) and Chair of the Asia Pacific region for IABC for which she won Regional Leader of the Year Award in 2016.

Joanna Pradela has been Director of Policy and Advocacy at ACFID since 2013.  Prior to this, she has had a decade of experience in the overseas aid and development sector specialising in humanitarian response; women’s empowerment; sexual and reproductive health and rights; education, and philanthropy and social justice. Joanna has a Master’s degree in Diplomacy and a Master’s degree in International Relations.

Trials & Tribulations of being a Mum in Development - July 2017

Lindy Kanan, gave a great presentation on being a mum in the development sector.  Lindy is an experienced international development practitioner who is Femili PNG’s Development Manager and has previously worked for the United Nations, the Australian Government and various non-government organisations including Oxfam Australia and ChildFund Australia. Lindy has written a blog for the Development Policy Centre and will share with us some of her insights on the ‘trials and tribulations of a development mum’. This event is for mums, future mums, and those of us with friends/colleagues who are mums in development.

An Insight on Working in the Field - March 2017

Rachel Routley - Senior Humanitarian Program Officer, CARE Australia will talk about her experience working and living abroad in the international development sector. Rachel has recently moved back to Australia after working overseas for many years. She has worked in Nepal, Sierra Leone, Lebanon, Sudan, Bangladesh and India, on a variety of themes including human rights, disarmament, poverty reduction and women's economic empowerment and for both government and UN agencies. She is currently working in CARE's humanitarian team, focusing on the Mekong region.

December 2016

Caterina Sullivan, CEO of Global Goals Australia spoke about a national advocacy campaign on the SDG's and member support as well as giving us an insight into her career and the steps that took her to CEO. She covered how she started the Global Goals Australia campaign in October 2015. Last year, she worked with the Global Poverty Project and Project Everyone in New York for three months to launch the SDGs on 25 September. Caterina has embarked on a journey to work alongside governments and organisations to make the vision of the SDGs a reality. She is consulting with federal, state and local governments on the implementation of the targets. She also works with businesses, NGOs, educational institutions and community groups to educate and inspire change to achieve the goals. In recognition of her passion and commitment, she is a finalist for the 2017 ACT Young Australian of the Year award.

November 2016

Janelle Weissman- Executive Director, UN Women National Committee for Australia, who will speak about how the programs it funds respond to needs and reflect best practice. also reflect on her career and provide insights into the steps she took to become a leader.


Heather Moore- National Policy and Advocacy Officer for the Freedom Partnership, Salvation Army, who will talk about how she is building a national movement to end modern slavery. Heather will also reflect on the steps that have taken her career into this area of leadership.


Speed Networking Event July 2016

Connected women working in government, NGOs, academia and development & consulting at different stages of their careers. Exchanged insights and experiences, and shared ideas and goals! The event created a safe and fun space for WiAD members to get to know each other better.

Dymphna Lowrey - June 2016

Dymphna Lowrey – Special Advisor, Restorative Engagement Program, Defence Abuse Response Taskforce

Dymphna has worked as the Special Advisor to the Taskforce’s Restorative Engagement Program for the past three years. Leading development of the model and driving implementation of the Program. In 2015, she was awarded a Practitioner Award by the Resolution Institute for her creative adaptation of dispute resolution to meet specific needs.

Dymphna’s career took in work as a refuge worker in a women’s shelter, an alcohol and drug worker & work in the criminal justice system, manager of the ACT Restorative Justice Unit

Dr Lia Kent & Barbara O'Dwyer - April 2016

Dr Lia Kent- Dr Lia Kent is a Fellow in the RegNet School of Regulation and Global Governance and a member of the Centre for International Governance and Justice (CIGJ). Prior she was a Research Fellow at ANU’s State, Society and Governance in Melanesia (SSGM) program. She has research interests in the areas of transitional justice, memory studies, peacebuilding, and gender studies especially in Timor-Leste. Her work is on the discursive struggles that take place in post-conflict societies over questions of remembrance, reconciliation and justice and what these reveal about the dynamics of nation formation and the local ‘translation’ of international norms as is her book, The Dynamics of Transitional Justice: International Models and Local Realities in East Timor (Routledge 2012).

​Barbara O’Dwyer– Barbara O’Dwyer B.A. Masters in Peace Studies. She spent 27 years working in AusAID in the Pacific, on UN and Humanitarian/Peace and Conflict programs, specialising in gender and peacebuilding, violence against women, particularly in conflict situations, reproductive health in crisis situations and civil-military relations and as Gender Adviser. Now consulting on the gender dimensions of crisis situations. Adjunct Professional Associate in the Dept of International Relations at University of Canberra (UC) from 2010-2015, is a member of the ACFID Gender Equality Working Group.

She is also President of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and convenor of the National Working Group on UNSCR 1325. Barbara was active in instigating the development of the Australian National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. Is Chair of Civil Society Coalition on Women, Peace and Security and a member of the steering committee that brings together Government and civil society on implementation of the NAP.

Joyce Wu & Sally Moyle - ​July 2015

Speakers: Joyce Wu (ANU) and Sally Moyle, Principal Sector Specialist for Gender Equality (DFAT)

Joyce Wu

Joyce Wu is a PhD candidate at the Regulatory Institutions Network (RegNET) at the Australian National University (ANU) who recently submitted her thesis. She lectures at ANU and the University of Canberra on international development. Joyce has worked with organisations including UN Women and Australian Aid. Her focuses on development include gender-based violence, male behavioural change, and monitoring & evaluation.

Joyce will give a biographical chat and share reflections on her doctoral research on men’s roles in violence against women programs in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Timor Leste.

Sally Moyle

Sally has been the Principal Sector Specialist for Gender Equality in Australia’s aid program since May 2013. Sally has been a senior executive in the Australian Government since 2008, responsible for the Office for Women, and working on Indigenous Affairs and in Disability Care Australia. Prior to this, Sally was the AusAID Gender Adviser. Sally came to AusAID in 2006 with a decade’s experience in gender equality policy domestically and internationally at the Australian Human Rights Commission, where Sally was the Director of the Sex Discrimination Unit. Sally has been a team leader at the Australian Law Reform Commission, responsible for a two-year national inquiry into Children and the Legal Process, and a Senior Investigator at the Office of the NSW Ombudsman, investigating complaints against police. Sally has also worked as a private legal practitioner and academic.

Sally will speak about her work experiences and share insights on the challenges of integrating a gender perspective in development policy and practice.