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Localising Knowledge and Co-Creating Pathways for Community-Led Transformation

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Community Empowerment and Engagement Projects

In my community projects, I prioritise genuine collaboration and skill-building. I partner with local leaders and organizations to drive change from within the community. My work involves facilitating skill-sharing sessions, negotiating partnerships, and fostering open dialogues, ensuring that projects are not only led but also shaped by the community members themselves, reflecting their needs and aspirations authentically. Effectively I have done learning and development projects from the bottom up - supporting CBOs to create change in their organisations strategically through localising knowledge and building a better structures for support. 

Current and Upcoming Projects related to Communities

Neurodiversity: Participation in Education and Research

Collaborating with colleagues from the University of Amsterdam(UvA) and Inholland Hogeschool, I am co-developing a master's elective course, funded by the UvA Education Innovation Grant: Fair, Resilient & Inclusive Societies (FRIS). This innovative course, set to launch in the 2024-2025 academic year, aims to immerse students in Participatory Action Research (PAR). It will emphasize the significance of involving neurodiverse communities as co-creators in research and education, offering students both theoretical understanding and practical skills in implementing inclusive, action-oriented research methods. The course is directed at masters level students in linguistics and brain and cognitive sciences. However, it is also available to students from other disciplines including those interested in critical and qualitative methods, and within or outside of the UvA. 

This course promotes community-led research, participatory action research (PAR) and reflective pedagogies in curriculum design.

Shifting Discourse in Rule of Law Development Policy

In this collaborative venture with EDOLAD colleagues, I contribute specialised knowledge on community-driven engagement for a transformative project at the intersection of rule of law (ROL) practices and decolonial scholarship. The project seeks to revitalise ROL development policies by fostering pluralism and embedding people-centred approaches, addressing the disconnect between academic insights and practical implementation. Our goal is to influence policy-making by advising the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs on enhancing localization programming, ensuring that power effectively shifts to local organizations and aligns with community needs.

Previous Community-Led Projects

Image by Marissa Grootes

CBO Strategic Support and Learning and Development

Core Skills

2019 - 2024

Community Engagement Consultant with Forced Migrant Led Initiatives

In collaboration with community-based organizations (CBO) and more specifically forced migrant-led initiatives, I've developed key documentation like data protection agreements to ensure the privacy and security of women's data within Somali community organizations. Additionally, I've facilitated the empowerment of community leaders by drafting impactful letters to international entities, articulating their needs effectively. My role also extended to enhancing their professional visibility through CV development and amplifying their narratives by co-writing for publications to gain a broader platform to share their impactful stories and knowledge.


Effectively these projects have been in CBO strategic review and learning and development. I drew on knowledge from my MSSc in Social and Community development - especially the module concerning organisational management to provide strategic and organisational support through my knowledge.

  • Legal and Participatory Action Research

  • Data Protection and Privacy Management

  • Community Leader Empowerment Strategies

  • Professional Development and Narrative Amplification

  • Strategic Planning for Community Organizations

  • Capacity Building and Educational Program Design

  • Local Knowledge Application and Advocacy

  • Effective Communication with Stakeholders

  • Needs and Assets Community Assessment

  • Stakeholder and Partnership Development

  • Workshop and Training Facilitation

  • Community Engagement and Profiling

  • Toolkit and Best Practices Development

  • Project Coordination and Evaluation

Image by Marissa Grootes

Participatory Research Skills Training Course Development and Implementation for Forced Migrant Leaders

Core Skills

2017 - 2018

Course Developer and Trainer

Between 2019 and 2024, as part of my PhD project, I created and facilitated a Participatory Research Skills Training Course designed specifically for and with refugee co-researchers. This course was aimed at empowering refugees by providing them with the necessary skills to conduct research on issues affecting their communities, using a collaborative and inclusive approach. Drawing upon my expertise in community engagement and my academic background with an MSSc in Social and Community Development, the curriculum focused on ethical research practices, effective data collection, and analysis techniques, ensuring that refugee voices were heard and valued in the research process. The integration of this course into broader community-based initiatives and forced migrant-led projects was a strategic effort to enhance its reach and sustain its impact, reflecting a commitment to capacity building within refugee communities.

  • Curriculum Design & Development

  • Strategic Educational Planning

  • Data Privacy & Ethics in Research

  • Engaging Course Material Creation

  • Learner-Centered Pedagogy

  • Interactive & Reflective Learning Techniques

  • Feedback Integration for Course Improvement

  • Cultural Sensitivity & Inclusivity

  • Participatory Research Methodologies

  • Adaptive Instruction Strategies

  • Learner Engagement & Retention Tactics


Research: Refugee Community Organisations

Core Skills

2017 - 2018

Participatory Action Researcher

During my PhD research project in Malaysia, I conducted qualitative research with 8 refugee-led organisations. In addition to research skills training, I advised on strategic management, project design and networking. The project looked at the concepts of community development and engagement in-depth. I facilitated focus groups and trainings around the topics of organisational change and partnerships.

  • Participatory Action Research & Legal Frameworks

  • Community-Led Organizational Strategy

  • Qualitative Research & Semi-Structured Interviewing

  • Needs and Asset Evaluation

  • Stakeholder Analysis & Partnership Development

  • Workshop Facilitation & Group Dynamics

  • Strategic Planning & Organizational Review

  • Training Program Design & Delivery

  • Community Engagement & Profiling

  • Toolkit and Best Practices Development

  • Project Coordination & Oversight

  • Performance Monitoring & Impact Evaluation


Valorising Voices PhotoVoices

Core Skills


Project leader

I led a team of volunteers to conduct a Photovoice Project. The team was made up of refugees and undocumented volunteers in the Netherlands, UK and Malaysia. I provided training support, funding and resources required for project. The photos was exhibited in the final COST Action IS1306 conference COST Action IS1306 conference New Speakers in A Multilingual Europe: Policies and Practices. 

  • Project Leadership & Management

  • Cross-Cultural Team Coordination

  • Photovoice Methodology Expertise

  • Exhibition & Gallery Presentation

  • Research & Data Collection

  • Professional Networking & Academic Engagement

  • Project Implementation & Logistics

  • Training & Capacity Building

  • Stakeholder Engagement & Community Liaison

  • Collaborative Work with Diverse Communities

Social network concept

Migration and Asylum Network

Core Skills

2013 - 2017


Started a digital platform for practitioners and researchers interested in Migration and asylum issues. Conducted research to expand the network and connected with interested stakeholders. I collected a team of volunteers who supported the daily running on the Facebook group, Twitter and Jiscmail pages. We also hosted events. This was a crash course in virtual team project management. The Migration and Asylum group is still continuing on Facebook. 

  • Start-Up Leader

  • Digital Community Engagement & Strategy

  • Virtual Team Management

  • Strategic Planning & Review

  • Project Management & Implementation

  • Professional Networking & Community Liaison

  • Monitoring, Evaluation & Reporting

  • Event Planning & Management

  • Budget Development & Financial Oversight

  • Content Creation & Visual Material Design

  • Stakeholder Engagement & Collaboration



Core Skills


Project coordinator

Volunteered at the Horn of Africa People’s Aid Northern Ireland (working with target group: refugees and asylum seekers).
Community Development and English Language Project Consulted on English language teaching and course development. Participated in meetings with funders, the board of directors and staff to create a new project; budget plan, strategic plan and conducted participatory meetings with board managers and forced migrants.  
Three Steps to Employment Project Consulted on English language teaching and course development. Conducted secondary research to support overall knowledge. Participated in meetings with funders, the board of directors and staff to collaborate and create a new project. 

  • Project Coordination & Management

  • Strategic Planning & Implementation

  • Participatory Meeting Facilitation

  • Project Performance Monitoring & Evaluation

  • Consultancy on Educational Program Development

  • Qualitative Research & Literature Review

  • Stakeholder Engagement & Interviews

  • Community Needs Assessment & Profiling

  • Focus Group Moderation

  • Trauma-Informed Approaches to Refugee Support

Image by Henry Be

Ballynafeigh Community Development Association

Core Skills



I worked with a Belfast community organisation to reevaluate their social media strategy. I conducted a short community research project; 

Creating Social Media Platforms as Shared Community Spaces at Ballynafeigh Community Development Association. 

I  did an organisation-wide review and research project to explore the social media options. The report addition brought up issues in the overall strategic review and organisational transparency in relation to their visibility, service provision and local communities’ needs.  

  • Qualitative Research & Analysis

  • Social Media Strategy Development

  • Organizational Strategy Review

  • Comprehensive Report Writing

  • Digital Community Engagement Studies

  • Stakeholder Engagement & Communication

  • Development of Digital Engagement Metrics

  • Created a participatory scale for digital engagement

Image by Jezael Melgoza


Core Skills

2010 -2011 

Senior Language Tutor

Taught in an English language school, funded by the Mexican Ministry of Education. The school was the enterprise wing of an environmental education NGO. In addition to teaching duties, I worked to improve the curriculum development and strategy of the school.

English Language Instruction

Curriculum Development & Enhancement

Teacher Mentorship & Training

Strategic Planning & Implementation

Organizational SWOT Analysis

Continuous Performance Evaluation

Innovative Teaching Methods (Bricolage)

Educational Program Monitoring & Review

Image by Artur Tumasjan

Birmingham Asian Resource Centre

Core Skills


Case Worker Admin Assistant

I had a year away from my BA and worked in the Birmingham Asian Resource Centre before a short trip to Japan to study Japanese. In this position, I first learned about the issues of asylum.  For the job interview, I was asked to memorise Article 2 of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (1953), this was the first time I read the convention. In this position, I worked alongside caseworkers supporting rejected asylum seekers in their appeal process. 

Case Management Support

Asylum Process Documentation

Legal Research Assistance

Administrative Support in Legal Settings

Interview Transcription & Data Entry

Refugee Rights & International Law Fundamentals

Multicultural Communication & Support

Image by Jessica Knowlden

The Llama Express

Core Skills



I started an English language travel newspaper in La Paz, Bolivia during a volunteer placement. The newspaper was focused on English speaking expats and travellers to la Paz. I worked with a small team of volunteers to write relevant stories. I helped sell advertising space to local businesses to finance the paper. I also connected with the local community organisations in the distribution of the paper. I returned to the UK to start university. The newspaper ran for 10 years before closing down. 

  • Start-up Founding & Leadership

  • Strategic Planning & Organizational Development

  • Journalism, Content Creation & Editing

  • Advertising Sales & Marketing Strategies

  • Community Engagement & Outreach

  • Bilingual Communication (English/Spanish)

  • Project Monitoring, Evaluation & Adaptation

  • Cross-Cultural Collaboration & Networking

  • Resourcefulness & Problem-Solving (Bricolage)

  • Stakeholder Management & Partnerships

  • Monitoring and Evaluation

Core Skills in Community Development Practice 


Participatory Strategy 

I first became interested in organisations structures during my MSSc and advised the participant organisations during my PhD on strategic reviews and organisational change.

I have learned to facilitate organisational change meetings, workshops and support a team to conduct a participatory strategic review. 


Impact Measurements, Mapping, Assessments & Toolkits

I have developed participatory tools used to evaluate, map or create impact measures for projects. I have also worked with teams to establish project learning and best practice to formulate toolkits. I am also able to create visually engaging websites, reports and other communications to showcase results. 


Community Profile

I have experience in profiling a community's services, projects, assets and needs in relation to a project goal/objective.  The profile can be used to identify internal or external factors which can act as project obstacles. Community profile's can focus on a PESTLE style/SLOC analysis or on the history, make-up and/or vulnerability factors or a community. Community profiles can be adapted to project needs and objectives. 


Collaborative Events

I have organised a number of types of events for academic purposes but also to support building connections. I recently organised a collaboration workshop for a Rohingya community organisation to support building their networks and partnerships with academic institutions and other organisations. 

Image by Jen P.
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Spotlight Projects -
Gender Violence

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