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Brigid OConnor

Brigid OCOnnorTitle: CRS Chief of Party - Jonglei Food Security Program
Areas of Expertise: South Sudan, education, peacebuilding, food security, governance and democracy, and capacity and institution building
Languages Spoken: English, French and basic Sudanese Arabic

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Biography

Brigid OConnor is the team leader for a $54-million, three-year Jonglei Food Security Program (JFSP), a livelihoods and food security intervention in South Sudan funded by the U.S. Agency of International Development (USAID). The program launched in September 2011 under Catholic Relief Services leadership, working in collaboration with Save the Children and Joint Aid Management.

The JFSP program will target more than 150,000 families in eight of Jonglei's 11 counties. It will address issues of hunger and limited infrastructure in South Sudan's most underdeveloped state by providing food in exchange for recovery projects, and will also train poor communities in business and agriculture skills to help them become self-sufficient.

Inter-communal fighting has plagued several of the counties where the JFSP operates, including Pibor, the site of continued conflict between two of the state's pastoralist communities.

Ms. OConnor has years of experience working in Sudan and South Sudan. Most recently she worked for The Carter Center as an observer during South Sudan's historic referendum, in which South Sudanese overwhelmingly voted to secede from the North. After the landmark signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005, which essentially put an end to two decades of conflict and created the interim Government of South Sudan, OConnor led a USAID-funded program to provide capacity and infrastructure development to the newly formed government.

Ms. OConnor has also worked for the United Nations Mission in Sudan, specializing in Eastern Sudan and Blue Nile State, and for USAID on peacebuilding and democratic transition in the Three Areas, Khartoum and Darfur. OConnor has experience working in humanitarian response, livelihoods and on girls' education for displaced communities in eastern Sudan. Before Sudan's civil war, OConnor was a lecturer at the University of Juba in the College of Adult Education.

Ms. OConnor received a Postgraduate Diploma in Development Economics from the University of Manchester, holds a Master's degree in Information Science from the City University of London, Pittsburgh, and a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy and History from the National University of Ireland. Her work outside of Sudan includes the management of the Global HIV/AIDS Initiative in Nigeria and she has also worked for the British Council in Nepal, India, Zambia and Nigeria. She is fluent in English, French and basic Sudanese Arabic.