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Toyin Ogundana

CAF Venturesome

Charities Aid Foundation

SPOTLIGHT ON ANA VAN BILSEN IRIAS

23 August 2017


Ana Van Bilsen Irias is our Team Administrator. She provides administrative and deal support to the venturesome team, particularly with new deal enquiries, compliance and marketing. Here, she talks to us about her interest in social investment and her career.

TELL ME A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR BACKGROUND

I am half-Nicaraguan, half-Belgian and after living in Nicaragua for 18 years I decided to move to France and study Law and Political Science at the Université Louis-Lumière Lyon II. After 3 wonderful years living in the “culinary capital of France”, I decided to move to the city of lights, Paris. Whilst in Paris I decided to go for a master degree in “International Studies and International Development” at Université Sorbonne-Nouvelle Paris III. During my course I specialised in project management and women’s rights in peacebuilding and conflicted affected areas.

DESCRIBE YOUR JOURNEY INTO YOUR CURRENT ROLE AT CAF:

Before joining CAF Venturesome, I had the opportunity to work with UNICEF Nicaragua in Innovation and the use of the “Human-Centered Design”. I supported the development of projects and policies for children’s rights in the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua. In order to obtain my Master degree I realised an internship with Concordis International, this is a non-profit organisation that works impartially alongside those involved in or affected by armed conflict, working towards the prevention and transformation of violent conflict.  During my time with them I worked in project management for the Côte d’Ivoire (assisting the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission) and Mauritania (work with civil society leaders on drivers of conflict) peacebuilding programmes. 

I undertook an internship with CAF in December 2016 with the Global Alliance Team, where I had the chance to learn about supporting civil society and philanthropy across the world, and it was fascinating. Then two months ago my Venturesome adventure started. My career (education) background screams of “International Development” and “Peacebuilding”, however I’ve always been attracted to social investment.

What fascinates me about CAF Venturesome is their impact led approach, seeking to demonstrate the feasibility of a model that places social impact in the centre, and ahead of financial returns

WHAT TYPES OF CAUSES ARE YOU MOST ATTRACTED TO?

I have a keen interest in organisations focused in environmental change, peacebuilding, women’s rights, sexual and reproductive rights, and education. I know, it was supposed to be a short list. But without a doubt, the best part of my job is seeing how Venturesome’s affordable finance has supported an incredible range of charities and social enterprises, in delivering high social impact.

Want to know more? Talk to our team on 03000 123 300 or email us at venturesome@cafonline.org and we’ll be happy to help.

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Ana-Julia Van Bilsen Irias

Team Administrator

Ana is responsible for providing administrative and deal support to the CAF Venturesome team, particularly with new deal enquiries, compliance and marketing.

Ana previously worked in peacebuilding project management at Concordis International, and prior to this worked in Innovation for children’s rights at UNICEF Nicaragua. She has a degree in Law and Political Science from Université Lyon II and a MSc in International Studies and International Development from Université Sorbonne-Nouvelle Paris III.

 

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