ActionAid Ireland Team

The ActionAid Ireland team can be reached by phone on +353 1 878 7911


Karol Balfe - CEO ActionAid Ireland

Karol Balfe – Chief Executive Officer

Karol Balfe joined ActionAid as CEO in September 2021 and oversees the organisation’s work. Karol has worked for over 20 years in the fields of international human rights, development and peacebuilding and has published policy and learning papers on a range of human rights and development issues. Karol has a Masters in Globalisation and has worked extensively with a range of civil society partners and communities in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.


Sarah Marshall – Executive Assistant

Sarah joined ActionAid in December 2022 and provides administrative support to the Senior Leadership Team as well as managing HR for the organisation. Sarah previously worked in the International Development Sector for nine years as a Volunteer Manager, Freelance Trainer and Programme Manager. She holds an MA in International Development from Maynooth University. Sarah is also a qualified Yoga Teacher and loves hiking, sea swimming and yoga



Claire Smith – Head of Fundraising

Claire has been part of the ActionAid team, working both in Ireland and the UK, for over seven years. She manages the Fundraising team to deliver the very best in supporter care for our committed and loyal supporters, as well as ensuring we are raising vital funds. In places like Gaza and Bangladesh, Claire has been fortunate to see firsthand how ActionAid’s work is changing lives. Before joining ActionAid, Claire worked as a Global Fundraising Specialist for Amnesty International. She has also worked as a Client Manager at a Face-to-Face Fundraising agency and managed the campaign planning teams at a Telemarketing agency.






Katie Ryan – Individual Giving Manager

Katie joined ActionAid in 2015 and since that time has worked across a variety of roles including fundraising, administration and governance. She has been in her current role as Individual Giving Manager since 2020, which sees her manage the delivery of ActionAid’s fundraising programme, as well as maximising supporter retention to ensure long-term sustainable growth. Katie has worked in the not-for-profit sector for over 12 years. Prior to working at ActionAid, she worked as the Client Services Manager at a Face-to-Face and Telemarketing Fundraising agency, where she helped plan and deliver Acquisition and Retention campaigns for a variety of charities based in Ireland and the UK.
A mum to three small boys, when she is not working Katie can often be found on the sideline of football match and loves to cook and read in her spare time.

Katie Ryan - ActionAid Ireland

Orlaith O’Rourke – Fundraising Data Coordinator

Orlaith has been working with ActionAid since April 2020. She manages our fundraising databases and data processes. Data is a cornerstone of fundraising; she ensures we connect meaningfully with our kind and generous supporters. Orlaith has worked in the non-profit sector since 2016 and is so grateful for this enriching professional career. Orlaith has a passion for lifelong learning, and loves to travel. Hailing from Donegal, she is always eager for the next adventure.

Jane Murray – Fundraising Executive

Jane started working with ActionAid in September 2021. Her role involves working on appeals, newsletters, telemarketing campaigns, as well as assisting organising events. After completing her MA in Gender Studies in 2018, she worked at the Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland, following by human rights think tank, Universal Rights Group, based in New York. Other than her passion for human rights, she loves to knit, swim and bake!

Mariana Musse – Digital Marketing Executive

Mariana joined ActionAid Ireland in May 2022, as Digital Marketing executive. Her varied role has grown and developed according to organisational needs and now includes website and PPC campaign management, data analysis and reporting, email marketing campaigns, graphic design, and video creation. Before joining ActionAid, Mariana worked for more than four years integrating all channels of marketing to drive conversion and brand exposure, leading, developing, and executing social media campaigns to connect with consumers. Mariana is originally from Brasil and makes a five-star Brazilian breakfast.

Mariana Musse - ActionAid Ireland



Communications and Campaigns


Jo-Ann Ward – Communications & Campaigns Manager

Jo-Ann joined ActionAid in 2013. Her role includes liaising with the media, running the global citizenship education programme and developing the organisation’s campaigning activities. She has over 15 years communications and campaigning experience, including almost 10 years with ActionAid. Jo-Ann has a Masters in Public Relations from TUD and a Masters in Equality from UCD. Jo-Ann is mum to two little girls and in her spare time loves reading, cooking veggies from her garden and spending time with her family in Cork.



Grainne Kilcullen – Head of Programmes

Grainne joined ActionAid in October 2022 and manages ActionAid Ireland’s programme team, overseeing a variety of programmes in Ireland and the Global South, funded by large and small donors. She has been working in the area of human rights, peacebuilding, governance and accountability, and gender justice for over 15 years with international, local and multilateral organisations. Grainne holds an LLM in International Human Rights Law and a BA in History and Philosophy. She likes to run and dance, and plays competitive hockey with her local club, Cork Wanderers. She also loves working in the garden – it gives her a sense of well-being to see flowers and vegetables grow.

Cillian Quinn – Policy & Programmes Coordinator

Cillian joined ActionAid in October 2020. In his role with ActionAid, Cillian bridges the link between programmes and policy and also leads in delivering our domestic projects. Cillian has worked for 10 years in the international and community development sector, with a varied experience of working in Sub-Saharan Africa to working with asylum seekers in IrelandHis biggest interest has always been women’s rights, with a focus on the intersectional challenges faced by women from the Global South. You will likely find Cillian up a mountain when not working or with friends and family!

International Programmes staff

Kenya | Josephine Ireri – Programme Performance and Learning Coordinator

Josephine is responsible for designing, developing, and implementing a monitoring, evaluation and learning system for our multi-country Women’s Rights Programme. With over 11 years’ experience, Josephine most recently served as a MEL Coordinator with FEMNET, a Pan-African feminist and women’s right network. Josephine holds a Masters in Project Planning and Management, a Degree in Integrated Community Development and Public Relations, and a professional Monitoring and Evaluation certification. A nature enthusiast, Josephine loves making spaces green and has planted over 2,500 trees, including fruit trees, at her upcountry farm and plans to continue doing so.

Josephine Ireri - ActionAid

Nepal | Nisha Lama Karki – GBV Protection Coordinator

Nisha joined ActionAid Ireland in August 2023 and provides technical knowledge and leadership in the areas of gender-based violence, women’s economic empowerment and climate justice to the Women’s Rights Programme. Prior to this Nisha worked with ActionAid Nepal for over ten years as Women’s Rights Specialist. Before ActionAid, she worked with female drug users and HIV/AID affected women and girls. She is a graduate of Social Work from Kathmandu University, Nepal. Nisha loves spending time with her two children, and as a foodie she loves cooking, travelling and tasting different cuisines.

Nisha Lama Karki - ActionAid Ireland



Olive Corbett – Head of Finance & Governance

Olive joined ActionAid in 2019. Her role is to ensure ActionAid Ireland meets the highest standards of financial management and governance. Before joining ActionAid, Olive qualified as a Chartered Accountant with PwC and then spent the following 16 years working in finance in the banking sector.


Kate A Carroll, Finance Co-ordinator - ActionAid Ireland

Kate A Carroll – Finance Co-ordinator

Kate joined ActionAid Ireland in September 2022 as part-time Finance Co-ordinator. She qualified as an Accounts Technician in 2009 and since then has worked in numerous organisations from construction to retail, gaining experience in finance departments on her way. She likes reading, Aqua aerobics, Zumba and knitting.

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