Francesca de Munnich (MSc ’15) has a policy and advocacy role in the charity sector. Following her MSc in Gender, Development and Globalisation, she has worked for a number of charities in the UK. Francesca currently works for Save the Children, focusing on the impact of poverty on children’s early learning and development.
In Francesca’s spare time, she helps to run the Scottish Women’s Network for the Third Sector.
How did you find yourself in your current role?
After my Masters degree, I knew I wanted to work in the non-profit sector. I embarked upon a policy internship with the children’s charity Barnardo’s and through that fully realised the potential of public policy to improve the state of the world. I then held further short-term roles to gain experience and settled at a cancer charity, where I carried out a range of policy, public affairs and campaigning work for nearly two years.
Through my current role at Save the Children, I’ve returned to the children’s sector. My work combines my interest in issues that affect children and young people and my passion for achieving social justice through tackling the structural causes of poverty and inequality.
What does a typical day at work look like for you?
This is a really difficult question as I don’t think there is a “typical” day! I would say, though, that my role requires a lot of reading and analysis – to work in the policy world you need to enjoy scrutinising a range of evidence, including technical documents, statistics and legislation.
But it’s not just about being locked away in a room, or ivory tower. We also need to consider how we use evidence to influence others and create change. So I spend a reasonable amount of my time meeting a range of stakeholders, including government officials, parliamentarians and other organisations. And, whenever possible, I try to engage directly with children and families. It’s so vital that their voices are heard on the issues that affect them.
You previously taught English abroad. Do you find yourself using any skills from this role in your current position?
Whilst my teaching role was very different, I do draw upon many of the same skills. In particular, I think teaching in a completely different professional and cultural environment taught me to be more open-minded. It’s encouraged me to be much more flexible and collaborative in engaging with others.
What skills did you learn at LSE that you find yourself still using in your current role?
Above all else, my Masters degree at LSE taught me to think critically and forensically. On a daily basis, I’m considering complex social problems and possible policy solutions. My degree really enabled me to hone my critical thinking skills. And I always try to bring a gender lens to my work; to understand the impact policy-making has on tackling or embedding gendered inequalities.
What advice would you give to LSE students interested in a career in policy and advocacy in the charity sector?
Absolutely go for it! It’s a fascinating sector to be in and constantly evolving as the external environment changes.
I would advise LSE students to do their homework – research and reflect on the issues and organisations that interest you. It’s a vast sector, so start to pin down your motivations. Are you passionate about the environment, human rights, or international development? And which aspects of the policy and advocacy world spark your interest? Do you want to carry out policy research and analysis? Or do you want to use evidence to influence in the political arena? Identifying what interests and inspires you will help to guide your first steps in the sector.