The Irish Americans
Vanessa Tobin works for the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), which fights for children’s rights, their survival, development and protection. Vanessa joined UNICEF in 1981.
She has been Chief of the Water, Environment and Sanitation Section of UNICEF since May 2001, and now serves as Deputy Director of the Program Division where she is responsible for new roles, functions and responsibilities of the division, with a focus on providing technology that is appropriate and manageable for the people of third world countries.
Born in England of Irish parents – her father was from Drangan, Co. Tipperary, and her mother hailed from County Laois – Vanessa obtained her BSc in civil engineering from Birmingham University, and an MSC in public health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and went on to earn a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University. She began her career working as a civil engineer for the British government and as a sanitary engineer in the UK and Nepal.
She also served as a consultant for the NGO ACORD in Southern Sudan and as a Technical Cooperation Officer for the British government in Lesotho. Since beginning her work with UNICEF in 1981, she has been stationed in Nepal, Pakistan and Egypt where she worked to provide suitable sanitation programs for rural and peri-urban areas. Though her work has spanned a variety of areas, her main focus has been on sanitation and Tobin continues to work through UNICEF, with companies such as Ethos Water to get safe, clean water to those in need.
Return to Global 100