Dr Janet O'Connor, Board Member

Dr Janet O'Connor, Board Member | ChildFund New Zealand

“I come from Kiribati, a country where children are facing a lot of social issues including poverty, domestic violence and malnutrition. Poverty and violence are major social issues in a lot of countries and impact negatively on many children’s lives. They are our future and we must protect them and support their wellbeing in order for them to become good leaders of the future. It is so critical that help is provided at an early stage in their lives while their vulnerable bodies are undergoing major developmental milestones mentally, physically, and emotionally. Most of the time, their own government does not have the resources to provide these children their right to better living and to lift them out of poverty and other social issues.” 

Janet's background in clinical health and public health provides in depth understanding on the environmental effects on the delicate health of children and the important role of communities, systems and partnerships can play in addressing them. Through ChildFund, she is able to see the broader understanding of the global magnitude of the problem, knowledge about what is being done about it by world players, where the gaps are and what’s working or not working. She joined the ChildFund board in 2019.

Janet has a background in health, with a degree in medicine and public health, and a special interest in youth nutrition and wellbeing. Janet has over 20 years’ experience working in project management, strategy, policy development and governance in international organisations and in the Pacific region. 

She was born in Kiribati, and is now retired doing various community developmental projects with Pasifika minority migrants and the Pasifika community in New Zealand. Her volunteer work for the Kiribati communities in New Zealand includes with the West Auckland Kiribati association (promoting wellbeing through many activities with Kiribati people in West Auckland); Pasifika Migrant Services (providing supportive services to minority migrants from Kiribati, Tuvalu and other Pacific countries); and Kiribati Federation Aotearoa (promoting wellbeing of Kiribati communities throughout New Zealand through prevention of domestic violence initiatives) 

Janet's hobbies are playing golf, tennis, kitchen gardening and social cycling.