Jessica A. Lenz re-joined InterAction in May 2019 as the Senior Technical Advisor for Protection, leading InterAction’s flagship program on results-based protection.
Previously, from 2012-2018, Jessica served as InterAction's Senior Program Manager for Protection, initiating the development of the framework for results-based protection and supporting InterAction’s Gender-Based Violence Working Group. During her year away, Jessica oversaw Save the Children’s child protection portfolio as the Senior Director for Child Protection. A critical piece of her work during that year was providing strategic direction for Save the Children’s humanitarian response within the Northern Triangle countries of Central America and steering Save the Children’s work at the border.
Jessica has over 20 years of experience working on protection, specifically child protection and gender-based violence in humanitarian action. As an independent expert for most of her professional career, Jessica worked with countless INGOs, UN agencies, and donors supporting both policy and programming on child protection. Her area of expertise focuses on the issue of child recruitment committed by parties to conflict. She has advised and supported programming focused on prevention, response, and reintegration of children forced into armed groups.
Jessica brings a resilience perspective to her work and challenges actors to better understand and support locally-driven protection mechanisms to foster empowerment and change. She is the co-founder of the community-based organization Empowering Hands—a female-led NGO in N. Uganda that supports the reintegration and psychosocial support of children affected by conflict.
Jessica is the author of numerous studies, tools, and guidance on child protection and most recently, a contributing author in the edited book by B. Akesson & M. Denov (July 2017) Working with Children affected by Armed Violence: Theory, Method, Practice; Contributing author, Chapter 5: Armed with Resilience: Tapping into the Experiences and Survival Skills of Formerly Girl Child Soldiers in Northern Uganda.
Jessica holds a B.A. from the American University of Paris and received a joint MSc Magna Cum Laude through Oxford, Oxford Brookes University, and Summa Cum Laude through the International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Quite the world traveler, Jessica has lived, visited, and worked in 90 countries. She is also an artist, aspiring children’s book author, and a certified Birth Doula. She has a passion for lemurs and ice hockey and is kept in constant reflection as she solo-raises her empowered and spirited 9-year-old daughter and two Maine Coon/Mix kitties!