The Salvation Army
New overseas development officer brings world of experience
Wellington, 5 February 2008 – An officer with more than 20 years’ experience in developing countries has been appointed to lead The Salvation Army’s overseas development work.
Major Jan Smithies has taken up the role of Territorial Secretary for Overseas Development, which involves oversight of The Salvation Army’s development programmes in Fiji, Tonga, Malawi, Tanzania and China.
The programmes have a strong emphasis on empowering local people through a range of practical projects such as the provision of clean water, education, and improved housing.
Major Smithies has spent more than half of her 41-year Salvation Army career working in developing countries. She served for 20 years in Singapore and Malaysia, working in children’s homes and holding positions as Social Services Secretary and Financial Secretary. This was followed by three years as Regional Commander for Myanmar.
Major Smithies says that her experience overseas has given her a valuable insight into the conditions and needs of people in developing countries.
‘I am looking forward to the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of people that are being helped through The Salvation Army’s development programmes.
‘We aim to improve people’s quality of life by providing basic infrastructure, training, and encouragement. In the process people are empowered to move forward in a sustainable way.’
Major Smithies comes to the Wellington-based position from Hamilton, where as director of The Nest she oversaw the provision of a wide range of social and community services.