Paul Smith Lomas
Paul Smith Lomas works for Practical Action as the International Policy & Programmes Director, leading programs that use technology to help improve people’s well-being around the world. Last year Practical Action's work had a direct impact on over a million people in some 15 countries. He also has oversight of efforts to use the organization's experience and learning on the ground to influence the policies and practices of others, whether private sector, UN, NGO, or government agency.
Paul’s professional background is as a mechanical engineer. He worked in the water treatment industry in the UK before going on assignment with Voluntary Service Overseas in 1985 to Eastern Sudan, where he was seconded to the Government of Sudan, setting up water and sanitation systems for refugee populations from Eritrea and Ethiopia. He then was with ActionAid in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan, still working on public health engineering for rural communities.
In 1989 Paul returned to the UK, to the commercial sector, as a consultant engineer with Howard Humphries, completing a range of UK-based assignments including London Underground and South West Water. In 1991 he returned to the nonprofit sector, this time with Oxfam. Over the following 19 years he undertook a range of roles with Oxfam, including some seven years as an engineer helping to respond to humanitarian crises around the world and then as the organization’s Humanitarian Director. In recognition of his leadership in Oxfam’s work responding to the Kosovo crisis, he was awarded an MBE for service to international development. Paul also spent five years based in Kenya as Oxfam’s Regional Director in the Horn and Eastern Africa, where he managed a large program covering development, campaigning, and emergency response.