Jessica Ferne oversees an extensive global portfolio of humanitarian response and development initiative. As the Director of Programs for IDRF, a Canadian-based INGO, she has delivered dozens of programs serving people in need across South Asia, the Middle East, Eastern and Southern Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Americas. Throughout her career, she has deployed to Lebanon, Turkey, Pakistan, Nepal, Belarus, Zambia, Tanzania, Guyana, and across Canada.
Jessica currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Ontario Council for International Cooperation, an international development and education network working globally for social justice, as well as for Licensed to Learn, which provides over 3,500 Toronto & GTA youth with free peer-led academic support and leadership opportunities each year. She is also an ally volunteer with NU, a youth-driven collective aiming to diversify the sexual health and rights dialogue for GTA newcomer, immigrant, and second generation youth.
A passionate social justice advocate, Jessica has served in various leadership capacities in Canada and abroad, with a particular focus on emergency response; refugee, undocumented community, and criminalized community health; youth engagement; and sexual and reproductive health and rights. Prior to joining IDRF, Jessica held diverse roles with the UNDP, Bay Centre for Birth Control, Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services, Planned Parenthood Ottawa, and many others.
Jessica completed her Master of Public Health degree at the University of Toronto, and an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy at the University of Ottawa. She has completed post-graduate studies in Advanced International Project Management (University of Toronto); International Policy Analysis & Strategic Planning (Carleton University); and Humanitarian Response (Harvard University).
Jessica is currently based in Toronto, and speaks both English and French.
Industry Expertise (5)
Areas of Expertise (12)
Sexual & Reproductive Health
Refugee and Human Rights Issues
University of Toronto: Master of Public Health (MPH) 2010
Health Promotion, Women's Health
University of Ottawa: Honours Bachelor of Arts 2006
Carleton University: Executive Certificate 2017
International Policy Analysis & Strategic Planning
Humanitarian Academy, Harvard University: Certificate 2014
University of Toronto - School of Continuing Studies: Graduate Certificate 2011
Advanced International Project Management
- Board Member, Licensed to Learn
- Board Member, Ontario Council for International Cooperation
Media Appearances (4)
'Our duty to help'
Metro News - Toronto print
Group launches relief campaign for East Africa
Toronto group wants to engage with young Muslims on disability issues
Metro News - Toronto print
The challenges of living with disabilities know no religious boundaries. That’s why a Toronto group is hoping to engage Muslim millennials across the country, talking about how they can help bring down barriers so everyone can live with dignity.
IDRF's Director of Programs Speaks about the Challenges and Needs of Nepal
Excerpt from full interview
Ebola Response: Household Protection Kits
IDRF & GlobalMedic online
Joint Disaster Response: Household Protection Kits Distribution
Event Appearances (8)
Saviour Complex: Navigating Religion’s Messy History & Current Role in Development
International Development Conference 2017, University of Toronto Scarborough Campus Toronto, Canada
Reflections on Moving towards the Sustainable Development Goals
Development Drinks, OCIC Toronto, Canada
From International Volunteer to Career: Pathways in International Cooperation
Go Global Expo Toronto, Canada
Responding to the Syrian Crisis - our work in Canada and abroad
When Art mets MSF Toronto, Canada
Witness: Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration
Standing Committee on the Federal Government’s Initiative to Resettle Syrian Refugees to Canada Ottawa, Canada
Needs of Syrian refugees resettling to Canada
Town Hall: Syrian Refugee Resettlement Toronto, Canada
Rewriting the Script: Queer-Positive Health Care in Action
32nd Annual Guelph Sexuality Conference Guelph, Canada
Sex Work and the Urban Environment
18th Congress on Women’s Health Issues Philadelphia, USA