n i g h t i n g a l e s h i r a z / work

summary cv/résumé

LinkedIn profile
These days...

...I’m interested in part-time editing, writing, and related assignments.  My default preference is to work from home, but if you have intelligence and integrity, and if you believe in professional excellence, I can show up wherever we need to be.
    Freelance Editor / Writer

Most recently, I’ve been working on projects that have ranged from basic proofreading and copyediting through to comprehensive, developmental and/or substantive editing, and from general audience, business, and marketing copy to scientific or technical content. Selected examples of publications I have edited and/or written for are listed below.

FAO/Intake Global report on the state of dietary data (FAO and Intake-Center for Dietary Assessment, 2022)

The resilience of domestic transport networks in the context of food security – A multi-country analysis: Background paper for The State of Food and Agriculture 2021 (FAO, 2021)

Capacity needs assessment tool: School-based food and nutrition education (FAO, 2021)

Policy Briefs (3): Leveraging small and medium-sized enterprises for nutrition-sensitive food systems in Ghana, Kenya and Viet Nam (FAO, 2021)

Literature Reviews (4): Maximizing nutrition in crop production, livestock, fisheries and aquaculture, and forestry, using a food systems approach (FAO, 2021)

Technical note: Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS), geographical indications (GIs) and Slow Food Presidia (FAO, 2020)

School-based food and nutrition education: A white paper on the current state, principles, challenges and recommendations for low-and middle-income countries (FAO, 2020)

FAO/Intake joint meeting report: Dietary Data Collection, Analysis and Use (FAO and Intake-Center for Dietary Assessment, 2020)

FAO/INFOODS Food Composition Table for Western Africa (2019): User Guide & Condensed Food Composition Table (FAO, 2020)
Food and Agriculture Organization
of the United Nations

FAO Gender

  Writer & Editor / Communications & Web

For five years I worked with the Gender team at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), as both a writer/editor, and as a communications and web specialist.

Writer & Editor
I researched, drafted, and edited/revised articles, stories and other content focusing on FAO’s work in promoting and increasing gender equality and rural women’s empowerment. Content was drawn from FAO publications, videos, project/programme reports and in-person correspondence/interviews, and covered issues relating to gender equality and women’s empowerment across different areas/sectors in global development: crops, livestock, fisheries, forestry, food and nutrition security, social protection, natural resources, climate change, emergencies and resilience, agricultural policy, and the 2030 Agenda. Selected examples of my writing for FAO Gender are linked below.

Communications & Web
I also maintained and updated the FAO Gender website, ensuring that the site featured links and references to the latest relevant articles and content/media from FAO Regional Offices and other websites. This involved content management and updates in six languages; image research and editing/graphics; light coding (HTML) and backend CMS administration (TYPO3); and familiarity with both general and internal standards for information architecture, user experience, look-and-feel, etc.

In Bangladesh: three women, three farmers, three tales of success
Cooking SAFE: fuel-efficient stoves for displaced communities in South Sudan
FTT-Thiaroye Ovens: Clearing the air for women fish processors in Côte d’Ivoire
Women fish processors and the ripple effect: a little knowledge goes a long way
FAO and UN Women: partnering for rural women and men in Pakistan

Story Collections
Empowerment examples: stories from rural women around the world
Results of rural women’s empowerment: joint UN programme gathers speed

Interviews / Q&A
The new Gender and Land Rights Database: a hub of information
Gender in Food and Nutrition Security: at the centre of agricultural development
How a global campaign against sheep and goat plague can help rural women

News / Event Overviews
Leaving no one behind: FAO special event highlights rural women
The Power of the Adolescent Girl: Marking the International Day of the Girl Child
Family farming in Africa: lessons in closing the gender gap
Lorenzo de’Medici Institute

Department of Communications
Department of Writing

  Adjunct Professor

I taught undergraduate creative writing and communication theory to US university students doing study abroad in Rome. Courses included:

Travel Writing, which focuses on both creative writing and literary appreciation in the context of travel — in particular the study abroad experience. The course enables students to develop and refine both general and specific writing skills, by looking at the literary ‘greats’ of travel literature, and by writing and workshopping their own pieces. Students from the class have gone on to write for The American Magazine, Comedy Central, Cosmopolitan, The Daily Beast, the Huffington Post, the New York State Conservationist, and more...

Intercultural Communications, which provides a base in intercultural or cross-cultural communication theory, looks at cultural differences and their role in effective communication (or lack thereof) in an ever more globalized world. In addition to learning (and learning to apply / use) the key theoretical models that enable general intercultural competence, students also get to explore specific intercultural communication issues and approaches in the context of their study abroad experience in Italy. I promise it’s more fun that it sounds.
Food and Agriculture Organization
of the United Nations

TC Intranet

  Communication Specialist

For almost two years, I worked with the departmental communications team in FAO’s Technical Cooperation Department (TC) on internal communications (in particular, via the TC Intranet).

Areas of expertise and responsibility included:
content strategy and implementation — both at general and specific levels (planning, sourcing and individual article / story development);
writing / editing and proofing / revision for both internal communications and external media, on a range of subjects within the larger context of FAO’s work in international development and technical cooperation (agricultural investment, south-south cooperation, emergencies / emergency projects in forestry, fisheries, and other technical areas);
Information Architecture / user experience and usability;
day-to-day management of static and dynamic site areas (for both text and graphics);
community management / moderation; and
reporting / analysis of web traffic data.

Thanks to a past life as a computer geek (shh, don’t tell anyone), I also did some light coding and customization for the TC Intranet, and was able to liaise with CIO on quicker / easier processing times for new features, fixes and changes.

At the very beginning of my time with TC, my work centered on planning and organizing for the launch of the TC Intranet website itself. I worked on content planning / preparation and entry, and managed most of the day-to-day coordination (with staff in both TC and CIO) on content decisions, technical requirements, quality assurance and problem resolution, and overall site readiness.
Food and Agriculture Organization
of the United Nations

Global Forum for Food Security & Nutrition

  Writer & Editor

I researched, wrote, and edited a book-length publication for FAO’s Global Forum for Food Security & Nutrition. The book, titled The Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition - Online discussions that make a difference, showcases some of the Forum’s most significant online discussions and illustrates the value of knowledge sharing for improved food security and nutrition.

My work involved the analysis of detailed technical content on themes ranging from Women in Agriculture to Food Security Governance; interviews with discussion facilitators and participants around the world; and the building of a cohesive, overarching narrative for the book, to spotlight tangible ‘wins’ in collaborative information exchange.

Both in terms of process and final product, this is one of my favorite projects: because it was extremely challenging in terms of the depth and breadth of subject matter involved; because it was extremely rewarding at the same time; and because I think the work that the Forum does is incredibly important and relevant — not just in the context of food security and nutrition, but in the larger sense of how we need to think about working in global development today.

Click here to view and/or download the publication.
Food and Agriculture Organization
of the United Nations

State of Food and Agriculture 2010–11

  Writer / Scriptwriter

This project was a joint collaboration with the Gender, Equity and Rural Employment Division (ESW) and the Agricultural Development Economics Division (ESA) at FAO. The idea was to produce a short, animated video / ‘short’ to illustrate key messages from the 2010-11 edition of FAO’s flagship publication, the State of Food and Agriculture.

My work included interviews and fact-finding / research through FAO’s technical divisions (for typical / real life stories and scenarios), concept and content / story development, storyboarding and support towards animation and production, and writing / editing for a companion web site that was launched along with the video.

Click here to watch the video (2 minutes, 16 seconds).
Food and Agriculture Organization
of the United Nations

CountrySTAT for Sub-Saharan Africa

  Communication Officer & Reports Officer

Responsible for CountrySTAT’s external, ‘corporate’ communication and messaging for print, audio and video at international, regional and national levels: through management of the CountrySTAT Communication unit at FAO headquarters; through coordinated supervision of national communication / media consultants in the project’s 17 countries; and through the development / implementation of the project’s Communication Strategy and Country Communication Plans. Key achievements included: a standard workflow for collecting media outputs (print, audio, video) for storage and reuse in CountrySTAT Media Kits and for the CountrySTAT Channel on YouTube; and a customized media tracking and archiving system for measuring the impact of communication / media activities in the international, regional and national press.

Also responsible for all internal and donor-related project reporting and communications: annual and quarterly progress reports; grant and project proposals; planning and strategy documents; briefings, press releases, presentations and speeches. Key achievements included: a structured monitoring and reporting system to collect and coordinate information on project activities from team members and country-based stakeholders, for quick and easy presentation via project ‘dashboards’ and summaries.

Knowledge-management and information-sharing (within the project team; across FAO and other UN agencies, and with relevant development organizations and initiatives) for improved teamwork and learning / sharing of best practices; stronger collaboration with partners and stakeholders; and greater project visibility, awareness and advocacy.

Communication, facilitation, reporting and support to cross-divisional and corporate activities beyond CountrySTAT: ES Strategic Communication Team; World Food Day; Fifth International Conference on Agricultural Statistics (ICAS-V); and ES Senior Management Workshops.
Bell Canada / Sympatico

Service.Sympatico Site Re-Design

  Technical Writer & Information Architect

Bell Sympatico is the Internet arm of Canada’s largest and best-known communications company, with over 2.4 million English- and French-speaking customers on dial-up, high-speed and combined subscriptions — all of whom are users of the company’s bi-lingual customer support web site, Service.Sympatico.

Responsible for content inventories, sitemaps and user flows for existing pages towards a phased approach for content re-categorization, restructuring and revision. Developed and revised content to follow identified Information Architecture and copy guidelines, and helped coordinate content approval cycles and translation processes. Worked on quality assurance of site-wide content (including proofing, functional- and flow-validation).
Government of Canada - Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Embassy of Canada in Italy

  Technical Writer & Trainer

As part of a technical implementation across the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the Canadian Embassy in Rome piloted a custom-built contact management system (specially designed and developed in Berlin, Germany) for managing diplomatic and political contacts, and special events. Roles and responsibilities included:
development of course outlines/materials, execution of training courses, workshops, exercises.
analysis and understanding (at technical and business-user levels) of the new system.
translation/simplification of current business processes via user-interviews, meetings and audits.
inter-departmental co-ordination of new system.
design, development and documentation for multi-user training and documentation systems.



Work at Razorfish included:
‘Straight’ Tech: analyzing client problems and defining phased and structured solutions based on time / materials, user needs and IT / project-management best-practices; implementation and programming for selected solutions across multiple platforms, user-environments and technologies.
Bizdev & Strategy: client pitches, RFPs, and presentations; as well as IT strategy services (competitive analyses, proposals and special papers).
Management & Comms: coordinating and managing technology project teams (identifying and allocating tasks, timelines, and dependencies).; managing client communications and reporting throughout the project process; internal knowledge management and training activities.