Joanna Toole, a British woman from Devon who focused on animal welfare issues and was helping Kenyan fishermen, was named as one of the 157 Ethiopian Airlines crash victims. She was 36-years-old and a worker with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Tributes flooded in on Twitter for Toole. “oh so very sad – Joanna Toole – a heroine for animals – we needed her – such a brave young lady,” read one. Her father, Adrian Toole, told Devon Live of his daughter’s travels, “personally I never wanted her to be on a single one of those planes.”
The crash remains under investigation. You can see a round-up of some of the other plane crash victims here. An Italian aid organization co-founder, the family members of a Slovakian MP, a Nigerian-born professor in Canada, and a prominent Kenyan soccer official were among the other victims named in the March 10, 2019 tragedy.
People from 35 countries were on board the doomed flight, and eight Americans were listed among the dead. The plane is the same Boeing model as a Lion Air flight that also crashed shortly after takeoff last year, causing mass casualties.
Here’s what’s known about Joanne Toole:
1. Joanna Toole Was Described as a ‘Very Soft & Loving’ Woman
Joanna Toole worked for the United Nations fisheries and aquaculture department. Colleagues there described her as a “wonderful human being”, according to The Evening Standard. Her father descried Toole as a “very soft and loving” woman, the site reported.
Manuel Barange, director of FAO, described himself in a tweet as “profoundly sad and lost for words” over Toole’s loss. He added: “A wonderful human being, who loved her work with a passion. Our love to her family and loved ones.”
A woman who knew her wrote on Twitter, “Jo was a wonderful young passionate campaigner. So much accomplished in a life that was too short. This news is so terribly sad and former colleagues at WSPA are all so shocked. Thoughts and love to all those who knew @JoannaToole at this terrible time.”
Wrote another colleague: “The world’s oceans become less cleaner with the tragic loss of my friend @JoannaToole from @FAOfish who were among those who lost at the plane crash this morning in Ethiopia. My heart is with her family and all those victims during this tragic time.”
2. Toole Focused on the Marine Environment & Animal Welfare
On LinkedIn, Joanna Toole described herself as an “International consultant specialising in the marine environment, animal welfare and conservation.”
“I am specialised in the fields of marine conservation and animal welfare and have 15 years of experience within the NGO and intergovernmental sectors. My work has primarily focussed on achieving policy related objectives and developing and implementing solutions through multi-stakeholder initiatives, capacity development programmes and local partnerships,” she wrote.
She added: “I have worked in organisations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization for the United Nations, World Animal Protection, OceanCare and I was a founder of the Global Ghost Gear Initiative. I am passionate about creating sustainable change and in seeing the realisation of Agenda 2030. I have a proven record of achieving objectives through working with governments, industry and communities. I am experienced in the strategic development of organisations, campaigns and projects, and in monitoring and evaluating progress.”
Continued Toole: “I work in both developed and developing country contexts and working on culturally sensitive, complicated and complex problems. I am an experienced manager of projects, people and teams, and I welcome opportunities to contribute to projects and organisations seeking to protect the marine environment, improve animal welfare, wildlife conservation and achieve sustainable development. Speciality areas include; marine pollution (including marine debris and ocean noise), sustainable fisheries, marine mammal bycatch and entanglement and wildlife trade.”
3. Toole Was Working on the Issue of Marine Debris in Fishing Operations
Toole’s most recent LinkedIn entry states that she was a consultant for FAO who was based in Italy. She had held the position since 2016.
“I work within FAO’s Fishing Operations and Technology branch on matters relayed to the environmental impacts of fishing operations, including marine debris, in particular Abandoned, Lost or otherwise Discarded Fishing Gear (ALDFG) and bycatch,” she wrote.
“I represent FAO on the Steering Committee of the Global Partnership for Marine Litter. I have played a leading role in the development of FAO’s Voluntary Guidelines for the Marking of Fishing Gear and I am currently working on the development of a global capacity development programme to support their implementation as well as to assist developing countries to address other environmental and biodiversity fisheries related issues.”
She had also worked as an Ocean Policy Consultant for OceanCare, writing, “I have worked with OceanCare on a variety of ocean protection issues including ocean noise, marine debris, aquatic wild meat and whaling. Working primarily through inter-governmental channels and processes to achieve OceanCare’s aims, as well as through more localised initiatives on specific issues. OceanCare have consultative status at the UN and an important aspect of my work has been to engage in the process to implement the UN’s 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development through Sustainable Development Goal 14 relating to oceans.”
She also worked for World Animal Protection and Animal Defenders International.
4. Toole Was a Lover of Yoga & Self-Described ‘Vegan Foodie’
On Twitter, Joanna Toole described herself as “Ocean protectionist, consultant working for FAO on environmental impacts of fishing, lover of yoga and vegan foodie. Passionate about the ?.”
Her last tweet was on March 8. She wrote, “Thank you @kimfriedmans ?Great to be part of the growing number of women working @FAO on fisheries issues #womensday.”
Her dad, Adrian Toole, told the Devon newspaper, “Joanna’s work was not a job – it was her vocation. She had never really wanted to do anything else but work in animal welfare since she was a child. Somehow that work took her into the international sphere and for the last 15 years she has been working for international animal welfare organisations.”
5. Joanna Toole Had a Master’s Degree in the Study of Sustainable Development Goals & Had Jut Celebrated Her Birthday
Toole wrote on Linkedin that she had a master’s degree from Università LUMSA and studied “Management of Sustainable Development Goals.”
She also attended Anglia Ruskin University. Her Field Of Study was listed as “Animal Behaviour and Wildlife Biology (combined hons).” She attended Bicton Agricultural College, earning a degree in “animal care.”
She had just celebrated her birthday. That friend wrote on Twitter, “My dear friend Joanna,I never imagined that a day after celebrating your birthday I would wake up to this news. We saw each other yesterday before you boarded to Nairobi #ET302. You imagined a different world but instead left us so young. RIP my dear, I will truly miss you @FAO.”