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International board members

Our Board Members work with our Secretary General

Hellen

Hellen Grace Akwii Wangusa

Begun as a University Lecturer of Literature and part time coordinator of Mothers Union that focused on Family Life and Development. Moved into Economic policy analysis and gender-based research and advocacy after one month's training at Manchester University. Was appointed to coordinate 20 Country chapters of the African Women’s Economic Policy Network (AWEPON). In that role, trained and a minimum of 34 women per year for 8 years from 20 Africa countries to influence decisions and advocate for pro-poor and gender sensitive economic policies at the UN, World Economic Forum and at the Bretton Woods Spring meetings. Led delegations to UN Conferences on Financing for Development (FfD), Sustainable Development, Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) and The World Social Fora.

Served as the Central Committee member of the All Africa conference of Churches (AACC) and Vice President under Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Worked as the UNDP Africa Coordinator for Civil Society Organizations implementing Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) programs in Africa. Moved on to represent the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Worldwide Anglican Communion at the United Nations (UN) as the Anglican Observer. Was appointed as Africa civil society representative and Advisory Board member of the Commonwealth foundation and is member of Oxfam GB Board of Trustees, Christian Aid and The Karibu and Ibon Foundations; A Technical Task Force member of the African Union (AU) Peer Review Mechanism. Was Team Leader of European Union (EU) grant for organisations working towards stemming the radicalisation of youth and their recruitment into terrorism and violent extremism in 6 Africa countries. Facilitated Africa Regional consultations on MIgration and Human Trafficking, Microfinance, VSLAs and Entrepreneurship. 

A Fulbright Scholar and holds MA in Modern Letters and Women’s Studies from Tulsa University; BA/DipEduc from Makerere University, Hon PhD in International Relations and Hon, PhD in Civic Law. 

Priscilla

Priscilla Sichone Mpundu

Our International Board Member and Treasurer is Priscilla, who works with a number of boards in a Secretarial role or serves as a member of governance committees. She also is a certified Corporate Governance trainer under the Institute of Directors Zambia. Priscilla has used her finance training in the profit, academia and non‐profit sectors for over twenty years. 

She qualified as a Management Accountant CIMA, then did further training as part of her career progression; among these are Harvard Kennedy School of Government ‐ Strategic Frameworks for Non Profits, Financial Institutions for Private Enterprise Development; University of Botswana/Centre for Specialisation in Public Administration and Management (CESPAM) – Public Policy Development and the Institute of Development Studies/University of Sussex ‐ Regional Trainer for Analysis Trade Statistics for EPA’s. 

She works with Baker Tilly Chartered Accountants Zambia, responsible for the company secretarial and tax advisory services. Priscilla had served on the ActionAid Zambia board for four years (2014‐2017) as Treasurer, before being elected to the Board of ActionAid International as Treasurer and Convenor of the Finance and Funding committee in January 2018.

Image of Abdallah Mashausi in his office looking at the camera
ActionAid

Abdallah Mashausi

Abdallah Mashausi, a Tanzanian national, is our International Board Member since July 2022. He is currently the managing and founding partner of FORD Consulting focuses on capacity building of local implementing partners in sub-Saharan Africa in the areas of project management, finance, grants, risks, compliance and Monitoring, evaluation and learning. He most recently served as the Finance Director and a team leader for finance, risks and compliance for a global USAID/Accelerating Support to Advanced Local Partners project implemented by IntraHealth in more than fifteen countries in Africa. He previously worked with Unilever, Deloitte, IntraHealth and Jhpiego managing country office finance and operations. He formerly served in Tanzania Oxygen Limited Board, and Southern Agriculture Growth Corridor Audit Committee and he now sits on the Audit Committee of the Tanzania Horticulture Association.

He has been with ActionAid Tanzania since 2011 as a Board member, a Treasurer and in 2017 as a General Assembly member. He served for a brief period in the Constituent Assembly in 2014, which was tasked by the President of United Republic of Tanzania with drafting a new constitution for the nation. He is passionate about eradicating poverty, he cultivates pineapples, tomatoes, onions, legumes, grains, and sunflowers, and works closely with smallholder farmers in Bagamoyo and Singida in order to improve their farming techniques and access to markets, with the ultimate goal of lowering rural poverty. He is a Fellow Chartered Certified Accountant and has a Master of Science in Finance and a Bachelor of Accounting. He plays soccer on the weekends, plays golf, and runs a half-marathon. He enjoys reading and networking for impact. He is a father of three children.

Arthur

Arthur Larok

Arthur Larok is Acting Secretary General, ActionAid International, a global federation working in 46 countries to achieve social justice, gender equality and poverty eradication. He was previously Federation Development Director, ActionAid International for 4 years, Country Director, ActionAid Uganda for 6 years.

He is also a member of the Transitions Assistance Practice Group (TAPG) hosted by the Institute for Integrated Transition (IFIT) in Barcelona, as well as Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Civic Research Network (CRN).

He holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Sociology from Makerere University Kampala, Uganda and master’s in governance and Development from the Institute of Development Studies, Sussex - UK.

He has coedited a Book on Uganda’s Civil Society and authored several papers, including ‘Protecting the Tree or Saving the Forest’: A Political Analysis of the Legal Environment for NGO Operations in Uganda” (2009); ‘Uganda’s New Civic Activism: Beyond Egos and Logos’, ‘The conservative alliance against gender justice in Uganda’; ‘Modified activism after Ethiopia’s New Dawn’.

Azaveli Feza Lwaitama

Azaveli Feza Lwaitama

Azaveli is a university senior lecturer in linguistics and philosophy, a human rights and trade union activist who advocates for Pan-Africanism on the African continent and internationalism globally. He once served as a Secretary General of the University of Dar es Salaam Academic Staff Assembly (UDASA) that has always fought for better and decent terms and conditions of work for Tanzanian university staff. 

He holds a BA (Education) Honors degree from the University of Dar es Salaam, a Masters degree in Teaching English for Specific Purposes as well as a PhD in Linguistics and Political Philosophy from Aston University in Birmingham in the UK. He has an academic and practical special interest in critical discourse analysis and critical language awareness as well as development ethics, in the context of which he co-authored a book titled Civic Ethics Handbook for Development: Ethics and Reflective Civic Skills for Democracy whose first edition was published by the Oxford University Press in 2004. 

He has been serving as the Vice Chair of ActionAid Tanzania since 2010, and his knowledge and experience in analysing internal and external contexts have proven useful in formulating responses to challenges where they arose.

Gino

Gino Govender

Born into a working-class family in South Africa, his lived experiences in the community and the factories he worked in, shaped his political consciousness, a yearning for freedom and love for civic organising at a young age.  Since then, he has been called up to serve the cause of social justice in the political and labour movements from grassroots to global. His service within the labour movement spanning over 25 years enabled him to collaborate with workers and communities in diverse contexts within South Africa, across Africa and around the globe.

As a founding member of Earthrise Trust, for the past 8 years, together with his fellow trustees and the local village leadership built a vision for the Rustlers Valley Farm as a commons with the community at the forefront in driving their vision of a village of the future. He is currently working with the Fight Inequality Alliance to design and establish a global organising school for young activists.

At the 2021 General Assembly he was elected onto the International Board.  He brings into ActionAid, International diverse experience in organising, education, management and leadership spanning over four decades. He is deeply committed to the promotion of collective, consensus-building, solutions-oriented, and servant styles of leadership. He is a parent of four adult children and a grandfather of one.

Glenda Joanna Wetherborn

Glenda Joanna Wetherborn

Glenda is a Guatemalan of Afro-descendant, and a journalist, communicator, academic and popular educator attached to black feminism.

She is a specialist in Communication, Gender and Intersectionality with work experience and knowledge of the social context in Latin America and the Caribbean. She has a master's degree in equality and equity for development, a postgraduate degree in leadership for social change, and a postgraduate degree in rights and Afro-descendant populations.

She has been a member of the Board of Directors of ActionAid Guatemala since 2018 and of the General Assembly since 2014. She has also been responsible for Communication / Visibility and is a member of the Advisory Council of the Network of Afrodescendant Women from Latin American, Caribbean and Diaspora (RMAAD by its acronym in Spanish).

Image of Mac looking at the camera
ActionAid

Imoni Mac Amarere

Imoni Mac Amarere is a seasoned and an award-winning journalist, media expert, author and humanist. 

 Amarere served at various times as Managing Director, Executive Director News and Current Affairs and Executive Director, International Operations at DAAR Communications Plc, Nigeria's largest private media conglomerate.

His journalism career, which spans over forty years, started with the Nigerian Television Authority, Benin in 1980, through The Observer Newspaper, Benin City and Sunray Publications, PortHarcourt, both at which he served as an Editor.

Mr. Amarere was a Commissioner in Nigeria's National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, and the Rapporteur on the Environment and the Niger Delta between 2005 and 2009.

He has several papers and publications on the media and Human Rights to his credit and has attended several courses both within and outside the country.

Mr. Amarere is a graduate of Political Science from the prestigious University of Benin, from where he also obtained a Masters degree in International Relations. He is currently undertaking PHD studies in International Relations.

He is a 1996 and 2006 alumnus of the US Department of State's International Visitors Leadership Program, a professional exchange program, where he focused on Broadcasting and Development journalism, Team leadership and Media management.

He serves on the board of ActionAid Nigeria as the Vice Chairman.

He was elected to the AAI Board in June 2022.

Image of Juana Bengoa, smiling at the camera in her office
Juana Bengoa

Juana Bengoa, Spain

With a university degree in Political Sciences and Constitutional law, Juana has a large professional experience on political and public issues -mainly linked to governance issues- and as a representative in different social and feminist -national, European, and international- platforms.  Volunteering, as well as the promotion of public policies on equal rights and empowering women, has been a transversal experience all along her career.

As former Vice-President of Alianza, Action Aid Spain, she has had the opportunity to participate during three years in Action Aid’s Assembly, which has been a previous learning experience on which are the challenges of a global Federation as AAI in a changing world, and its mission of empowering people voices and needs.

Being now retired, and engaged with three beautiful grandchildren, friendship, literature and voluntary family care, she is willing to advance, share and be useful -through her above-mentioned experience and learning on women’s rights and social platforms’ advocacy, citizen participation, developing institutional processes and political dialogue- in order support IB challenges, as a participative and accountable governing body of our global Federation, on decolonization, migration, racism and structural inequalities climate change, geopolitical imbalances, attending growing conflicts or humanitarian disasters in our planet which are some of the important issues that will guide the present and the future of our common Agenda.

Julia

Júlia Tivane Holm

Júlia is well versed in strategic planning, program design, management, and on programs monitoring and evaluation. She has facilitated many strategic plans formulation for the partners of the organisations she has worked and works for. 

She is also experienced in working with both governmental and non-governmental institutions, including community based and grassroots organizations, particularly on issues related to sociological impact analysis. In the relationship with the partners in development work, she has worked in different contexts and different stakeholders having developed the ability to interact in different settings. 

Júlia has a good overview of the Labour markets in the Southern Africa region due to her extensive work experience with Trade Unions in South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, and some exposure to Malawi and Angola. 

Poonam

Poonam Muttreja

Ms Poonam MuttrejaExecutive Director of the Population Foundation of India, has for over 40 years been a strong advocate for women’s health, reproductive and sexual rights, and rural livelihoods.  She has co-conceived the popular transmedia initiative, Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon - I, A Woman, Can Achieve Anything. Before joining PFI, she served as the India Country Director of the John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation for 15 years and has also co-founded and led the Ashoka Foundation, Dastkar, and the Society for Rural, Urban and Tribal Initiative (SRUTI).  An alumna of Delhi University and Harvard University’s John F Kennedy School of Government, Poonam serves on the governing council of several non-governmental organisations, and is a regular commentator in India and globally for television and the print media.

Steen

Steen Folke

Steen Folke has had a long career as development researcher. After finishing his studies in economic geography and development research at the University of Copenhagen he was for many years Associate Professor at that university. Later he became Senior Researcher at the Centre for Development Research and subsequently at the Danish Institute for International Studies. He is now retired.

He has produced numerous research publications and been main author of several books, including ‘South-South Trade and Development’ (Macmillan 1993) and ‘Aid Impact and Poverty Reduction’ (Palgrave 2006). He has been team leader on a number of major evaluations of development cooperation for UNDP, ILO, Danida, Swiss Development Corporation and NGOs. For UNDP he was team leader on the 2008 evaluation of UNDP’s Global Programme. Over a period of several decades he has spent 3 years in India and has also carried out research and evaluations in Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, China, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Rwanda and Angola.

For nine years (1975-84) Steen Folke served as member of the Danish parliament representing the Left Socialist Party. He was chairman of the parliamentary group and spokesperson on foreign policy, trade, security and development issues. The last 30 years he has not been member of any party.

 He has been member of the board of MS (ActionAid Denmark since 2008) 1988-94, 2004-16 and since 2019. He was member of AAI’s board 2008-09 and has 2009-15 represented AA Denmark in the AAI Assembly. He has also been a member of AAI‘s Governance and Board Development Committee 2009-15. From January 2010 until May 2016 he served as the AAI representative in the board of AA Italy. In June 2016 he served as Convener of Action Aid International’s General Assembly in Mozambique. He also represented AA Denmark at the 2019 AAI assembly in Accra, Ghana. From June 2016 until December 2021 he has been international (AAI) representative on the Board of AA Vietnam. In November 2021 he was elected member of ActionAid International’s board.

As part of his work for AAI he has visited almost all AAI members in Europe and been on field visits to AAI programmes in 15 African and Asian countries, namely Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, South Africa, Palestine, Jordan (Arab region), Afghanistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Vietnam. He has taken part in an affiliation review of AA Kenya and a programme review of AA Afghanistan as well as carried out governance reviews of AA Sweden and AA Bangladesh.

In his retirement he leads an active life with his wife, three adult children and three grandchildren. He plays tennis and enjoys cross-country skiing. Together with friends he has started and directed a forum for debate that has over the past five years has held numerous meetings on ‘red-green’ issues, recently six meetings on the global climate crisis.

Image of Sophia Mbeyela looking at the camera
Sophia Mbeyela

Sophia Mbeyela       

Sophia is a passionate inclusive education teacher; youth representative, activist and a person with disability. She has good knowledge of civil society organizational approaches, principles and processes. 

She started serving as a General Assembly Member of Action Aid Tanzania from November 2019 and since April 2021 she has been serving as Action Aid Tanzania’s Board Member and the Convenor of its Governance and Human Resources Committee. He was elected on to the International Board ( IB) of Action Aid International in June 2022. She brings to the IB ample knowledge and experience in analyzing internal and external development contexts and generating strategic ideas useful for the formulation of organizational directions, policies and strategies in the NGO and INGO sectors.

She was born in Tanzania and holds a Bachelor's degree in Education from St. John's University, Dodoma, Tanzania; and a Master's degree in Education Administration Policy and Planning from the Open University of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Sophia has received prestigious national and international awards including the 2017 Malkia wa Nguvu (Inspiration Queen Icon) Award organized by a popular national Television station catering for the youth in Tanzania and East Africa in general as well as the 2017 Pan African Awards in Humanitarian and Social Justice. She has served for some years as a volunteer with the Tanzania Chapters of the Youth of United Nation Associations (YUNA) and the United Nations Fund for Population Activities ( UNFPA) as well as with the Tanzania Youth Vision Association (TYVA).

Sophia is also a co-founder of Peace Life for Persons with Disability Foundation (PLPDF), an organization that seeks to empower persons with disabilities in Tanzania. She serves as the Executive Director of Peace Life For Persons with Disability Foundation [PLPDF], She believes an excellent way to eradicate poverty and injustice of gender inequality among people in society is to provide education in the community which consider different people, especially special group i.e. women, girls, children and people with disability. Furthermore, Sophia is a regular contributor as well as being featured in contributions by journalists to national and international news and analysis electronic and print media programs carried by national and international television and radio as well as newspaper outlets.