The Executive Board of the African Women’s Development Fund is pleased to announce that Theo Sowa has agreed to be confirmed in post as AWDF’s CEO. AWDF’s Board Chair and Co-Founder Dr Hilda Tadria says, “ As many of you know, AWDF’s visionary Executive Director and Co-Founder, Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi, having led AWDF since inception, stepped down at the end of 2010, following her husband’s election as Governor of Ekiti State, Nigeria. Theo was approached to step in as Interim CEO, to provide a safe pair of hands for the organisation while the Board found the new substantive CEO. Theo did a sterling job of handling the transition for AWDF and her quiet, inclusive, yet firm leadership meant that many stakeholders did not even notice the transition taking place. Having started the Executive search, it became clear very quickly to the Board that the best person for the post was Theo and that confirming her in post would allow also for consistency, continuity and the grounding of some of the adapted systems she has introduced. I am sure you will join with the Board and staff of AWDF in our pleasure at this development.”
Over the past several years, Theo Sowa has worked as an independent advisor on a wide range of international issues with a focus on social development. Her work has covered advocacy, service delivery, evaluation, facilitation, policy and organisational development with a range of international and intergovernmental organizations and grant making foundations, including UNICEF, the Stephen Lewis Foundation, the African Union, DFID, and UNDP, amongst others.
Theo Sowa says, “ It’s a privilege for me to bring my experience and skills to the service of African women’s rights organisations. African women’s leadership is critical to development, and I am delighted to be able to offer my service to the African Women’s Development Fund and the hundreds of grantee partners we work with in 42 African countries. I am grateful to the Executive Board, and staff of AWDF for warmly welcoming me to AWDF, and to all our grantee and donor partners who have shown tremendous support throughout the leadership transition process. “
Theo has extensive experience of working with grant-making organisations and foundations. She serves currently as a Trustee of Comic Relief and the Chair of its International Grant Making Committee, is a member of the Africa Advisory Board for the Stephen Lewis Foundation and serves on the board of the Museum of AIDS in Africa. Theo is also an Advisory group member of the ‘Every Child a Reader’ literacy initiative, a member of the British Refugee Council Leadership Group and a board member of the Graça Machel Trust. She holds a public appointment as a board member of the Charity Commission for England and Wales and was awarded a CBE in 2010.