Chief Executive Officer
Theo Sowa is Chief Executive Officer of the African Women’s Development Fund. She has previously worked as an independent advisor working on a wide range of international issues with a focus on social development issues. 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, Stephen Lewis Foundation, the African Union, DFID, and UNDP, amongst others.
Theo’s work on women’s rights issues covers a range of activities but has had a special focus on the promotion and protection of women’s rights in armed conflict situations, as well as work evaluating and strengthening women focused development programmes in Africa, plus advocacy related to women and HIV/AIDS issues and to the establishment of a United Nations women’s agency. An experienced writer, she has produced a number of policy reports for NGOs, from articles for journals and magazines through to being a contributing editor to a book on the Impact of War on Children and the co author of a book on Groupwork with young people. Her most recent publication (Feb 2010) was as a contributing author and co editor of a Harvard Law School/UNICEF Innocenti book on Children and Transitional Justice.
She serves currently on the board of the Museum of AIDS in Africa, is a Trustee of Comic Relief and the Chair of its International Grant Making Committee; and is a member of the Africa Advisory Board for the Stephen Lewis Foundation. 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.
She holds a BA in International Relations from the University of Sussex and an MA in International and Comparative Education from the University of London (Institute of Education).
Fundraising & Communications Team
Sarah Mukasa works as the Director of Programmes at The African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF). Prior to this she worked at Akina Mama wa Afrika as the Programmes Manager for Eastern Africa. Sarah has a BA in Business and Management from the University of East London and an MSc in NGO Management from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Sarah is a feminist activist with extensive experience of advocacy at international, regional, and national levels. She has participated in a number of key UN meetings, where she has coordinated advocacy strategies for the various women’s interest groups, including the African Women’s Caucus, and the Solidarity for African Women’s Rights, a campaign for the ratification and implementation of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa.
Sarah also lived in the UK for a number of years, where she worked in local and health authorities as a community development officer, developing services for minority ethnic communities in London and in particular refugees and asylum seekers. She has a special interest in the areas of race as it interfaces with gender, sexual rights and issues relating to the integrity of women’s bodies, as well as the institutional development of women’s rights organisations.
Sarah is a trainer and facilitator specialising in the organisational development of NGOs, feminist theory and practice, and influencing policy. She has coordinated training for The African Women’s Leadership Institute at Akina Mama wa Afrika. She has facilitated meetings and training sessions for AWDF as well as, DANIDA (Uganda), ActionAid International, Uganda as well as a number of regional and national women’s NGOs and government institutions, on capacity building, team building and strategic planning. She is a member of the Working Group of the African Feminist Forum.
Abigail Burgesson is AWDF’s Special Programmes Manager and has worked in the non profit sector in Ghana since 1997. Prior to joining the African Women’s Development Fund, (AWDF), Abigail worked with the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI-Ghana), the Institute of Economic Affairs in Ghana as a Legislative and Economic Programme Officer respectively and the Africa Leadership Forum as the Gender Officer.
Abigail has extensive experience in Democratic Governance, Gender and Development issues and Resource Mobilisation. She is a professional project manager and is currently the coordinator of the Certificate Course in Resource Mobilisation organised by the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Resource Alliance (RA)-UK and AWDF and Resource Alliance’s West Africa focal person. She is a trainer in Resource Mobilisation and Events Management.
Abigail is a seasoned events organiser, a professional project manager, a trainer and a motivational speaker on women’s leadership issues. She holds a degree from the University of Ghana, an MA in International Relations from Boston University, a certificate in International Negotiations from the Centre for Applied Studies in International Negotiations, Geneva, Switzerland and specialised training in Project Management, Resource mobilisation and Women’s Leadership.
Amba Mpoke-Bigg is the Communications and Fundraising Specialist. Amba is a journalist, communications and Public Relations expert who has worked for the Associated, Press covering seven countries in west and central Africa. She served as West Africa Bureau Chief for DowJones Newswires and has worked as a media consultant to UNICEF and UNAIDS in Ghana.
Nana Ama Akuffo is the Communications and Fundraising Associate at AWDF.
She has worked in the field of Communications and Advertising and is exceedingly passionate about using creativity, particularly through visual art and writing, as a tool to fight against social injustice and effect change.
Nana Ama holds BAs in Psychology and Africana (African Diaspora) studies from Vassar College (New York) as well as a certificate in Gender and Development from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA).
Joan Koomson is the Donor Liaison Specialist and comes to AWDF from Plan International where she worked as the Resource Mobilization Manager for 4 years.
Prior to that, she worked as a World Bank Consultant on the Government of Ghana Public Sector Restructuring Project under the National Institutional Renewal Programme (NIRP) under the Office of the President.
She has also had extensive experience in working in the NGO sector in the areas of publicity, fundraising and grants management. She holds a B.A (Hons) Degree in Sociology, a Certificate in PR, Advertising and Marketing from the Ghana Institute of Journalism and an MBA in Human Resource Management from the University of Ghana Business School. She is currently a Board Member of Ghana’s Social Investment Fund, a fund set up to contribute towards reducing urban and rural poverty in Ghana.
Sionne Rameah Neely is the Knowledge Management Specialist. She is also a researcher, writer, teacher and multimedia producer. Sionne received her Ph.D. in American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California [U.S.] in 2010. Since 2005, she has completed more than 150 interviews with West African musicians and cultural producers.
Sionne is passionate about providing a platform for African artists. Her research and writing revolves around independent arts organizing, the rights of artists, the history of cultural production in Ghana, and pan-African recollections about the transatlantic enslaved trade.
In 2010, she co-founded ACCRA [dot] ALT, an independent arts network that promotes the work of emerging Ghanaian creatives and collaborative projects with international artists. Sionne has also produced multiple short documentaries and music videos for Ghanaian artists.
Finance and Administrative Team
Grace Amenyogbeli is the Human Resources Manager of the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF). Prior to joining AWDF, she worked at TechnoServe and SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, as Program Accountant and Assistant Administrator respectively. Both are international charity organisations.
Grace has vast experiences in accounting, administration and Human Resource Management especially in the circles of development work. She is a member of the finance committee and board member of her church. She is the founder of the Sena Anku Memorial Foundation, which aims to touch lives by using all of its available resources to fight cancer. Grace is a mentor to many young people.
Grace is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA) UK. She also holds an executive MBA in Human Resources from the University of Ghana Business School and is a member of the Institute of Human Resource Management Practitioners, Ghana.
Shirley Serwaa Boakye is the Administrative Assistant at the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF). As a member of the Administrative team, she provides support to the HR Manager and all members of staff. Shirley manages the front desk and ensures that the administrative needs of AWDF stakeholders are fully met. An extremely motivated individual, she previously worked with the Seedshare Group and the Multipack Recruitment Agency in the capacities of HR Officer, Client Service Executive and Administrative Assistant.
Shirley is a graduate of the University of Cape Coast with a degree in Management Studies.
Gertrude Bibi Annoh-Quarshie is the Finance Manager of the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF). She is a member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) of the United Kingdom and also a member of The Institute of Chartered Accountants Ghana (ICAG). She has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Ghana. As Finance Manager of AWDF, her responsibilities include; managing the overall financial obligation of all projects and maintaining accounting controls by enforcing and recommending policies and procedures.
Prior to joining AWDF, she worked with INDEPTH Network an international non-profit organisation based in Accra, Ghana as the Senior Finance Manager. Between 2000 and 2006, she worked with KPMG Ghana, an International Audit Tax and Advisory firm, where she was a team leader in the audit of various companies including insurance, banking, non-banking financial institutions and non-profit organisations.
Gertrude has been a resource person on financial management of not-for-profit organisations at various workshops for the past two years.
Mavis Gardiner is the Finance Assistant of the African Women’s Development Fund. She is a student of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and holds a Bachelors Degree; B.ED (Foundations), Accounting and Economics option from the Cape Coast University (Ghana).
Her roles and responsibilities include working on required information for the preparation of financial statements.
Mavis likes spending quality time with children and devotes her time and resources to making children happy.
Abigail Ninson is the Administrative Assistant responsible for the front desk at the AWDF. Her function at the fund includes manning the front-office and also ensuring that the administrative needs of both visitors and staff are well catered for.
Prior to joining AWDF, she worked as an Administrative Assistant for Charles Kendall & Partners; the Fiscal & Procurement Agents for the Millennium Development Authority (MIDA) Ghana project.
She is currently pursuing a degree in BSc. Management with Computing (HR Option) from the Regent University College of Science & Technology. She also holds a Higher National Diploma in Secretaryship & Management Studies from Accra Polytechnic and a Private Secretary Certificate from NACVET.
Afi Quashie is the Finance Assistant at AWDF.Before joining AWDF, Afi worked with Wildam Engineering Services as the Finance Assistant.
She is currently a student of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. Afi holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Cape Coast.
Beatrice Boakye-Yiadom is the Grants Manager and Programme Officer for HIV/AIDS. Beatrice has been working on HIV/AIDS issues for the past seven years. She has immense experience in field research especially in the areas of public health and marketing. Her interest lies in working with marginalised women and hard to reach communities.
She was formerly with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency as an HIV&AIDS sector coordinator overseeing seven diverse and varied project sites and working with a wide range of target groups particularly mobile communities.
Beatrice is a trained HIV&AIDS peer educator and counselor. She had previously worked in the fields of public relations and advertising.
Beatrice is a graduate of the University of Ghana Business School where she graduated with an Executive Masters in Business Administration (Project Management Option). She also holds a MA in Communication Studies from the same University.
Nafi Chinery is the Capacity Building Specialist at AWDF. Before joining AWDF, Nafi worked with Oxfam GB, a British charity organisation for 9 years in various capacities. The last post she held before leaving Oxfam was Programme Quality and Learning Officer.
Nafi is a dedicated professional development worker with extensive experience in building the capacity of Non Governmental Organisations both at local and national levels. She has extensive experience working on issues of livelihood, advocacy, welfare coping strategies, gender, participatory development processes and organisational capacity development.
She holds an MA in Social Development and Sustainable Livelihoods from the University of Reading in UK, a Bachelor of Arts degree and Diploma in Education both from the University of Cape Coast in Ghana.
Ayesha Abukari is the Capacity Building Assistant at AWDF. Prior to working at AWDF she worked at Fidelity Bank Ghana Limited in various capacities from 2007, her last position there being Branch Operations Supervisor.
Although her past career was in the financial sector, Ayesha has always had a passion for development work and advancing women’s rights issues. She enjoyed working with the Africa 2000 Network (UNDP) to complete her national service where she had the opportunity to make direct impact with project beneficiaries in the field.
Ayesha holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Integrated Development Studies from the University of Development Studies, Ghana, and is currently pursuing an MBA in Marketing at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA).
Zeytuna Abdella Azasoo is the Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist at the African Women’s Development Fund. Prior to joining AWDF, Zeytuna worked with WaterAid (UK) – Ghana programme, Integrated Social Development Centre, Save the Children (UK) – Ghana program and Ministry of local Government and Rural Development, all in Ghana. She also worked with the Institute of Geological Surveys in Ethiopia.
Zeytuna has worked in various capacities for over 16 years in Ethiopia and Ghana with local, national and international organisations. Her skills and experiences are in program coordination and management, decentralised development planning, policy analysis, budget analysis, gender analysis, child-centred development, monitoring and evaluation.
Zeytuna holds a Masters Degree in Economics from KIEV Institute of National Economy, Ukraine. She also acquired a postgraduate diploma in Urban Poverty Reduction from the Institute for Housing & Urban Development Studies, Rotterdam and a second postgraduate diploma in Children, Youth & Development from Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, both in The Netherlands. In addition, she holds a diploma in Commerce/Accounting from Addis Ababa College of Commerce and various certificates in subjects including: Project Management, Budget Formulation and Analysis, Strategic Development Planning, Data Processing and Analysis, Advocacy, Monitoring & Evaluation from various institutions.
Rissi Assani-Alabi is from the Republic of Benin and is the Programme Officer- Francophone Africa. Prior to AWDF she worked with Choice FM, a local private radio station in Ghana as an administrator. With an academic background in languages, translation, leadership, administration and management she has acquired diverse experiences as a translator and administrator. She is also aprofessional translator with extensive experience of working with international and nonprofit organisations.
Rissi is passionate about women’s rights and leadership issues. She has spent a substantial part of her life promoting women’s rights and social justice. She has extensive experience in grant making, working with nonprofit making organisations, movement building and organising in French speaking countries in Africa.
She holds an Executive Masters of Business Administration (Project Management Option) from the University of Ghana Business School, holds a post graduate qualification in Public Administration from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, and a Bachelor of Arts in Modern Languages and Translation (French –English –German). She is an alumni of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) and the African Women’s Leadership Institute (AWLI), a leadership programme of Akina Mama Wa Africa (Uganda) aimed at empowering young African women. She is also a member of the Association of Women in Development (AWID).
Rose Buabeng joined AWDF’s grant making team as Programmes Officer for Anglophone Africa. She previously worked with a consulting group known as the Training Research and Networking for Development (TREND-Group) in Ghana as the Programmes Coordinator-Agriculture and a Gender Expert.
She has had ten years professional experience in Project Planning and Management and Gender Mainstreaming with various development organizations. She is a trainer and well versed in participatory learning approach (PLA) methodologies as well as gender mainstreaming in development programmes. She facilitated the development of a Gender Mainstreaming Policy and Action Plan for the Root and Tuber Improvement and Marketing Programme of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA)-Ghana whilst working with the TREND-Group.
She holds a B.Sc. in Natural Resources Management and an M.SC. in Environmental Resources Management from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi-Ghana. She has also attended Certificate Courses in Project Management, GIMPA-Accra and Conflict Management, FAO-WANEP, Ghana.
Gifty Ayebea Anim is the Grants Administrator at the AWDF, making her the first point of contact at the Fund for all project proposals submitted. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Sociology and Philosophy from the University of Ghana, Legon. She is also a graduate of the African Women’s Leadership Institute.
Prior to working with the AWDF, she worked as a Nursery Attendant at Creator Early Childhood Development Centre, Tema. She loves reading, helping the needy and taking care of little children.
Solange Yawa Kouadjo joined AWDF as an Administrative Assistant before moving to the Grants Department as a Programme Assistant. Her role at the Grants Department includes facilitating the timely processing of grants awarded and also effectively monitoring and tracking all post grant award documents.
Prior to joining AWDF, she worked as an Administrative Co-ordinator with European Trucks and Trailers Parts (ETTP).
Solange also holds a certificate in Secretaryship and a Diploma in Travel & Tourism.