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Ben Simms

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Ben Simms

Chief Executive Officer

Biography

Ben has been CEO of the Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET) since 2015. He has 30 years’ experience of working internationally, with an emphasis on global health and disability work. He has worked extensively across Africa, Europe, Latin America and Asia during this time, harnessing expertise from across the UK health community, in the NHS and in specialist medical charities such as Sue Ryder and Sense, to benefit the development of health and social care in low and middle-income countries. For the last fifteen years he has been in leadership roles, building a strong track-record in advocacy and programme innovation, and working closely with UK Government departments and UN agencies. His knowledge of the INGO sector is further informed by periods chairing BOND Working Groups and taking active roles in health networks such as STOPAIDS, the network he directed from 2010 to 2015. Ben has led an active voluntary life in the UK throughout this time, serving as a Councillor and acting as a Trustee of several charities. He became a Fellow of the RSA in 2019 and is a member of the BBC Charity Appeals Advisory Committee. Ben has an MSc in Development Management from the Open University and an MA in History from Edinburgh University.

At THET, Ben leads an organisation that is pioneering a health partnership approach to the training of health workers across 30 countries in Africa and Asia. Health partnerships harness the skills of staff from the UK National Health Service in ways which bring mutual benefit to all involved, a vision of co-development that speaks to the new era of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Ben.simms@thet.org

@bensimms65 

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Louise McGrath

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Louise McGrath

Director of Programmes

Biography

Louise is an experienced manager of international development programmes and organisations with specific thematic expertise in health and social development and on policy influence. Louise has geographic experience across Africa, Asia and Latin America and spent 12 years living and working in Brazil.

During her professional career working for a range of international health and development organisations, including NGOs and research institutes, Louise has developed a strong track-record in partnerships, programme design and management, capacity development and the generation and use of evidence to inform policy making and practice.

Originally trained as a nurse, Louise has a BSc in Philosophy and Sociology and an MSc in Environmental and Development Education. At THET, in her role as Head of Programmes, Louise leads the Country Programmes and Grants Management teams.

Louise.mcgrath@thet.org

@LouiseM_THET

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Saf Rahbour

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Saf Rahbour

Director of Finance and Operations

Biography

A CIMA qualified Chartered Management Accountant, Saf has over 15 years’ experience working within the non-profit and INGO sector.

With considerable experience leading teams in cross-divisional projects, Saf has supported senior management and Board members during her career providing strategic leadership and operational support during the implementation of finance systems and change management phases at International Organisations.

More recently at BBC Media Action, in her role as Head of Project Finance, Saf led a team of Project Accountants during a significant finance transformation project, delivering financial management training and guidance to Country Directors, Finance Managers and project staff based in country offices across Africa, Asia, and MENA regions.

 

 

Saf is an Independent Member of the Audit and Risk Committee at UNICEF UK, where her role includes providing guidance and recommendations for the Board on a range of policies and procedures including oversight on financial reporting, risk, HR, governance, and internal controls. In 2019, Saf was appointed a Trustee at The Charity Finance Group joining the Board.

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Richard Skone James

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Richard Skone James

Head of Programmes

Biography

Richard joined THET in November 2014 as Grants Officer. He has a Masters degree in International Development from the University of Edinburgh. Prior to working with THET, he spent two years in Nairobi initiating a refugee education programme, and he previously worked in fundraising and communications for London-based NGOs.

Richard.skone-james@thet.org

 

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Amy Leach

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Amy Leach

Head of External Engagement

Biography

Amy has built and grown strategic communications functions across the international development sector. Prior to THET she led communications for the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, a United Nations Foundation data and technology network of 700 governments, businesses and civil society. She has worked in communications and policy roles at the Overseas Development Institute, Crown Agents and the World Health Organization.

 

Amy is passionate about youth engagement and broadening access to the international development sector. She is a trustee for the grassroots NGO Education Partnerships Africa and a mentor for the London International Development Network and the Media Trust.
She holds a degree in Human, Social and Political Sciences from the University of Cambridge.
Follow her on Twitter at @_amy_leach

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Frano Loots-Mudra Rakshasa

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Frano Loots-Mudra Rakshasa

Events & Communications Coordinator

Biography

Frano (he/him) is a seasoned Events & Marketing specialist with over 15 years of professional experience across the health and education sectors. At THET, Frano manages any and all initiatives to do with communicating with our stakeholders, celebrating our successes, and bringing people together.

Originally from South Africa, Frano has worked in both public and third sector settings throughout Africa, including leading on projects in Ghana, Cameroon, and Tanzania. He first trained as a professional chef and later obtained a degree in Public Relations, which has informed his work as an events manager and brand custodian for several non-profit organisations.

Having worked in organisations ranging from a local educational scholarships programme to an international health NGO, Frano brings a highly dynamic and adaptable skillset to his personal and professional commitment to global equity. He particularly enjoys envisioning and delivering large-scale, engaging, and meticulously planned events for diverse audiences.

After being based in Cape Town for the past decade, Frano now lives in Edinburgh with his human, planting trees whenever the weather allows

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Alexandra Orivri

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Alexandra Orivri

Events Officer

Biography

Alexandra is a sociology graduate from the University of Leeds where her dissertation was on the homogenisation of the black body. After university, she spent time working in sales and marketing for different organisations throughout Leeds until she would move to Nigeria in September 2020. During her time in Nigeria Alex founded an arts collective.

 

She continues to be passionate about the continent of Africa and is knee to return to help in some way.

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Sawdah Mohamed

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Sawdah Mohamed

Diversity and Inclusion Officer

Biography

I graduated with a joint-honours degree in History, Politics, and International Relations from Royal Holloway, University of London.

During University, I worked as a BAME Student Liaison Officer to develop initiatives and programmes to facilitate the inclusion of all students in academia. I also interned at Runnymede Trust to support a policy paper that identified inequalities within secondary schools. I also worked as a Project Coordinator within an Inner London school to promote digital inclusion and create access to digital skills and tools for all students.

I have a huge passion for diversity and inclusion and seeing how this can be achieved through policies. I love that we can use research and data to create real organisational change that makes a difference in people’s lives.

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Laura Smith

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Laura Smith

Programmes Funding Coordinator

Biography

Laura joined THET in October 2022. Prior to her role at THET, Laura has worked in philanthropy roles at two NGOs; Mercy Ships UK and The Sparkle Foundation. Laura graduated from the University of East Anglia in 2021 with a BA in International Development and is currently pursuing an online Master’s degree in Global Health Policy at the University of Edinburgh.

She has an interest in Global Health initiatives with a particular focus on the growing burden of Non-Communicable Diseases.

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Edward Tonkin

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Edward Tonkin

Programmes Quality Manager

Biography

Edward joined THET in February 2012. He has a BA (Hons) in Political Studies and a Masters in Development Studies from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. He has worked in various development organisations including Oxfam and Volunteer Service Abroad and has travelled and volunteered in India and Africa, including Zambia.

He has also worked in a political environment, for a Member of Parliament in Wellington.

Edward@thet.org

@EdwardLT

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Iain McKeand

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Iain McKeand

Financial Controller

Biography

Iain graduated from the University of Bath with a degree in Mathematics in 2012. Upon graduating from university, he started working for an audit firm in East London, where he gained his ACA qualification.

After working in audit for over 7 years, and looking for a new challenge, Iain joined THET in October 2020.

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Beatrice Waddingham

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Beatrice Waddingham

Programmes Manager

Biography

Beatrice joined THET in February 2018. She graduated from the University of Manchester in 2014 with a Master’s degree in International Development, before spending time working for the NHS and as a teacher in Central Kalimantan, Borneo.

Prior to joining THET, Bea worked for international development charities working on monitoring and evaluation, and innovation.

BeatriceW@thet.org