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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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Dr Kit Chalmers

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Dr Kit Chalmers

Head of Policy and Learning

Biography

Dr Kit Chalmers is a former doctor in Intensive Care Medicine and Anaesthesia. She graduated from Glasgow University in 2001 and trained in Scotland, England, and Australia before taking up a Consultant post in Wales in 2013. Here she became involved with her hospital’s international health partnership, the Glan Clwyd-Ethiopia Link, eventually leading this and joining the wider activities of international development in Wales and beyond.

Having decided to leave clinical medicine, she joined THET in January 2021 to undertake two Welsh Government commissioned reviews of international health activity. She has enjoyed becoming more involved in the organisation’s wider work and is delighted to now have the opportunity to take this forward, at a time when the need for global health equity has never been more clear. She is a Welsh learner and lives in the seaside town of Llandudno with her husband and whippet, at least one of whom enjoys joining her on long walks in the beautiful North Wales countryside.

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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

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Kat Brassington

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Kat Brassington

Programmes Coordinator

Biography

Kat joined THET in June 2020 as the Country Programmes Coordinator for Somalia/Somaliland, Ethiopia and Myanmar. She graduated from the University of Sussex in 2014 with a Master’s degree in Conflict, Security and Development.

Following this, Kat spent time working for NGOs in humanitarian settings such as the West Bank and Gaza, South Sudan, and the Bangladesh – Rohingya response in the field of protection and human rights.

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Audrey Arbaud

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Audrey Arbaud

Programmes Coordinator

Biography

Audrey joined THET in January 2020. She graduated from Aix-Marseille University with a Master’s degree in Project Management and International Business in 2015. Prior to joining THET, she has worked and volunteered with a variety of organisations in the charity sector in France, Spain and the UK, providing admin and finance support to small charities. She previously worked for The Rainforest Foundation and the Family Drug and Alcohol Court National Unit in a project management capacity.

 

Passionate about human rights and women’s empowerment, she is particularly interested in participatory approaches to international development.

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Jessica Fraser

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Jessica Fraser

Programmes Coordinator

Biography

Jessica joined THET in January 2020 as a Grants Officer, becoming Programmes Coordinator in July 2021. She has a Research Masters (MSc) in Global Health from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and a Bachelor’s degree in International Social Policy from the University of Leeds, completing an international year at the Australia National University, Canberra.

Her previous work includes field research in Lao PDR with the Lao Tropical and Public Health Institute, developing the National Public Health Research Agenda, and with the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Chatham House, looking at the role of Civil Society Organisations in the control of Antimicrobial Resistance. Prior to this, Jessica worked for the international organisation Teach For All as a Global Development Analyst, and worked with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) in Cebu City, the Philippines.

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Naomi Alesworth

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Naomi Alesworth

Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Coordinator

Biography

Naomi joined THET in July 2020. She has worked, and lived, across South Asia, the Middle East, Africa and East Europe in public health, climate change and humanitarian response. She brings a decade of experience in project management and monitoring and evaluation, working at NGOs including WWF, ACTED and Sightsavers, at the UNDP, and international development consulting company IPE Triple Line.

She has an MSc in Disasters, Adaptation and Development from King’s College London and a BA (Hons) in International Development and Sociology. She has a particular interest in technology for development.