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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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Lisa Kelly

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Lisa Kelly

Director of Strategy

Biography

Lisa Kelly joins THET on secondment as Director of Strategy on 1st April. She has been an Honorary Advisor for THET since 2019.

Lisa is Chief Operating Officer at Nottingham University Hospitals, one of the largest specialist teaching hospitals in the UK. She is executive lead for the NUH-Jimma Health Partnership Link with Jimma University Hospital in southern Ethiopia.

Her previous experience as an Improving Global Health fellow in Zambia, gives her first-hand knowledge of the complexities surrounding the placement of UK personnel in low and middle income countries. Lisa has also supported the development of leadership skills in South Africa, Rwanda and Somaliland.

Lisa undertook her undergraduate degree in Geography at the University of Manchester culminating in a dissertation evaluating social capital as a means to escaping chronic poverty in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Her career in the NHS began on the Graduate Management Training Scheme, since then she has held a number of operational roles in district general, university teaching hospitals and specialist tertiary trusts. Lisa completed a Masters in Health and Public Leadership reviewing in her dissertation the NHS’ role in engaging in global health.

Outside of work, Lisa enjoys travel, playing netball and occasionally treads the boards on stage.

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Richard Skone James

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Richard Skone James

Head of Grants Management

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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Graeme Chisholm

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Graeme Chisholm

Policy and Learning Manager

Biography

Graeme joined THET in September 2011. As policy manager Graeme is responsible for establishing a distinctive policy voice for THET, building on our model of health partnerships grounded in the concepts of mutual benefit, of co-development and co-learning.

Over recent years Graeme has influenced UK policy on international volunteering, has developed resources for the health partnership community such as THET’s principles of partnership and has authored many well received reports, including In Our Mutual Interest and Transition from Aid.

 

Prior to working with THET, Graeme worked with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) in recruitment, fundraising, partnerships and latterly in their policy unit as programme development adviser for Health.

graeme@thet.org

@graeme_chisholm

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Edward Tonkin

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Edward Tonkin

Country Programmes 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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Charlotte Ashton

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Charlotte Ashton

Communications & External Engagement Manager

Biography

Charlotte Ashton joined THET in December 2016 as Communications Officer and became Communications Manager in October 2018.

Graduating from the University of Manchester in 2013 in Social Anthropology and Arabic, she then went on to work as Communications Officer for Emergency UK.

Following this she joined One The Square, a community based artisan start-up whilst studying towards her MA in International Studies and Diplomacy from SOAS.

After the completion of her MA she continued her post-graduate studies whilst freelancing for Hurst Publishers and various NGO projects.

Charlotte.ashton@thet.org

@C_Ashton_

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Ama Bartimeus

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Ama Bartimeus

Monitoring Evaluation and Learning Adviser

Biography

Ama joined THET in November 2019 as a Monitoring Evaluation and Learning Adviser. Ama has extensive experience in managing MEL processes and supporting implementation of national, regional and international development projects. Ama has worked at various international organisation including HelpAge International, CARE International, FHI 360.

Her expertise includes assuring program quality by applying the core dimensions of gender equality, rights, participation and empowerment across the design, monitoring and evaluation cycle. She has developed evaluation strategies, designed and institutionalised MEL systems, provided oversight to consultants to deliver on evaluative studies and supported reporting on various programmes to key donors, including DFID, USAID, and IrishAid.

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Bernard Okeah

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Bernard Okeah

Research Officer

Biography

Bernard Okeah is a Registered Nurse currently pursuing a PhD at Bangor University’s School of Healthcare Sciences in Wales, (United Kingdom). Prior to his current role, Bernard has been involved in providing technical assistance to the Betsi-Kenya Health Link under the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) and Busia County Government (Kenya) partnership.

His current research focuses on antimicrobial stewardship in BCUHB healthcare settings, drawing comparisons between low- and high-income countries to develop adaptable solutions for the global problem of antimicrobial resistance. He previously worked as a programmes officer for the National Nurses Association of Kenya and the Infection Prevention Network in Kenya. His previous research engagements and publications focussed on cervical cancer prevention programmes, oral-PrEP (preexposure prophylaxis) targeting HIV/AIDs in populations at risk, health policies and systems, and universal health coverage.

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Dr Kit Chalmers

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Dr Kit Chalmers

International Health Links Coordinator

Biography

Kit 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 in 2019, she is delighted now to be building on this work with THET. 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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Kat Brassington

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Kat Brassington

Country Programmes Co-ordinator - Ethiopia, Myanmar and Somalia/Somaliland

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.