Specialities: Strong executive management skills developed running multi-million pound development and media organizations, covering finance, admin, programmes, editorial, advertising, and promotions departments. Extensive experience in policy, advocacy and communications. Key expert in putting the issues of migration and development on the international policy agenda. Policy advisor on Africa to the late Bernie Grant, MP. Over 30 years of consistent commitment first, to communicating and improving understanding of Africa and her global diaspora. Second to researching and developing the evidence base that would enable better planning and decision making; third, developing policy and engaging policymakers and bringing about policy change; fourth, building strong institutions that provide a platform for unleashing African creativity, innovation and agency.
Experience: He has pioneered many of the concepts and practices of enhancing the contribution of the diaspora to African and international development. His previous positions at AFFORD, include Head of Communications, and Director of Strategy and Policy. Onyekachi has written widely on Africa, global diaspora, socio-politics, and development. His publications include Under the Tree of Talking: Leadership for Change in Africa (2007 Ed.), commissioned by the British Council, and Empire Windrush: 50 years of writing about Black Britain (1999 Ed). He is a trustee of the African social justice platform, Fahamu; a member of the London School of Economics (LSE) Media and Communications Advisory Group; a co-founder of African Remembrance Day; a Senior Associate of the Foreign Policy Centre (FPC); and a trainer on the AFFORD advocacy CPDE accredited course. He has delivered papers and speeches on international development at the UN, UNECA, African Union, OECD, and a host of other international fora. Before AFFORD, he worked extensively as a journalist and television documentary maker. He edited The Voice Newspaper at the end of the 1980s and has made documentaries and programmes for the BBC, Channel 4 and PBS. He has written a monthly column since 2008 for the leading Pan African magazine, New African. He is a respected broadcaster and commentator on African affairs, his commentary has appeared on the BBC, the Guardian, CCTV, Voice of America, Press TV and TVC. He has visited and worked in 26 African countries.
Education: B.A Government, University of Essex; M.Phil International Relations, Selwyn College, Cambridge
Why AFFORD: I was first attracted by AFFORD’s optimism about Africa’s future; its ability to mobilise the diaspora to improve conditions; its passion for innovation and fearlessness in thinking outside the development box; its values of transparency and collaborative working; and the great partnerships it developed with partners and supporters. It remains an excellent space for ambitious and unswerving commitment to the goal of institution building and African development.
I am passionate about Africa because: I fell in love with the continent again, when making a film, Hopes on the Horizon, in 1999. Travelling across 7 African countries (Benin, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, & South Africa), documenting the battles for democracy in the 1990s, I was inspired by the struggles of a generation of beautiful activists, and their determination and optimism in improving the welfare of ordinary Africans. At the lowest point of the whole period of ‘Afro-pessimism’ it was important for me to join this generational effort that believed in a great future for Africa. From ‘Afro-pessimism’ to ‘Africa rising’ in one decade. From ‘Africa rising’ to ‘the African Century’ – let’s do it!
Specialities: Diaspora, migration and development; diaspora policy; diaspora finance; grants management; fundraising capacity-building;
Experience: Over 15 years’ experience in the development sector, responsible for overseeing AFFORD’s work on Investment, Enterprise and Employment as well as Engagement, Network Building Services and Training. This includes managing the Diaspora Finance Portfolio which is now over £1 million. Led on AFFORD’s official engagement with Migration and Development (MADE) Civil Society Network and coordinated the MADE global thematic working group on diaspora and migrants in development with a focus on their role in job creation, social enterprise, investment and public policy. My role engages diaspora and migrants, INGOs, inter-governmental and international bodies, governments and other stakeholders involved in diaspora and development with a view to developing policy to create a better enabling environment for diaspora action.
Education: MA International Relations, University of Nottingham
Why AFFORD: A versatile and growing diaspora-led organisation that has consistently upheld its values through its achievements. Provides genuine space for personal growth and there is no limit to the impact one can make in this organisation.
I am passionate about Africa because: Africa is unique and versatile in so many ways and provides lots of potential for growth. Having grown up on the continent, I believe in its people, its potential and its future and want to be part of the growth and development of this dynamic continent.
Specialities: Financial Accounting, Financial Management, Budgeting & Forecast, Reporting and Compliance.
Experience: An experienced member of the Association of Chartered Certified accountants (ACCA), with over five years of extensive experience and strong background in all areas of accounting systems and financial management, acquired through working in private and charity sector in the UK and West Africa.
Education: MSc Accounting with Finance at London South Bank University (LSBU); ACCA London College of Accountancy.
Why AFFORD: I have a keen interest working in Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) or Charity Sector. I have volunteered and served as trustee and Honorary Treasurer for Restorative Justice Council (RJC) a UK registered charity. I am a member of MANGO (Management Accounting for Non-Governmental Organisations) network. I have enthusiasm, passion and keen a interest in the vision and mission of AFFORD.
I am passionate about Africa because: Africa is a great continent with lots of potential for economic growth, prosperity and socio-economic transformation. Currently, there are positive actions coming from governments, private companies and NGOs working together to bring about meaningful change to the African continent. I am really passionate to be part of that change and positive transformation of the African continent.
Specialities: Since 2012 he has helped develop and coordinate ADEPT, a network of African diaspora groups based in 30 European states that are active in development across a range of sectors in 54 African states. Leading on policy engagement issues, he regularly works with officials from different governmental and intergovernmental agencies, including the UK Houses of Parliament, EC, AU, Member States, and UN institutions, and briefs government staff in African and European states on migration and development policy issues. He currently helps coordinate the All Party Parliamentary Group on Diasporas, Development & Migration, for which AFFORD provides the secretariat.
Experience: Paul has 20 years’ experience of managing community development and public health projects, and conducting research in Africa, Europe, and the UK. Since joining AFFORD in 2012, his work has focused on policy engagement & advocacy on migration and development issues. Prior to this, for ten years Paul commissioned and managed specialist public health and treatment services in London for vulnerable groups such as drug and alcohol users and street sex-workers, with a particular focus on HIV and TB prevention. Paul is also a Research Associate at the Centre of African Studies, SOAS, University of London, where his research interests include: diasporas, migration, and development; culture, health, and migrant communities; Islamic models of development in North Africa and the Horn; and Islamic education and development in Ethiopia.
Education: MA Anthropology of Development, BA Arabic & Amharic
Why AFFORD: AFFORD’s work embodies diaspora contributions to development through its work on the continent and here in the UK and Europe. Its staff are passionate yet extremely knowledgeable about Africa.
I am passionate about Africa because: My love affair with Africa started as a small child, but since first visiting North Africa and then the Horn of Africa as a young man the connection has become hard-wired! I am passionate about Africa because its past, present, and future are so fascinatingly rich and diverse.
Specialities: Elvina has been project managing diaspora focused projects for over 18 years. Her specialities also include research, events organising and public speaking.
Experience: Elvina has worked with Diaspora organisations for over 15 years. In 2011 she managed projects for AFFORD assisting Diaspora contribute their skills and knowledge by volunteering in Ghana. She also managed a project facilitating Diaspora entrepreneurs’ goals of setting up a business in Africa, specifically Ghana. Following this work she followed suit and lived in Ghana for over three years. Elvina brings her knowledge and deep interest in the UK African Diaspora to her work with AFFORD.
Education: Qualifications (you can add in institution where comfortable): MA Diaspora and Migration Studies (SOAS), BA Social Policy and Sociology (Essex University)
Why AFFORD: AFFORD does development differently, it listens to people in the continent and works with them, from the grassroots to decision makers, and then identifies ways to assist. AFFORD recognises the unique and impactful position the diaspora holds and works to maximise the positive aspects of the diaspora while addressing some of the challenges. AFFORD’s way of working makes sense to me and that is why I and many others globally commit our time, resource and energy to the work of AFFORD.
I am passionate about Africa because: Africa made me and so no matter where I go or what I do I have a love and responsibility to Africa the continent and its people. The energy and enthusiasm I get when I visit African countries lets me know that all the work is worth it and just motivates me to keep going!
Specialities: Richard has a background in youth and community development and organising, business development, capacity building, transport and infrastructural development consultancy.
Education: Political Science, Geography and Resource Development, Project Management and a Masters in Social Entrepreneurship.
Why AFFORD: The extent to which AFFORD goes to highlight African diaspora efforts and steer diaspora agenda attracts me the most.
Why Africa: Africa is home, filled with the most diverse resources and potential that needs to be tapped. Africa, however, has to fulfil its potential for the benefit of its people and the world.
Specialities: Digital Communications; Copy Writing; Newsletters; Events Organisation; Translation
Experience: Haja has extensive experience working as a Communications professional in the third sector in the UK and in West Africa. She leads on AFFORD’s general Communications and Engagements activities. In the past 3 years, Haja’s work at AFFORD focused mainly on coordinating and delivering communications for the ADEPT project, a network of African diaspora organisations based in 30 European states that are active in development across a range of sectors in 54 African states. Haja previously carried consultation work for the BBC and IHS Markit and worked at Rosa, The UK Women’s Only Fund, at the Royal African Society and IRock! a social enterprise providing mentorship to young black women in the UK.
Education: MSc Global Politics (Birkbeck University); BA Media, Arts and Communications (University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis)
Why AFFORD: I knew about the work of AFFORD before joining and jumped on an opportunity to work for the organisation as soon as I could as I completely embrace its Pan-African approach and vision to put Africans at the forefront of Africa’s development.
I am passionate about Africa because: Being from Timbuktu in Mali, It’s mainly as a young adult that I realised the greatness of my culture, history and heritage. From then I felt I had so much more to learn about Africa and Africans and therefore working in an African context became more than just a career goal but also an opportunity for personal growth.
Specialities: Katharine has extensively studied development challenges facing African countries, focusing particularly on the environment and migration/security. Her specialities include research, written communications (blogging and journalism), event organising and leadership.
Experience: Katharine completed her Undergraduate degree in Environmental Science, with a specific focus on climate change and the impact it is having globally on people and migration. Furthermore, in her Master’s Degree of International Relations: Global Security and Development, Katharine focused on the political challenges faced in Sub-Saharan Africa when tackling migration and environmental challenges. Her dissertation examined the role of NGO’s in considering environmental factors when undertaking poverty alleviation projects. Katharine also undertook an internship with UNICEF during her studies, blogging on current affairs and environmental issues facing young people around the world. Hoping to bring all of this knowledge into a practical environment, Katharine began working with AFFORD in July of 2018.
Education: MA International Relations: Global Security and Development (Plymouth University), BSc Environmental Science (Plymouth University)
Why AFFORD: AFFORD undertakes development from a completely different angle to anything that I have seen or studied before- working practically with the diaspora and with those on the continent to enact real and effective change. The business-focused side of AFFORD is an area that is new to me personally, but it is one which I am really enjoying learning about and which is proving to be an incredibly useful and positive way to undertake development in Africa.
I am passionate about Africa because: It is a continent which faces huge challenges both internally and externally, but through both personal experiences and through my studies I have learned how much depth there is to each individual country and how much potential for growth Africa holds.
Specialities: Jacqueline has been working with African businesses for the past 7 years in the creative sector. Her specialities include events management, project management, business start-up and development, consulting, international public speaking, qualitative research, content writing and the creative arts.
Experience: With a background in the creative sector working with the international fashion industry for nearly 20 years, Jacqueline has not only developed her network in the ethical and sustainable fashion community but has also built her own creative enterprise since 2011and grown a flourishing network in the African fashion community where she facilitates business trade opportunities for those in the diaspora community and friends of Africa. Jacqueline brings her knowledge in networking, project management and consultation, business development and coaching and her expansive love for Africa and belief in the development of the African opportunity to her work with AFFORD.
Education: MSc Social Research (University of Huddersfield); MA Ethical Fashion (UCA Epsom); BA Fashion (Surrey Institute of Art and Design)
Why AFFORD: I have had a resounding interest in working with the Diaspora and creating opportunities for them to trade with and give back to the Continent through business trade and investment. I have seized the opportunity to transition from a career within the creative arts to one within development BUT with a focus on Africa. I recognised from having previously sat on the Steering Committee for AFFORD’s program ‘Africa GIVES’ that AFFORD is totally invested in positive development in Africa and seeks impact. AFFORD effectively creates platforms for the Diaspora to give back to Africa in a variety of ways and gain experience whilst doing that. AFFORD Is a forerunner in job creation, development work and Diaspora engagement in the UK for Africa and it is a pleasure to be part of this vision.
I am passionate about Africa because: Africa is my heritage and to fully know oneself is to understand where you are and where you are going. Every time I enter the continent I am constantly overwhelmed by the presence of the place, I embrace the entrepreneurial mind-set and the energy and am captivated by the opportunity there. Africa has a strong future ahead, and my passion is to be a part of the exciting new African narrative that has evolved.
Specialities: Social media management; Digital Communications; Grants fundraising; Community fundraising
Experience: Yasmin has worked for charities in both the UK and Africa, focusing on grants fundraising, community fundraising and social media management. Yasmin recently completed a Master’s degree at Goldsmiths College, University of London in Postcolonial Culture and Global Policy which focused on the various colonial and postcolonial discourses associated with Africa and Africa’s identity today. Yasmin’s dissertation focused on decolonising development and the traditional aid model.
Education: MA in Postcolonial Culture & Global Policy at Goldsmiths College, University of London & BA in International Politics at Middlesex University
Why AFFORD: As a member of the African diaspora, I was initially attracted to AFFORD due to the focus on utilising the skills of the diaspora for development. I find the practical enterprise centred approach to development and emphasis on the diaspora refreshing and particularly important for sustainable development in Africa.
I am passionate about Africa because: I am an African and have always had a passion for all that Africa has to offer culturally, socially and economically despite its many challenges. I believe that Africa has the social, cultural and economic potential to lead in growth and development globally.
Specialities: Bookkeeping, Advanced Management Accounting, Corporate Financial Management, Financial Accounting, Financial Reporting, Business Analysis, Budget and Cash Flow Forecast.
Experience: Part-Qualified Member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and a qualified with the Association of Accounting Technicians with years of experience of preparing and producing financial and management accounts in a private and public sector. A proficient user of SAGE Line 50, XERO, QUICKBOOKS, SPSS Data Analysis Software, Bloomberg Terminal, and Ms Excel and Office.
Education: MSc in Applied Accounting and Finance; BA (Hons) in Accounting and Finance
Why AFFORD: We share the same aspirations and goals of a prosperous and sustainable economic independent Africa.I am passionate about Africa because: I believe Africa is the future of the world and has a lot to offer in terms of opportunities and I want to help it to be self-dependent.