The literature is pretty conclusive when reviewing the benefits of an organisation receiving external support from advisors. The risks and challenges we, EPAfrica, face as an organisation are many – political, financial, medical and legal. The environments in which we work, both within the UK and East Africa, present challenges which our Board of Trustees and Management Committee (MC) must keep on top of. Risk management should be at the forefront of everyone’s mind.
“A board of advisors is vital to your business. One of the fastest and easiest ways to sidestep landmines is to leverage the experience of seasoned entrepreneurs.”
After 25 years of EPAfrica, we feel that we are now in a position to benefit from the insight and guidance of an external panel of experts, a Board of Advisors (BOA). In a nutshell, the BOA will be made up of a small number of individuals selected for relevant significant and longstanding expertise in a number of areas relevant to our work. We hope that BOA members will provide independent assurance and expert advice to our volunteers, providing the necessary support to help us navigate the challenging landscape in which we operate, whilst also helping us capitalise on the opportunities open to us as an organisation. BOA members will provide a complimentary skillset to the already diverse talents of our Board of Trustees and MC.
EPAfrica is a young and exciting organisation, with a committed and passionate group of volunteers and bright ideas for the future (see EPAfrica’s Vision 2020 for more details and watch out for a blog post coming soon). I’m delighted to welcome our new BOA members to be a part of this and hope that many of you will be able to work with them in the months to follow.
“An effective way to propel your business forward is with the help of a board of advisers.”
Dr David Mills
David will be joining the BOA to advise on all things related to International Development, including our model of delivery and our EPAfrica goals, as well as the educational context in which we work.
David’s academic interests and politics were transformed by a year spent volunteering at a school in South Africa before University. This led him eventually to the study of anthropology, and to two years of ethnographic fieldwork on the discourses and practices of schooling in rural Uganda. He also taught and wrote about Makerere, East Africa’s oldest university. More recently, his research has broadened to include the study of higher education, and the changing role of the social sciences. Many of his masters and doctoral students do research on education in the developing world. Whilst at Oxford, he was involved in setting up international student scholarships and an educational charity in Sudan. Since then he has served as a founding trustee of All our Children (http://allourchildren.org.uk/)
Shivani will provide insight and guidance on Corporate Governance matters. This includes our vision and strategy as an organisation, as well as the effectiveness of the policies and procedures we have in place to make decisions.
Shivani is a Director at Deloitte. She has over 17 years of experience delivering complex restructuring and transformation programmes across large central government departments and large private sector organisations. Shivani has considerable experience of working with senior board members supporting them in defining their roles and capabilities as well as the role of their organisations. Shivani has also provided pro bono support within the charity sector for NSPCC and Children with Cancer, working with these organisations to help define and embed their strategic priorities.
Shivani spends most of her spare time travelling… Having travelled to over 60 countries, her favourite part of the world so far has been Central America (especially Cuba).
Bill will be taking on the role of Legal Advisor for EPAfrica and has already kicked-off the work to review the organisation’s policies and procedures to ensure we are observing legal good practice.
Bill Witter is an Oxford educated and City trained Solicitor with a broad background in commercial law. He spent five years as legal counsel in the UK for a not for profit care organisation. He has extensive international contract negotiation experience, and has worked with regulated and public sector bodies such as the United Nations, USAID, UK MOD and FCO, the NHS and local authorities. He has also provided pro bono legal support to the charity “Ethiopiaid”.
In his spare time he is a member of a church choir, a rugby addict, bad golfer, skier, wine lover and father to twin daughters and a son.
Nellie will be our Research & Evaluation Advisor, to review and advise on research priorities and ethics and provide insight on EPAfrica’s Monitoring & Evaluation framework.
After studying Biological Sciences for her undergraduate degree at the University of Oxford. Nellie subsequently undertook a PhD on the mathematical modelling and genetics of the bacteria which cause meningitis and pneumonia. After her PhD, Nellie spent five months in Malawi, where she set up a bioinformatics database for the research team there, and worked on the genetics of the bacteria responsible for invasive pneumococcal disease in Malawi, South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.
Nellie already has a long history working with EPAfrica, having recently stepped off the Management Committee, having been the Research & Insight Manager.
Nellie’s craziest travel experience was on the way back from dinner with Samuel, the head teacher from Don Bosco, Eoin, just disappearing down a huge hole with no one really noticing, followed by a little head just calling out “oh” from ground level…
Will is joining the BOA as our Medical advisor, providing guidance on health policy and training, as well as risk management in relation to medical matters.
Will completed his PhD from the University of Cambridge in April 2015. He studied the genetics of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, focusing on how genetic mutations arise in the parasite leading to drug resistance and the evasion of human immunity. He conducted field work to collect malaria samples in Thailand and Ghana, gaining insight into healthcare challenges and delivery methods in developing countries. He is interested in global health and has worked with the Cambridge-based global health policy think-tank Polygeia since January 2014, and as a medical training officer with EPAfrica for the past four years. He qualifies as a clinical doctor next year, and plans to continue developing his interests in medicine, research, overseas work and undergraduate education.
Will’s fondest travelling memory was as a researcher in Ghana going on a trip with colleagues and their families to see crocodiles in Paga, followed by a big Ghanaian family lunch.