Our team’s wide spectrum of interests, passions, and experience is centered on building and supporting the African women’s movement.
Chief Executive Officer
Born in Ghana, she has lived and worked in many countries in Africa, as well as the UK, Europe, and the USA. Her work includes advisory roles to African and other international women and children’s rights activists and leaders, plus policy development and advocacy with a variety of international agencies and organisations. She was Senior Programme Advisor on the UN Study on Children and Armed Conflict (the Machel Report) and led the five year review of the report.
Theo is a board member of various national and international civil society organisations and grant making foundations, including being a trustee of Comic Relief (a multimillion grant making foundation) and Chair of Comic Relief’s International Grants Committee; a member of the African Advisory Board of the Stephen Lewis Foundation; a Patron of Evidence for Development; a member of the UBS Optimus Foundation and a board member of the Graça Machel Trust.
She has authored many publications, including being a contributing editor to ‘The Impact of War on Children’; a contributing author and co editor of a Harvard Law School/UNICEF Innocenti publication on ‘Children and Transitional Justice’; and co author of ‘Groupwork and Intermediate Treatment’.
Theo was awarded a CBE in June 2010.
Special Programmes Manager
Human Resources Manager
Gertrude Bibi Annoh-Quarshie
Director of Programmes
Jessica Horn has worked for over 15 years supporting activist organisations, funders and the UN to deepen analysis, shape policy and funding, and refine interventions to defend women’s rights to health, bodily autonomy and freedom from violence. This includes 10 years in women’s rights and social change philanthropy as a grantmaker, in donor governance and advisory roles, and as grants assessor and evaluator.
Through her consultancy, Akiiki Consulting, Jessica worked as a technical lead in ground-breaking initiatives, including in social justice philanthropy with the creation of UHAI-EASHRI- the first African-led fund supporting the rights of sexual minorities and in early thinking around funding models for FRIDA– The Young Feminist Fund. From 2005 to 2007 Jessica managed funding for Women’s Rights and Minority Rights at the Sigrid Rausing Trust, one of the largest private human rights funders in Europe, overseeing substantial growth in both funding portfolios. She is also former Coordinator of Amanitare (the African Partnership for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Women and Girls)and Rights. Jessica joins AWDF from the Stephen Lewis Foundation where she has served as Senior Advisor to AIR -The African Institute for Integrated Responses to Violence Against Women & Girls and HIV/AIDS.
Jessica is a founding member of the African Feminist Forum Working Group, a board member of Urgent Action Fund–Africa, and sits on the International Grants Committee of Comic Relief. In 2012 she was named an African woman changemaker by ARISE Magazine and as one of Applause Africa’s 40 Africans Changemakers under 40. Her research and analysis has been published in professional journals The Lancet and Feminist Africa, and media platforms Al Jazeera, openDemocracy and The Feminist Wire. She is the author of two monographs on the impact of Christian fundamentalism on women’s rights in Africa, and authored the Overview Report for the BRIDGE Cutting Edge Pack on Gender and Social Movements. She is also a published poet.
Born to a Uganda mother and American father, Jessica has lived in Sierra Leone and Lesotho and has travelled and worked extensively across the African region.
Maame Akua Kyerewaa Marfo
Communications and Fundraising Associate
Maame Akua Kyerewaa Marfo is a singer, a feminist and a writer. She’s passionate about social change, progressive feminist thought and using the arts to affect social change. She is an avid reader and continues to broaden her knowledge on feminist thought and development whenever she can. She holds a B.A in Political Science from Dickinson College.
Donor Liason Specialist
Joan Koomson has extensive experience in the areas of publicity, fundraising and grants management. Before joining the African Women’s Development Fund, she worked at Plan International as the Resource Mobilization Manager for four years. Joan also worked as a World Bank Consultant on the Government of Ghana Public Sector Restructuring Project under the National Institutional Renewal Programme (NIRP) under the Office of the President.
She holds a B.A. degree with honors in Sociology, a Certificate in P.R., Advertising and Marketing from the Ghana Institute of Journalism, and an M.B.A. in Human Resource Management from the University of Ghana Business School.
Sionne Rameah Neely
Knowledge Management Specialist
In 2010, she co-founded ACCRA [dot] ALT, an independent arts network that promotes the work of emerging Ghanaian creatives and collaborative projects with international artists. She received her Ph.D. in American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California in 2010.
Executive and Fundraising Assistant
She holds a B.A. in Public Administration from Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), an MSc in NGO Management and Studies from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana, and a teaching certification from Tamale Teacher Training College, Ghana.
Communications and Fundraising Specialist
Lydia Maclean is a seasoned Communications Professional with extensive experience in Public Relations, Corporate Affairs and Humanitarian work.
Prior to joining AWDF, Lydia worked as the Customer Service and Public Relations Manager of A-Plus Life Assurance Ltd, and has also been the Communications Manager of the Ghana Red Cross Society.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Modern Languages from the University of Ghana, a Certificate in Marketing, Advertising and PR from the Ghana Institute of Journalism and a Masters Degree in International Development from Andrews University, Michigan.
Lydia is a passionate advocate of Social Justice and is strongly committed to the promotion of women’s rights.
Prior to joining AWDF, she worked as an Administrative Assistant for Charles Kendall & Partners: Fiscal & Procurement Agents for the Millennium Development Authority (MIDA) Ghana project. Abigail holds a BSc. in Management with Computing (HR Option) from the Regent University College of Science & Technology and also has the following certificates to her credit; Higher National Diploma in Secretaryship & Management Studies from Accra Polytechnic and a Private Secretaryship Certificate from NACVET.
Afi Quashie is the Finance Assistant at the African Women’s Development Fund. Her responsibilities in the Finance Department include working to achieve the objectives of the day to day operational management, processing Grants payments and managing the Fixed Assets of the organisation. She is a student of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and a graduate from the University of Cape Coast with a Bachelor of Commerce. Afi believes her years with AWDF have been an ideal foundation for developing both her financial expertise and passion for African women’s rights.
Suzzie Samtu is a bilingual-English & French front Desk Manager. As a holder of Higher National Diploma in Office Management from Alliance Française d’Accra, she developped a passion for women issues and say no to inequalities of gender. She joined AWDF with 4 years experience in Front desk Management, first in Financial Institution and then in a Printing Firm.
Belinda Amankwah is the program assistant of AWDF and contributes to managing AWDF”s grant making portfolio in the six thematic areas. She holds a B. A in Social Work with Sociology from the University of Ghana with special interest in gender studies. Prior to joining the AWDF she worked as a customer service assistant at Alliance Waste Limited to complete her National Service.
Growing up she has always wanted to work in the development sector specifically on women’s rights issues.
Shirley Serwaa Boakye
Capacity Building Specialist
Nafi began her career with Oxfam Great Britain, where she worked on issues of economic empowerment, livelihoods and health. She is an alumna of the University of Reading, UK, Cape Coast University, Ghana, African Women’s Leadership Institute and Aspen Institute’s New Voices Fellowship. Nafi Chinery est passionnée par la promotion du développement organisationnel et le leadership des femmes en Afrique. A l’AWDF, elle travaille avec des organisations dirigées par des femmes pour construire des systèmes organisationnels et capacités en matière de leadership, afin de leur permettre de se défendre, ainsi que des processus décisionnels inclusifs qui affectent la vie des femmes et des filles. Grâce à ce travail, elle a acquis des connaissances par lees histoires de réussite et d’échec des différentes organisations à travers l’Afrique.
Nafi a commencé sa carrière avec Oxfam Grande-Bretagne où elle a travaillé sur les questions d’autonomisation économique, les moyens de subsistance et la santé. Elle est diplômée de l’Université de Reading au Royaume-Uni, de l’Université de Cape Coast au Ghana, de l’African Women’s Leadership Institute et Aspen Institute’s New Voices Fellowship.
Capacity Building Assistant
She holds a B.A in Integrated Development Studies from the University of Development Studies, Ghana, and is currently pursuing an M.B.A. in Marketing at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA).
Zeytuna Abdella Azasoo
Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist
Programme Officer for Francophone Africa
She is also a professional translator and has used these skills to facilitate the participation of francophone African feminists in many feminist spaces on the continent (added). She holds an executive M.B.A. in project management from the University of Ghana Business School, a post-graduate qualification in public administration from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, and a B.A. in modern languages and translation. She is an alumna of the African Women’s Leadership Institute in Uganda and a member of the Association of Women in Development (AWID).
Programmes Officer for Anglophone Africa
Gifty Ayebea Anim
Programme Officer for Anglophone Africa
Monitoring & Evaluation Assistant
Prior to joining AWDF, Nana Bamea worked as a faculty intern at Ashesi University and then as a graduate assistant at the Statistics department of University of Ghana. Nana likes teaching and believes quality education is one of the major drivers of development.
She also utilizes her in-depth statistical knowledge to improve decision making in a challenging environment. Nana Bamea holds B.A in Statistics & Economics and an Mphil degree in Actuarial Science from University of Ghana.