Meet the Team
Board of Trustees
When I arrived in Bakewell four years ago after a career spent working with foundations and NGOs in Latin America, Asia and Africa I wanted to support an organization involved in international development. I was introduced to Kemal Shaheen who was then managing Village Aid’s programmes in West Africa. I was very pleased to find in the Peak District an NGO with commitment to supporting the transformation of poor rural communities in West Africa. I liked the approach Village Aid takes to tackling problems of inequity and lack of opportunity affecting disadvantaged communities.
I feel very fortunate to be living in such a beautiful part of the country and able to work closely with such an effective organisation as Village Aid. Rambling and music are my other major interests and I enjoy performing piano duet concerts with Sue Clark, another Village Aid Supporter, and a Boroque Trio and singing with the Bakewell Choral Society. I am a passionate supporter of Village Aid.
Having known for many years about Village Aid’s important work in West Africa, I recently decided to get more closely involved. With my background in international development, I am able to help Village Aid, and the programmes they support through United Purpose and through my work with the monitoring and evaluation team. We offer professional-level support for programme activities in West Africa. It is great to work with such a dedicated team of volunteers and staff that uphold the excellent values of Village Aid.
Kathryn is originally from Swansea and is the CEO at United Purpose, Wales’ largest international development agency. United Purpose is a movement of people and organisations that strive to end poverty and inequality across the globe. UP is a leader in community-led development and grassroots innovation. For more than 40 years, UP has worked with frontline activists, community organisations and individuals to help people gain agency over their own lives – so they can move Beyond Aid.
Kathryn has been involved in human rights campaigning and international development management for over a decade. Kathryn has won a number of awards including the Sheila McKechnie Conflict Resolution Award for her campaigning work on democracy in Zimbabwe and an UNTLD award for social entrepreneurs. Kathryn was also an advisor to Channel Four’s Battlefront show mentoring young campaigners.
It was my wife Beata who first introduced me to Village Aid. She had just started a degree in International Development at the University of Derby and was doing some volunteering for the charity in 2010. I took part in the FSI 10k challenge alongside a team of volunteers and was impressed by the wonderful and warm bunch of people who were giving their time, energy and compassion to this special little organisation. A few months later I applied for the position of Africa Programme Officer, one year later I somehow fell into the Chief Executive role and, after 5 hugely rewarding years working for Village Aid, things have turned full circle and I am back volunteering my time as a Trustee.
What has kept me involved? Quite simply it is the people..the remarkable people I met in rural West Africa and the remarkable people I met who live in and around the Peak District. Remarkable people driven by a shared conviction that great things can happen when hearts and minds transcend borders and boundaries.