Lowri Jackson (Chair)

Lowri has been on the Board of Trustees since 2012 and was elected as Chair in August 2014. She is a Welsh speaker with a keen interest in advocacy and campaigns, and works as a Senior Policy Adviser in Cardiff. Lowri has an Msc in International Development from Bristol University and has worked for Women’s Aid. She is proud of African Initiatives’ work with partner organisations to help women and young girls to access an education. She has worked on a variety of policy and research projects, particularly in the fields of regeneration and social justice, and chaired an asylum and refugee project in Cardiff between 2009-2011. Lowri is a member of Public Affairs Cymru.

Dermot Byron (Vice Chair)

Dermont Byron_Trustee profilesDermot was the Treasurer for African Initiatives from 2011 until January 2017. He brings over 30 years of financial management, IT and management consultancy experience, having worked in a range of organisations, from large PLCs to private sector and management consultancy companies.  Roles have included Group Financial Controller, Head of Internal Audit and Head of IT. Dermot is a committed community volunteer. He has been the Treasurer of a Parochial Church Council for five years; a Foundation Governor of a Primary School and, in addition to his role with African Initiatives, he is currently Chair of Bristol Children’s Hospital Scout Group.  Dermot holds an ACMA, an MBA and a PG Diploma in Management Consultancy.

John Scott (Secretary)

John Scott websiteJohn was asked to join as a Trustee just a few months after the charity had been set up by our Founder, Mike Sansom in the late 1990s. Although John had no experience in the charitable sector, his experience of founding and running a small business has many parallels with a small charity. John’s company has been trading for over 25 years, designing and supplying biodegradable food packaging and labelling for the UK – and latterly the US – markets. The company’s headquarters are in Bristol. John’s spare time is taken up with cycling, tennis, pubs and galleries.

Rowena Warren (Treasurer) 


Rowena started as Treasurer in January 2017. She is Head of Finance & Resources for Bath based International charity Send a Cow, providing financial leadership across the country programmes in Africa and the UK.  She is ACMA qualified and has worked in financial management in the not for profit sector for 15 years and has spent time living and working in Kenya.

Darren O’Connor

Darren O´Connor_website2Darren has been a Trustee since 2012 and has a background in international development, specifically in livelihoods. He also has fundraising experience and has worked with partner organisations to secure significant grants from government, the Big Lottery Fund and Trusts. Darren is committed to African Initiatives’ approach of enabling communities to identify their own solutions to the disadvantages they face and supporting them to achieve an improved quality of life. Darren is a member of the Institute of Fundraising.

Karen Andrae

karen andrae

Karen has over 14 years’ experience in disability and international development. Karen originally trained as a physiotherapist but then worked with VSO in India. This experience led her onto completing an MSc in Community and Disability Studies at ICH in London. She has since been employed by Handicap International and ADD International.  She has worked with international and national NGOs, governments and service providers promoting the rights and opportunities of disabled people. Karen is a member of the Gender and Development Network (GADN), the Gender and Evaluation platform and the Pelican Initiative. She is also part of the Gender & Disability and VAWG (from June 2015) working groups.

Adrian Marshall

ade marshallAdrian is Executive Director at Responding to Conflict (RTC) and joined African Initiatives in September 2014. Before this Adrian was a Programme Manager at APT Action on Poverty. Passionate about empowerment, Adrian has over 20 years’ experience successfully leading economic recovery and development programmes to create and improve livelihoods, to create jobs and to alleviate poverty through enterprise development and business growth in both the UK and overseas. This includes working in complex, post-conflict environments in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Eastern Europe. Adrian is a school governor and a retained member of the Institution of Economic Development (UK).

Mike Taylor

miketaylorMike is Head of Operations for Meningitis Research Foundation, responsible for financial and internal systems and processes, management of international development projects, and institutional fundraising. He was previously Head of Development & Fundraising for MRF. For most of his career he was Director of Operations for a management training consultancy he co-founded and recently sold to an employee-led trust. He held a number of voluntary/trustee positions prior to joining AI in 2015. He a has always enjoyed independent overseas travel, mountain sports, and is a keen road cyclist.


Helen Appleton

helenHelen has nearly 40 years of experience in governance and social development, with a focus on strengthening transparent and accountable governance, health and education service delivery, human rights and gender equality, and supporting citizens’ engagement in democratic processes. Her expertise includes political economy and social analysis, programme design, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation of governance and civil society programmes.  She has also conducted many annual and end-of-project reviews and evaluations, and impact assessments. Helen worked in VSO, in Development research and in an NGO before joining DFID. She has also worked in the EU and as a development consultant.  Helen currently advises a DFID-funded research programme on preventing Violence Against Women and Girls, focusing particularly on capacity building, theories of change, research uptake and communications, advocacy and monitoring. Helen joined  as a Trustee in October 2017, however she has been involved with African Initiatives as a technical advisor since 2015.