Our Staff

José Sluijs-Doyle
Chief Executive

José has been African Initiatives’ Chief Executive since September 2013. Following a career in the private sector in the Netherlands, she made the move to international development over 20 years ago. Her experience includes the design, management, monitoring and evaluation of social development programmes, including HIV/AIDS and education programmes for a range of for-profit and not-f0r-profit NGOs, including VSO and Futures Group Europe (now Palladium). She has worked in a similar capacity as a freelance consultant for UNAIDS and Comic Relief. Organisational development, capacity building and the use of participatory approaches are her forté.

José has a degree in Business Administration (HES Amsterdam) and an MSc in International Development from the University of Bath. She has lived in southern Africa and Guyana and has regularly worked in eastern Africa over the years. José is passionate about the well-being of our planet, and equality and rights for the people on it.


Marta Medusa Olaiya
Programme Manager

Marta joined African Initiatives in June 2017, first as the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learing (MEL) Officer and, more recently, as Programmes Manager. Marta has extensive experience in developing and managing international development projects on women’s rights and economic empowerment, working in partnership with civil society organisations in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso and Madagascar. Marta holds an MA in Gender Analysis of International Development from the University of East Anglia.

Edwin Mwaitebele
Overseas Project Coordinator

Edwin heads up our office in Arusha, Tanzania. He has 10 years’ experience in designing, implementing and evaluating donor-funded development and research projects, with a particular focus on HIV/AIDS,  family planning and reproductive health. He has a BA in Social Sciences from Dar es Salaam University and has coordinated and participated in the development of national guidelines for improving quality of care, support and protection for the most vulnerable children in Tanzania.

Becky Mallows
Programme Officer

Becky joined African Initiatives in June 2018 as Programme Officer, focusing on livelihoods and health projects. Prior to joining African Initiatives, Becky worked in the global humanitarian team of an international NGO, where she worked on responses in Haiti, Bangladesh and Nepal. Becky has spent time volunteering in eastern Uganda, and completed a post-graduate research project in north-west Uganda. Becky has a BA in Politics from the University of Leicester, and an MSc Distinction in International Development and Economics from the University of Manchester.

Fundraising and Communications


Karen Ellison
Volunteer Communications Officer

Karen joined African Initiatives as a volunteer in 2013, following a 25-year career in publishing, which spanned everything from education to farming (via finance). She is passionate about sharing stories of the women and girls who benefit from our overseas projects and is proud that BBC broadcasters Mariella Frostrup and Jonathan Dimbleby are supporters of our human rights work. She is living proof that you can make a career change after 50 (although it might not be paid)! She says she’d love volunteers of all ages to come join the team and change lives.

Holly Burchett
Individual Giving and Communications Officer

Holly joined African Initiatives in February 2018. Her focus is on The Big Give and International Women’s Day appeals, regular giving, events and managing the charity’s communications, including the annual review and social media. Previously, Holly worked for a Bristol-based fundraising consultancy. She has also worked for the National Trust and has volunteer experience with charities such as Oxfam and the Children’s Society. Holly has a BA in History from the University of Exeter and an MA Distinction in History from the University of Bristol.

Helen Strefford
Trusts and Grants Officer

Helen joined African Initiatives in April 2018. She focuses on raising income from Trusts and Foundations and administrating grants to our partners in Tanzania. Helen has several years’ experience in fundraising and volunteering both in the UK and overseas. Prior to joining African Initiatives, Helen was working in New Zealand for a development NGO whose focus is sustainable projects in the Pacific. Helen has a degree in International Politics, a keen interest in development and human rights, and has volunteered in Argentina, Palestine and India. Before leaving Bristol in 2016, Helen was also a Trusts volunteer for African Initiatives.


Roger Taylor
Finance and Operations Manager

Roger joined African Initiatives in 2016.  He qualified in commercial practice before moving to the public sector and latterly the not-for-profit sector. He has worked for a number of Bristol-based charities and also as Treasurer for a national not-for-profit organisation. Roger has also spent time in Nepal performing a review of an international charity.  He has degrees in both Philosophy and Accountancy.

Lindsay Mansfield
Finance and Programme Support Officer

Lindsay has been working at African Initiatives since October 2015. She began as a Trusts volunteer and global education project facilitator. Lindsay gained a first-class honours degree in Geography with English from Keele University and, subsequently, fundraised on behalf of Great Ormond Street Hospital. She has also worked as a social media volunteer for an NGO in Peru and as a volunteer teacher in Ghana.