Board of Directors
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WRA Board of Directors
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A Pediatrician and Assistant Professor at Sana'a University in Yemen, Dr. Nafisa Hamoud Al-Jaifi initiated the WRA-affiliated National Safe Motherhood Alliance in Yemen and now serves as a member in the national executive Board. She also currently serves as General Secretary for the Higher Council for Motherhood & Childhood and was previously Vice Chairman of the Yemen Pediatric Association until 2012. Nafisa served as a member of the Yemeni delegation to the United Nations Committee on Child Rights. Previously, she worked as Director for the World Bank's Child Development Project. Nafisa's work has been recognized with an award from the President of Yemen for her contributions to the National Strategy for Childhood and Youth, and she recently received an award from the Ministry of Youth and Sports for her support of youth issues. Nafisa was elected to the WRA Board in 2009.
Jamela Saleh Al-Raiby
Dr. Jamela Al-Raiby is a pediatrician and has served as Deputy Minister of Public Health for the Population Sector in Yemen since 2008 which focuses on maternal, neonatal, family planning, and community awareness health issues as well as other issues affecting women's health. Dr. Al-Raiby also works on youth issues and their participation in many fields including reproductive health and safe motherhood issues and how young people can be effective in raising awareness among young people through peer education.
Dr. Al-Raiby served as the General Director of the Gender Department at the Ministry of Health from 2004 to 2008 where she was an advocate of women's issues and raised awareness among women about their rights. She also worked on the prevention of violence against women, children, adolescents and the elderly. Dr. Al-Raiby is an advocate of an early marriage law in parliament, the Shoura council and the community. She is also advocate for a Safe Motherhood law which focuses on women's health, neonatal and children health, and on forbidden female genital mutilation.
Dr. Al-Raiby played an active role in the establishment of the National Safe Motherhood Alliance (NSMA) in Yemen and is a member of its executive board. She is a member of WRA, honorary president of the Yemeni Midwifery Association, and a Board member of the Political Development Forum.
Professor Blami Dao is an obstetrician/gynecologist from Burkina Faso with 21 years of experience in the field of reproductive health, family planning, and maternal and neonatal health (MNH). He is well-known in francophone Africa for his expertise in bringing state-of-the-art evidence-based approaches to the care of women and families. He has strong ties with the most significant organizations working in reproductive health in the region. While working in Bobo Dioulasso, Professor Dao helped establish a sub chapter of WRA Burkina Faso. Professor Dao has been a committed educator throughout his career and recently played a major role in founding the second medical school in Burkina Faso where he was the vice dean. He was also in charge of teaching obstetrics and gynecology courses at one of Burkina Faso’s leading midwifery schools. In addition to his efforts in pre-service education, Professor Dao established the first francophone in-service training center for emergency obstetric care where hundreds of physicians, nurses, midwives and anesthetists from all over francophone Africa have been trained. He is currently the Jhpiego’s MNH Technical Director.
Arzu Rana Deuba, Chair
Dr. Arzu Rana Deuba is Founder and President of the WRA-affiliated Safe Motherhood Network Federation (SMNF) in Nepal, which has been successful in raising awareness about maternal mortality in Nepal and has seen significant progress in decreasing the maternal mortality ratio. Under her leadership, SMNF has grown from a group of 35 individuals and organizations to a Federation of 625 NGOs. As President of SMNF, Arzu took the lead in finalizing a bill on Safe Motherhood in Nepal. She also serves as a Board Member of the Poverty Alleviation Fund. Arzu has a Ph.D in organizational psychology from Punjab University. She has extensive fundraising experience with bilateral and multilateral donors as well as the national government and private sector in Nepal, including with the European Commission, UNFPA, DFID, USAID, ADRA, BNMT, and the Ministry of Health and Population.
Ronald Geary, Treasurer
Ronald F. Geary, CPA, MBA, CGMA, is Vice President of Finance & Administration/Chief Financial Officer of IntraHealth International, a non-profit organization 501c3. IntraHealth International has empowered health workers to better serve communities in need for over 30 years in more than 90 countries. IntraHealth fosters local solutions to health care challenges by improving health worker performance, strengthening health systems, harnessing technology and leveraging partnerships. In collaboration with governments, nongovernmental organizations and private-sector organizations around the world, IntraHealth champions the needs and contributions of health workers—from doctors and nurses to community health workers to health facility managers—and works to ensure they have the tools, supplies, information, training and support they need to provide communities they serve with the best possible opportunity for health and well-being. Prior to joining IntraHealth in January 2012, Ron was the Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of Jhpiego Corporation, a 501c3 non-profit organization affiliated with The Johns Hopkins University.
Over a 30-year career, Ron has gained extensive international experience in capacity building for companies and non-profits in grants and contract management, as well as assessment, selection and implementation of accounting software. Ron's work with government, international and domestic organizations has provided him with hands-on experience working with various organizations in over 25 countries.
Lennie Kamwendo is a registered nurse and midwife. She holds a Bachelor's degree from the University of Ulster at Coleraine, Northern Ireland and a Master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania, United States. As a perinatal nurse specialist, Ms. Kamwendo has vast experience in midwifery education, practice, and research. In 2002, Ms. Kamwendo played a key role in establishing the White Ribbon Alliance in Malawi; soon after, she became the Chairperson of the WRASM-Malawi Executive Committee, in which she served until 2008.
Currently, Ms. Kamwendo heads a monitoring and evaluation team that oversees nursing and midwifery education and practice in the southern region of the country on behalf of the Nurses and Midwives Council of Malawi. Ms. Kamwendo is the author of numerous articles, and a book on sexual and reproductive health. She has also contributed a chapter to a book "Childbirth Across Cultures, Ideas and Practices of Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Postpartum" edited by Helaine Selin.
Ms. Kamwendo is a newly appointed Commissioner in Malawi's Health Service Commission.
A distinguished public health doctor, author and consistent vocal advocate for improvements in global maternal health, Professor Gwyneth Lewis OBE has helped develop maternal death audits leading to safer motherhood programs in over 50 countries for many leading international organizations. She has over 35 years experience in clinical work, as well as policy development and managerial experience at the Department of Health for England, where she was until recently the Director for International Maternal Health. She is now the Director of International Women's Health Research at the Institute for Women's Health, University College, London. Until recently she has also been the Director of the UK Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths for the past 22 years.. She is a Fellow of both the Royal College and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and also of the Faculty of Public Health at the Royal College of Physicians. She has received a number of Doctorates from distinguished universities and is a visiting professor at the Faculty of Health Sciences and Midwifery at the University of Bournemouth. She is perhaps best known internationally for her work on the World Health Organization “Beyond the Numbers” program to review maternal deaths and disabilities to make pregnancy safer, which has been rolled out in over 64 countries. She has widespread Board experience and currently acts as an advisor to many international safe motherhood organizations as well as serving on the Board of the African Journal of Midwifery. In 2009, Queen Elizabeth II awarded Gwyneth the honor of Officer of the Order of the British Empire in recognition of her contribution to national and international maternal health.
Sean O'Connor, Secretary
Sean O'Connor currently serves as Vice President, Special Giving for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Previously, he was a partner at CCS Fundraising. Sean has 17 years of experience working with non-governmental organizations, academic medical centers, trade associations, private colleges, national museums and cultural institutions. He has worked with organizations on fundraising management, major gift training, organizational development, development assessments, and campaign planning and implementation. Among the organizations Sean has worked with are Wildlife Conservation Society, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, New York City Center, Weill Cornell Medical College, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, University del Valle Guatemala, The Nigeria Higher Education Foundation and A-HOME. Sean is a graduate of Holy Cross College.
Beatrice Rwakimari has served as a Member of Parliament in Uganda for ten years, until May 2011. She served as Chair of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on HIV/AIDS and was a Member of the Parliamentary Social Services Committee, which oversees the Ministries of Health and Education. She was Publicity Secretary and Activist for the Advocacy Forum for Women Members of Parliament on Maternal Health which was very instrumental and vocal in bringing issues of maternal health on the agenda of Parliament and government as a whole. During the Inter Parliamentary Union meeting in Panana in April 2011 Beatrice was one of the Members of Parliament who lobbied the meeting to prioritize Maternal health in the over 150 National Parliaments in the world to be discussed in Uganda in April 2012. She is Founder and Director of ARISE, an NGO that focuses on improving reproductive health, preventing and controlling HIV/AIDS and malaria, and promoting good nutrition in the rural communities of Ntungamo District. Beatrice is a National Champion for safe motherhood in her country and has been in the forefront of lobbying government to increase funding for reproductive health especially safe motherhood. She is working with various organizations, including Rotary Clubs, to facilitate safe delivery in lower level health centers. For example, she has secured delivery beds and kits for more than twenty health centers in her District. She is Chairperson of the Board of Aids Information Center, a volunteer for Reproductive Health Uganda and a Director for Skills Gallery Consulting Group. Beatrice holds Masters Degrees in Public Health Leadership from Uganda Christian University and Public Administration and Management from Makerere University.
Theresa Shaver is a nurse-midwife and has over 20 years of experience in international health program management and implementation, focused primarily on maternal and reproductive health. She is currently the Director of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood (WRA) Global Secretariat. As Director, Ms. Shaver serves as the spokesperson for the WRA, provides technical assistance in community mobilization, capacity building, advocacy and maternal health to WRA National Secretariats and members. She also leads all fundraising efforts and is responsible for WRA administrative and financial management. She has provided technical assistance and worked throughout Cambodia, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, Malawi, Tanzania, Tajikistan, Vietnam, and Zambia.
Bradley Theobald is a lawyer maintaining a general corporate advisory practice and has held senior posts within both UK and US firms. During his career, Bradley has acted for the governments of developing and G8 nations, multinational corporates, emerging and early-stage companies. He has recently established his own firm focused primarily upon working alongside research based organisations in the broader technology sectors.
As part of Bradley's responsibilities with the US law firm Morrison & Foerster he held the post of European Pro Bono Co-Ordinator, a role which saw him take responsibility for the conduct and commissioning of the firms european pro bono efforts, whilst personally advising numerous Not for Profits in relation to a wide variety of commercial, strategic and governance issues.
Bradley is a Director and Trustee of a number of entities, including UK based charitable organisations.