Governing board

Lawrencia Adams is a rural sociologist with an MBA in Entrepreneurial Management from the University of Ghana. She was Executive Director of the Pan African Organization for Sustainable Development (POSDEV) and is team leader for the Ghana Research and Advocacy Programme. She has worked with national and donor organisations for more than 20 years on social accountability and the organisational development of small and medium enterprises, NGOs and civil society organisations. She is a gender specialist with a solid experience in grants management in compliance with USAID, European Union, CIDA, DANIDA and World Bank.

Simon Zbinden is Co-Head of the Global Programme Food Security at the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). He contributes to international policy processes around agriculture, food security and nutrition. He is also responsible for a number of SDC cooperation programmes supporting smallholder farms in Africa and Asia. Simon obtained a BSc in Agronomy at Berne University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland, and an MSc in Resource Economics at Cornell University, New York. Having joined SDC in 2003, he has had several food security related positions in SDC offices in Nicaragua, Benin and at Headquarters in Berne, Switzerland.

Rasheda K. Choudhury is the Executive Director of Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE), a coalition of more than thousand education NGOs, researchers and educator groups in Bangladesh. She is a Senior Fellow of the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) and Executive Committee Member of the Institute for Inclusive Finance and Development (InM). She is a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD), an independent think-tank that focuses on issues critical to developing countries, and is a regular speaker on the right to education and gender justice in national and international fora.

Dominique Hounkonnou is an agronomist (graduated at Gembloux, Belgium), with a PhD in Social Sciences from Wageningen University. He worked in agricultural extension in Benin for 10 years and at CTA (the ACP-EU Centre for agricultural and rural cooperation) for 12 years. He now works as a consultant in local development, and with the Berceaux d’Afrique foundation, which he created with some friends to support local development groups. He strongly believes that the future of Africa depends, to a large extent, on how efficiently the leaders and support organisations can build from local development dynamics.

Josephine Rodgers has an MA in Mass Communications from the University of Leicester in the UK, and a degree in Agricultural Science. Since 1985, Josephine has worked with her company Countrywise Communication for organisations and companies throughout the world, creating award-winning information and training videos on agriculture, food and rural development. She has worked with broadcasters to develop multi-language programmes as well as training local teams to produce videos to a high standard. Josephine is a co-founder of Access Agriculture.

David Ngugi studied veterinary medicine at the University of Nairobi. He started his career with the Kenyan Government for seven years where he rose to head a district (now County), after which he has worked for the private sector for more than 25 years. He has helped develop the livestock sector to boost food production, food security and alleviate poverty in rural areas. He is a hands-on professional with a solid knowledge of marketing and management in the agricultural industry throughout East Africa.

Mary Kamau is chairperson of the Board of the African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS) and a board member of the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS). She recently retired as Director of Extension Services and Training in Kenya, having worked since 1980 in agricultural development and extension.  She was involved in the development of the National Agricultural Sector Extension Policy and the National Agricultural Research System in Kenya. Urban and peri-urban farming are a particular interest, as is encouraging youth into agriculture as a business. Mary is vice-chair of Access Agriculture.

Paul Van Mele is an agricultural scientist with a PhD from Wageningen University. Since 1993 he has managed agricultural R&D projects in Africa and Asia dealing with sustainable agriculture and farmer training. Paul has spearheaded farmer-to-farmer video, conducted action research on video-mediated learning and taken it to scale. In 2010 he swapped his senior position as Program leader on Learning and Innovation Systems in the CGIAR to start his own enterprise, Agro-Insight. In 2012, together with Countrywise Communication, he founded the international NGO, Access Agriculture, for which he acts as Chairperson.

Alphan Njeru is an accountant and a management consultant with vast expertise in financial management, project management, audit and risk management, corporate governance, capacity building and assurance services for Government and Public Sector. Alphan was full-time employee for 36 years with PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the largest international consulting and auditing firms. Since retiring from PwC, he has joined Boards of directors of several companies and organisations in diverse industries and NGOs. He also chairs Audit and Risk committees of various Boards. Alphan is Treasurer of Access Agriculture.