Governing board

Lawrencia Adams is a rural sociologist with an MBA in Entrepreneurial Management from the University of Ghana, Legon. She was the Executive Director of the Pan African Organization for Sustainable Development (POSDEV) Consortium 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 donor requirements including USAID, European Union, CIDA, DANIDA and World Bank.

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.

Mary Kamau is current 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 many areas of 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.

Phil Malone is a geographer and an ex-BBC radio broadcaster. For well over 25 years, Phil has advised senior government officials on communication throughout the former Soviet Union, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. He has worked with professionals in many industries to help them communicate more effectively. Much of Phil’s expertise includes assisting with the drawing up and implementation of communication strategies for the health, agricultural, food and rural development sectors. Phil supports our overall communication strategy and acts as Vice-chairman.

Bob Muchina read Government and Economics at the University of Nairobi, proceeded to the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication and obtained an MA in Communication from the University of Pittsburg. He pioneered the Marketing Society of Kenya and honed his journalistic skills at the global charity, World Vision. He views the promotion of sustainable agriculture premised upon information streaming at three levels: lateral sharing of farm experiences; extending linkages between research and farmers; and collaboration between financial institutions and the entrepreneur farmer. Bob is Executive Secretary of Access Agriculture and Secretary to the Board.

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.

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 many international organisations and companies throughout the world, creating award-winning information and training videos on agriculture, food and rural development, as well as training local teams to produce programmes to a high standard. With over 30 years’ experience in the financial management of complex international projects as well as four companies and assisting other NGO’s, Josephine has taken up the role of Treasurer within 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 Chairman.

Simon Zbinden is Co-Head of the Global Programme Food Security at the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). In this position he participates in 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, Ithaca, 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.