1. Who we are
  2. People
  3. Patrons and Ambassadors

Patrons and Ambassadors

Build Africa's patrons champion our work to new networks and the general public, while our ambassadors support the organisation with key skills and knowledge. We are grateful for their contribution.

Patrons

Mark Florman (Chair of Patrons and Ambassadors)

Mark is a strategic adviser for the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association. He is the co-founder and chairman of the Centre for Social Justice and senior advisor to 8 Miles LLP (the pan-African private equity fund). Mark is involved in numerous philanthropic activities and became a BBC Trustee in April 2015.

Penelope Wilton DBE

Dame Penelope Wilton is an acclaimed actress of stage, film and TV. She has appeared in popular series and movies from Ever Decreasing Circles, Doctor Who and Downton Abbey to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Calendar Girls. Her extensive stage career has seen six Olivier Award nominations, including winning Best Actress in 2015 for Taken at Midnight. Penelope has supported Build Africa since 1986.

Clive Myrie

Clive Myrie is an award-winning BBC presenter and foreign correspondent. He's covered some of the most important news stories of the last 25 years - reporting from the battlefields of Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan, as well as on the presidencies of Bill Clinton, George W Bush and Barack Obama. He has previously been the BBC's Asia, Africa, Washington and Europe correspondent, but is now based in London where he presents BBC News. 

Danny Wallace

Danny Wallace is a writer, comedian and presenter. His works include the books Join Me, Yes Man and Charlotte Street, as well as the TV series How to Start Your Own Country. In 2008 Yes Man was made in to Hollywood film starring Jim Carrey. Danny has previously appeared on Celebrity Mastermind, where he represented Build Africa.

Shiulie Ghosh

Shiulie is a former news anchor for Al Jazeera International, and previously a correspondent for ITV News where she fronted award-winning reports on the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Shiulie has supported Build Africa since 2002 and had visited our work in Africa to help make a short film about our projects.

Tamzin Merchant

Tamzin is an actress whose breakthrough role came in 2005's Pride and Prejudice. Since then she has appeared in BBC series The Tudors, Jane Eyre and US supernatural series Salem. In 2013 Tamzin visited Build Africa's projects in Uganda.

 

Richard Dowden

Richard is a journalist and author. In the early 1970s he worked as a teacher in Uganda, before entering journalism and becoming Africa Editor of The Independent and then The Economist. In 2002 he was appointed Director of the Royal African Society. His book, Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles, was published in 2008.

James Wilby

James is a well-known face on stage and screen whose credits include the films Morris, Howard's End, Regeneration, Gosford Park and A Handful of Dust. James has supported Build Africa since 1990, becoming a Patron in 1998.

 

Greg Clark MP

Greg became MP for Tunbridge Wells in 2005. Having held a number of key shadow ministerial and ministerial roles, including Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Minister of Universities, Science and Cities, he is currently serving as Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Tom Lindsay

Tom is also a member of our UK board, where he takes on a key role in helping to drive our fundraising strategy. Tom is the founder of Spayne Lindsay & Co, an independent advisory firm. Both he and his Spayne Lindsay team have undertaken many challenges to raise valuable funds for our work. 

Lennart Perlhagen

Lennart Perlhagen is the former Scandinavia and UK CEO for Pharmitalia, a world leader in chemotherapy products. He has also worked as a regional director at Astra AB (now Astra Zeneca) where he was involved with the launch of omeprazole - now the world's top selling pharmaceutical product.

Andrew Ross

Andrew's family have always had a strong connection with Build Africa - his father is a former CEO and his mother was a trustee. Andrew has been influential in attracting new supporters to our work. He is Chief Executive of Cazenove Capital Management, having previously been with HSBC Asset Management (Europe).

Tom Attwood

Tom is Chairman of Hg Capital LLP. Both he and his family have personally supported the development of schools in Kumi, Uganda. Tom is able to use his knowledge of education in the UK and his work at the Centre of Social Justice to support Build Africa.

Mark Hamill

Mark and his wife Janie have supported Build Africa since 1996, having been influential in our programme work by pushing the organisation to demonstrate impact with data collection. He is also the founder and former director of Workload Business Consultants. Mark and Janie now run their own charity to support young people.

Modupe Elebute-Odunsi

Dupe is a Consultant Haematologist in London. She has led research programmes for the Department of Health and been educational supervisor at St George’s and King’s College hospitals. Dupe has helped to raise awareness and funds for Build Africa by organising events – including the Africa Blossoms fashion show and the Build Africa Ball 2014.

Bolaji Odunsi

Bolaji is a co-founder of Stirling Square Capital Partners, a European private equity firm. He has helped to develop the funding of our livelihoods work, while his family have personally supported the development of Madoc Ailak Primary School in Uganda. 

John St John

John has been influential in opening new networks to corporate donors. Both John and his wife Melanie are regulars at our events, and as a family have supported the development of Kisomere Primary School in Uganda. John is the co-founder and partner of STJ Advisors.

Melanie St John

Melanie has been on the committee for several Build Africa balls and dinners. Along with her husband, John, she has also supported Kisomere Primary School in Uganda. She runs a portfolio of properties.

 


Ambassadors

Debbie Bartlett

Debbie has helped develop Kanana Genesis School in Kenya with funds raised through the Tony Bartlett Memorial Fund - in memory of her late husband. Debbie has also driven fundraising initiatives and developed partnerships with corporates and policy makers to raise awareness of the organisation.

Peter Docwra

Peter has worked through his business to develop schools in Kenya. Peter is co-owner of Ashtons, a leading estate agency in North Yorkshire, which he has operated for over 25 years.

Geraldine Murphy

Geraldine is a development specialist who delivers programmes aimed at increasing private sector activity in emerging and developing markets. She provides Build Africa with advice and guidance to strengthen the charity's work in livelihoods.

Sid Shah

Sid is a manager at Spayne Lindsay & Co, an independent advisory firm focused on the consumer sector. He joined the firm in 2012 after graduating from Durham University with a degree in Economics. Sid previously lived in Kenya, where he was involved in numerous charity projects.

Jean-Pierre Darque

JP has been supporting and raising funds for Build Africa for a number of years, includng taking on the London Marathon and Prudential RideLondon 100. He is a former director of Barclays Corporate Banking and a Trustee of Kenward Trust, as well as Chairman of Kenward Social Enterprises. JP provides advice and introductions to develop and support coproate partnerships and raise awareness of our work.


Build Africa USA Ambassadors

Mike Hedley

Mike Hedley began supporting Build Africa in 2014. His involvement includes supporting Twendane Primary School in Kenya and the Live Below The Line challenge. Mike has experience with a number of global non-profit organisation and works as a manager at Microsoft in Seattle.

Beth van der Eems

Beth has been involved with Build Africa for a number of years. In 2014 she helped organise our hugely successful Gala Dinner, and is now an ambassador supporting our growth in the USA. Beth owns and runs SunSkyns, a water wear company for women, and is also a professional musician.

Lisa Scholtes

Lisa founded Flatiron Strategy Services, offering consultation to social impact organisations and early-stage technology companies. She also helps support the development of small organisations that use their services for good. 

Brian Murray

Brian is an investment banker who owns New Jersey firm B.V. Murray & Co. Among other charitable projects, Brian co-manages Pristina Capital Partners LLC who developed a water sanitising system to deliver safe water to communities in Africa and Asia.


Young Ambassadors

Christiana Florman (Chair of Young Ambassadors)

Christiana became interested in Build Africa after a trip with her father (Mark Florman) to Uganda where she witnessed our work first hand. Christiana’s other charity work includes three months working in Costa Rica with Operation Raleigh, and event planning with Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Celia St.John

Celia began supporting Build Africa through her parents (John and Melanie St. John) who are both patrons. Celia says she is aware of the “immense privilege” of the education she has received, and wants less privileged children to enjoy the same opportunity.

Giles Ross

Giles’ interest in Build Africa started after learning that that his grandfather had been CEO of the organisation back when we were known as International Christian Relief. He is the son of Andrew Ross, a patron of Build Africa, and has spent time with our teams in Kenya and Uganda, and has worked in the UK office as well.