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.
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.
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 MerchantTamzin 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 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.
Greg Clark MP
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.
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
Melanie St John
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 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 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 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.
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 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 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 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.
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 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’ 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.