Phillip Walker – Africa Program Advisor, Anglican Overseas Aid
Phillip Walker has over two decades of professional experience as a development practitioner in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, both in the field and Head Office. He has worked on programs involved with integrated water resource management and has an abiding interesting in climate change, particularly the impacts on vulnerable communities. Phillip has worked for NGOs, humanitarian organisations, in the private sector and owned his own business.
Phillip is the Africa Program Advisor for Anglican Overseas Aid, and works directly with the Afar Pastoralist Development Association in Ethiopia and Mother’s Union in Kenya.
Valerie Browning – Project Coordinator, Afar Pastoralist Development Association (Ethiopia)
Australian nurse Valerie Browning lives and works with the nomadic Afar people of Ethiopia. The Afar region is one of the hottest inhabitable places on earth and is also one of the poorest. Valerie has been described by Channel 9’s 60 Minutes as “one of our unsung national treasures.” She has lived among the Afar nomads for more than 20 years and has worked tirelessly to improve their lives.
With her Afar husband Ismael Ali Gardo, Valerie set up the Afar Pastoralist Development Association (APDA) in the early ’90s. As Anglican Overseas Aid’s Ethiopian partner in The Road Less Travelled project, APDA works closely with the Afar communities to improve maternal and child health.
Valerie has been awarded an Order of Australia for service to International Humanitarian Aid, and has written a book about her life called Maalika – My life among the Afar nomads (by Valerie Browning and John Little).
Florence Nderitu – Project Coordinator, Mothers’ Union (Kenya)
My name is Florence Nderitu. I come from the Diocese of Mt Kenya West, and I am the Project Coordinator for the Mother’s Union TRLT project, that is based in Laikipia. We are dealing with nomadic pastoralist communities. My main work is to coordinate all the activities that are going on, and to implement the projects that support the mother and child. It is a topic that is very dear to me, because it’s important to improve the health of the mother and child, as the child is the present and the future of any community. Also, mothers are the ones that are involved in really nurturing the community, and especially their specific families. It is important to improve their health, so that mothers are able to do these kinds of activities without compromising their health.
James Senjura – Laikipia Project Officer, Mothers’ Union (Kenya)
I come from Laikipia North in Kenya, where the cow matters. I’m working with Mothers’ Union on the The Road Less Travelled maternal health pastoralist project, trying to influence positive change in nomadic group ranches in Laikipia County. My job is to assist the community to adopt development practices that empower women, men and children to take part and get involved in all aspects that affect their lives. As a change agent, my job is to provide skills and promote activities that empower communities to demand and advocate for better services, from within and outside.
Sarah Manyeki – Monitoring & Evaluation Officer, Mothers’ Union (Kenya)
I’m Sarah Manyeki, and I live in Nanyuki, Laikipia County. I was born in Ruai, in Kiambu County. I’ve lived in Laikipia for almost 12 years now, working with different communities, but currently I’m working on the MCH project being implemented in partnership with Mother’s Union and Anglican Overseas Aid. I work as the Monitoring & Evaluation Officer and I love my job! I love working with the communities, especially working in communities which I would say are not as endowed with resources as the community I’ve grown up in. Their cultural background is a bit different from my cultural background, so it’s also interesting to be learning so much about their culture, and to be comparing their culture with my culture. I’ve come to learn that cultural background can have a lot of effect, a lot of impact on the way you seek services, the way you view life, and the way you look at issues.
Greg Armstrong – Research Fellow, Nossal Insitute for Global Health
Greg Armstrong is a social worker and research fellow with the Nossal Institute for Global Health at The University of Melbourne, a partner in The Road Less Travelled project. Greg has coordinated several research projects and international development consultancies, and additionally provides advanced quantitative research design and analysis expertise.
Since 2011, Greg has provided Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) expertise for The Road Less Travelled project, overseeing the Baseline Assessments in Kenya and Ethiopia and supporting the local M&E teams through capacity development.
Hannah Ford – AACES Communications Coordinator, Australian Volunteers International
Hannah has worked on a wide range of communications projects over the past eight years, from education programs to public fundraising and community engagement campaigns. Most recently, she spent two years volunteering and working in East Africa, managing communications and donor relations for a non-governmental organisation based in Tanzania.
As the AACES Communications Coordinator for Australian Volunteers International, Hannah is dedicated to raising awareness of the issues faced by pastoralist communities in Ethiopia and Kenya, and highlighting the work being done to improve access to basic essentials such as health care and education.
Fran Noonan – Communications Coordinator, Australian Volunteers International
Fran Noonan has over 10 years experience working in the journalism and communications sectors in Australia and overseas. As Australian Volunteers International’s Media and Communications Coordinator, she works with The Road Less Travelled partners to promote the work of the Maasai, Samburu and Afar communities in the areas of maternal health, water and sanitation, and education.
In January 2012, Fran visited these communities with the aim to gather their stories and to share their experiences as part of the The Road Less Travelled project.
More author profiles to come.