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Our senior staff

Nigel Harris, chief executive

Nigel has a strong background in finance, relief and development. Before joining Farm Africa, he was chief of staff at Save the Children UK. A former chief executive of New Philanthropy Capital, he has also worked for Tearfund and the Department for International Development. He spent the earlier part of his career as an investment banker for Schroders.

Claire Allan, head of programme quality and impact 

Claire leads our impact measurement and learning function. Responsible for ensuring tools, systems and skills are in place to measure our impact on the ground, Claire's work is instrumental in obtaining robust evidence of what drives success in different contexts, helping us to expand our future impact. Claire has a background in development economics and previously worked as an economist and policy analyst in the governments of Scotland and South Sudan. She believes that a strong evidence base, grounded in practical experience, will be vital to achieving our ambitions of stimulating macro level change for smallholder farmers.

Steve Ball, director Tanzania

Steve Ball has a background in community forestry and over ten years experience working in Tanzania where he founded the Mpingo Conservation and Development Initiative to conserve endangered forests in East Africa by promoting the sustainable and equitable harvesting of valuable timber trees. His particular interest is in rural development that has sustainable long term positive impacts on both people and the environment.

Rachel Beckett, head of direct marketing

Rachel has over ten years’ fundraising experience at UK and international organisations. Prior to this she spent the early part of her career working as a volunteer in Malawi and working within the private sector. Alongside her marketing role Rachel also manages the running of Farm Africa USA Inc.

Natasha Clayton, chief operating officer

Natasha had 10 years’ experience in the audit practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) before joining the charity sector. She has worked in Tanzania as programme director for Trade Aid, and has also had roles at Save the Children, PwC Australia and Diabetes UK. Natasha is also a trustee of the Pesticide Action Network.

Mark Failes, head of finance

Mark leads our UK finance function and has over 20 years experience in the charity and not-for-profit sector. Before joining Farm Africa he spent eight years at WaterAid, where he led the finance assurance team. Prior to moving to the international development sector Mark worked for film, media and arts organisations in England and Scotland.

Nadia Martinez, director, Kenya

Nadia has 15 years of international development experience focusing on policy, economic interventions, and capacity building of local NGOs. She has worked in several countries in Latin America and Africa, and has managed large donor funded projects. Before joining Farm Africa, Nadia worked at Fintrac Inc, where she was responsible for management and compliance of multi-year, multi-million dollar agriculture programmes supported by USAID in East and Southern Africa. 

John Morris, director, Ethiopia 

John has many years experience in overseas development as a senior manager, including working for Plan International, the International Red Cross  and Save the Children. He has worked across Southern and Eastern Africa, South Asia and Central America in both country and regional roles, including in Kenya, Sudan, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Guatemala. Most recently he was Director of Strategy and Resources for the legal action charity Reprieve.

Stefanie Pfeil, director of fundraising & communications

Stefanie has over 10 years’ experience of fundraising, communications and media and joined Farm Africa in September 2015. Previously she was Director of External Relations at the International Rescue Committee UK, an international humanitarian organisation, and Director of Fundraising and Communications at War on Want, a development and human rights charity. Stefanie is a board member of Refugee Action and previously was a board member of Jubilee Debt Campaign.

Libby Plumb, head of brand & content

Libby leads the communications team. Prior to joining Farm Africa in 2015 she worked for WaterAid America for eight years leading the communications team, and previously managed the communications services and community fundraising teams at WaterAid UK.  She started her career as an account manager for a design company. 

Cathy Wentworth, head of corporate & community fundraising

Cathy leads the Corporate & Community Fundraising team which is responsible for encouraging and supporting a wide range of fundraising activities and events from volunteer-led fundraising, corporate partnerships, schools and faith group fundraising and our portfolio of challenge and sporting events. Cathy started her fundraising career at Dementia UK and before joining Farm Africa, she worked for five years in WaterAid’s Community Fundraising team.

Cathy is currently on maternity leave. Emelia Fellows Ward is managing the role in her absence..

Michelle Winthrop, director of programmes

Prior to her appointment as Director of Programmes, Michelle led our programme work in Ethiopia. Before that, Michelle was at the Department for International Development (DFID), most recently as climate change advisor. Other work experience includes two years as technical lead for the UK on UN gender reforms and three years in Ethiopia seconded to the World Bank working on rural livelihoods, as well as leading programmes in Nicaragua, Central America and Indonesia.

Michelle is currently on maternity leave. Yvan Biot is managing the role in her absence. Yvan has over 20 years experience in agriculture and natural resources management and in excess of 10 yeas policy experience with DFID. His main areas of interest are natural resource and environmental management, forestry preservation and climate change. He has a Phd in soil and water conservation

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