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Our staff

Alison Tweed, Chief Executive


As Director, Alison leads the charity, working closely with the Board of Trustees which is chaired by Lord Boateng. Alison is responsible for the organisation’s strategy and development, finances, policy framework and governance as well as the charity’s relationships with all its donors, supporters and library partners. Alison worked for 25 years in publishing materials for developing world markets and has extensive knowledge of the African education sector.

Samantha Thomas-Chuula, Head of Programmes


As Head of Programmes, Samantha leads the development and management of Book Aid International’s book provision programme and the organisation’s strategy for the support and development of African libraries through projects and librarian training. Samantha has a wealth of experience in Africa-based education having worked for the British Council on sub-Saharan African programmes and most recently as Room to Read’s Zambia Country Director. She brings with her an in-depth knowledge of school library provision and developing literacy and a love of reading through interventions in schools. Samantha joined Book Aid International as Head of Programmes in October 2015.

Hannah Watson MinstF (Dip), Head of Fundraising and Development


Hannah is responsible for leading all of Book Aid International’s fundraising activities. Book Aid International receives no support from the government and all our income is raised through the generosity of trusts and foundations, corporate and community organisations, schools and individuals. Following an MA in Egyptology and two years with Blackwell’s Academic Bookshops, Hannah began her career as an individual giving fundraiser in UK and international organisations including Gingerbread, the charity for single parents, and RedR UK. Hannah has nearly 10 years’ experience in the charity sector and was awarded her Diploma in Fundraising in 2013. From 2008 – 2011, Hannah was Individual Giving Manager at Book Aid International. She returned as Head of Fundraising & Development in February 2015.

Simon Mercer, Head of Operations


Simon leads on all operational work including book acquisition, storage, warehouse processing and shipping. In addition Simon is responsible for our volunteer programme. Prior to joining Book Aid International, Simon worked for a leading UK based educational charity as Head of Operations. He has over 40 years of experience in managing complex fast moving consumer goods logistics organisations supplying customers in the UK and internationally. In addition to his role at Book Aid International, Simon is also a Trustee of three other UK based charitable organisations in the education sector; Instructus, Skills CFA and CQM Training. Simon joined Book Aid International as Head of Operations in February 2014.

Ade Soremekun (FCCA), Head of Finance


As Head of Finance, Ade manages the finance function of the organisation, ensuring funds collected are recorded, allocated and spent appropriately. Ade is also responsible for financial reporting internally and externally and ensuring the organisation conforms to the various legal and ethical standards in the furtherance of its financial objectives. Ade has worked in finance for over 20 years in both the commercial and not for profit sector and has vast experience of the education sector. Ade joined Book Aid International as Head of Finance in June 2016.

James Kimani, Africa Representative


James represents Book Aid International in Africa where he manages and develops our programmes and builds relationships with funders, partners and other organisations in the region. James has worked for the past 22 years in education, health and development with a focus on communication, information and knowledge management with government departments, NGOs and community based organisations in 13 African countries. From 2006-2010 he was Programme Manager for Africa for Healthlink Worldwide and has worked as a consultant for a range of organisations including UNAIDS, Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. James worked as a consultant on a health project for Book Aid International in 2010 and then joined Book Aid International as East Africa Representative in May 2011.

Emma Taylor, Head of Communications


As Head of Communications, Emma is responsible for Book Aid International’s brand, its communications through all channels and increasing the charity’s profile. With a background in international disaster response, Emma has a wealth of experience overseas communicating both with supporters in the UK and beneficiaries in disaster zones. In 2010, she was named noted by Fast Company as a member of the Change Generation and by Huffington Post as a Social Innovator. She won a further award for her overseas work from the Vodafone Foundation in 2013. In the UK, she led communications for the UK’s largest regional Voluntary and Community Sector support organisation, Voluntary Action LeicesterShire, for three years. Emma joined Book Aid International in October 2016.

Contact us

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Meet our Board of Trustees.
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We work in partnership with library services and NGOs in Africa who help us to make our vision a reality.
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Read up on how our work is funded.
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