Born in Ghana, Theo Sowa has lived and worked in many countries in Africa, as well as the UK, Europe, and the USA. Her work includes advisory roles to African and other international women and children’s rights activists and leaders, plus policy development and advocacy with a variety of international agencies and organizations. She was Senior Programme Advisor on the UN Study on Children and Armed Conflict (the Machel Report) and led the five-year review of the report.
Theo is a board member of various national and international civil society organizations and grantmaking foundations, including being a trustee of Comic Relief (a multimillion grantmaking foundation) and Chair of Comic Relief’s International Grants Committee; a member of the African Advisory Board of the Stephen Lewis Foundation; a Patron of Evidence for Development; a member of the UBS Optimus Foundation and a board member of the Graça Machel Trust.
She has authored many publications, including being a contributing editor to ‘The Impact of War on Children’; a contributing author and co-editor of a Harvard Law School/UNICEF Innocenti publication on ‘Children and Transitional Justice’; and co-author of ‘Groupwork and Intermediate Treatment’.
Theo was CEO of the African Women’s Development Fund from 2011 until December 2020, and led the organization through a period of transformation and growth, increasing its reach, its influence and impact in Africa and the Middle East.
Theo was awarded a CBE in June 2010.