NIGERIAN Catherine Chinedum Aniagolu-Okoye has been appointed as the new Ford Foundation regional director for West Africa with responsibility for overseeing all of its charitable and humanitarian work across the sub-region.
Among other things, the Ford Foundation and its partners have committed more than $30m for workers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and $156m to black arts and culture groups. Lately, the Ford Foundation has also issued its first-of-its-kind social bond of up to $1bn to support social justice sector and other projects.
Mrs Aniagolu-Okoye succeeds the late Innocent Chukwuma who served as regional director from 2013 to 2021 and helped the foundation to build its brand in the region and to establish solid partnerships with donors, civil society, public and private sector leaders. With over 20 years in the social change sector, Mrs Aniagolu-Okoye is a respected leader on the African continent.
A Ford Foundation spokesman said: “As regional director, she will oversee the foundation’s local team, external relations and administrative operations in West Africa. She will also lead on programme strategy development and implementation in the region, with a focus on advancing democracy, human rights and social inclusion for all especially youth, women and people with disabilities.”
Darren Walker, the president of the Ford Foundation, added:“I am delighted to welcome Chi-Chi to the foundation. Her international experience and leadership and her expertise in navigating civil society circles will be invaluable as our work in West Africa grows.
“Chi-Chi’s reputation as a strong operational leader and an African feminist will bring a critical perspective to our work to help address some of the region’s most pressing opportunities and challenges.” before joining the Ford Foundation,, Mrs Aniagolu-Okoye was the country director of Technoserve, an international non-governmental organisation that provides business services.
Throughout her career, Mrs Aniagolu-Okoye has designed and implemented strategies at regional and global organisations on key social issues such as improving governance, reducing poverty. She pursued courses aimed at advancing transparency in the extractives sector and furthering women and girl’s empowerment, through engaging civil society as well as the public and private sectors.