Born in Ghana, Theo Sowa has lived and worked in many countries in Africa, Europe, and North America. Her work includes advisory roles to African and other international women rights, children’s rights and justice activists and leaders, as well as policy development and advocacy in a range of national and international organisations and agencies. She was Senior Programme Advisor on the UN Study on Children and Armed Conflict (the Machel Report) and led its five year review.
Until recently Theo was CEO of the African Women’s Development Fund, leading the organisation through a period of transformation, growth and increase in reach, impact and influence in Africa, parts of the Middle East and globally. Her work currently focuses on philanthropic advocacy as well as advisory work with women’s rights, civil society and philanthropic organisations. She is Co Chair of the Equality Fund; member of the African Advisory Board of the Stephen Lewis Foundation; Patron of Evidence for Development; and board member of the UBS Optimus Foundation; the Graça Machel Trust; TheirWorld; and OSIWA (the Open Society Initiative for West Africa). She is a Commissioner on the UN Education Commission.
Theo holds a Masters degree in International and Comparative Education from the Institute of Education, University of London. She was awarded a CBE in 2010 and the ‘Unlocking Big Change’ Award in 2021.
See her TEDx talk here.