Ford Foundation Appoints Aniagolu-Okoye Regional Director

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The Ford Foundation has appointed Catherine Chinedum (‘ChiChi’) Aniagolu-Okoye as its new regional director for its office serving in West Africa.

A statement by Ford Foundation said Aniagolu-Okoye began the Lagos-based role in September.

The statement further explained that in the new position 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.”

The statement remarked that with over 20 years in the social change sector, Aniagolu-Okoye is a respected leader on the African continent.

The statement hinted that the new regional director brings onboard many years of extensive experience leading diverse international development organisations, managing country programmes, donor projects and country strategies in West Africa and across Africa.

According to the statement, “Asregional 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.”

On his part, The President, Ford Foundation, Darren Walker, said:“I am delighted to welcome ChiChi 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. ChiChi’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.”

Continuing, the statement stated that throughout her career, Aniagolu-Okoye has designed and implemented strategies at regional and global organisations on key social issues such as improving governance, reducing poverty

The statement revealed that 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.

The statement added that before Ford, Aniagolu-Okoye was most recently the Country Director of Technoserve, an international NGO that provides business.