Our directors and leadership group

Our leadership group is made up of our UK-based directors and our regional directors.

Toby Porter, Chief Executive Officer

Toby Porter, Chief Executive, HelpAge International

Toby Porter is the Chief Executive of HelpAge International. He has dedicated his career to humanitarian and development assistance. He joined HelpAge in October 2013, overseeing the development and approval of our new 2020 Strategy. In his time to date, Toby has visited HelpAge projects in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, the Philippines, Haiti, Myanmar, Pakistan, Lebanon, and Nepal. 
In June 2014, Toby accepted an invitation to join the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Ageing for 2014-16. The focus of the council in the current term is to "capitalise on the economic opportunities presented by an ageing population by encouraging business and governments to adopt age-friendly practices". Toby has represented HelpAge International at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland in 2014 and 2015. In 2015, he was part of a High Level Panel on Humanitarian Cash Transfers that has delivered a set of recommendations for 2016’s World Humanitarian Summit.
Follow Toby on Twitter @tobyhporter.

Justin Derbyshire, Director of Programmes

Justin Derbyshire, Director of Programmes

Justin is responsible for our six regional offices in Asia, Africa, Latin America & Caribbean and the Humanitarian team.

Justin joined HelpAge International from Save the Children UK, where he headed up the East Africa regional team, overseeing their interests and projects in their largest region. He was instrumental in growing their programmes and increasing their portfolio in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia whilst ensuring the successful delivery of complex and large projects. He sat on their organisational risk committee and the programme board for the Humanitarian Leadership Academy.

Prior to Save the Children, Justin worked for Merlin in the Central African Republic, South Sudan and in London overseeing their five East Africa country programmes.

Asif Sawar, Director of Finance and Corporate Services

Asif Sawar, Director of Finance

Asif joined HelpAge International in 2008 and became Director of Finance and Corporate Services in October 2014.

Before joining HelpAge, he worked for Save the Children in Pakistan, Sudan, Rwanda, Kosovo and Indonesia where he provided financial, HR and logistical support after the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami.



Kate Wedgwood, Director of Policy, Advocacy and Campaigning

Kate Wedgwood, Director of Policy, Advocacy and Communications

Kate joined HelpAge in 2015 from the Department for International Development (DFID) where she worked initially in the head office as Head of Communications for the Africa Division and Head of Cabinet for the Director for West and Southern Africa. She later became Head of Programmes and Deputy Head of DFID Uganda.

Prior to joining DFID, Kate worked for 15 years for Save the Children, initially as Water Programme Manager in Malawi and then as Country Director for China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Before Save the Children, she worked in Latin America initially as a research fellow for CEPIS, the Pan American Environmental Health and Engineering Centre in Peru, and then for the Nicaraguan government leading a flagship rural water supply programme.

In 2012, Kate was seconded from DFID to the Nike Foundation/DFID collaborative initiative Girl Hub to head up Girl Hub Rwanda where she established a branded media platform for adolescent girls and catalysed an enabling environment that would make Rwanda a lead in Africa on investing in girls.

In September 2014, Kate became Africa Regional Adviser for Girl Hub, providing management for its operations in Ethiopia, Rwanda and Nigeria, and giving technical advice to DFID girl-centred programmes in Africa.

Follow Kate on Twitter @KateFWedgwood

Regional directors

Eduardo Klien, Regional Director, East Asia and Pacific

Eduardo Klien, Regional Director, East Asia and Pacific

Eduardo joined HelpAge as Asia/Pacific Regional Representative in September 2004. He has worked in Asia for the last 12 years. Previous posts included working for Oxfam GB as Regional Manager for the Horn of Africa and Regional Director for Mexico/Central America.

Eduardo has extensive experience of working in social and economic development with both governments and international organisations.

He is an economist by profession and has been a lecturer in Economics in the Universities of Mexico and Nicaragua. He has also been a Visiting Research Fellow in the Queen Elizabeth House of the University of Oxford.

Eduardo is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Oxford Institute of Ageing of the University of Oxford.

Marco Aviotti, Regional Director, Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Marco Aviotti, Regional Director, Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Marco joined HelpAge International in January 2013 as Eastern Europe and Central Asia Regional Director. Before this he worked as Country Director for Merlin in Pakistan.

Earlier experiences include both emergency and development work in Asia (Afghanistan, Tajikistan, India, Sri Lanka, Laos), and south-east Europe (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Kosovo) for a number of international NGOs.

Marco is a rural development and local governance expert with extensive experience of participatory methodologies, particularly in the fields of impact monitoring and rural appraisals and working directly with marginalised groups.

Necodimus Chipfupa, Regional Director, Southern Africa

Necodimus Chipfupa, Regional Director, Southern Africa

Nec has been with HelpAge International since 1992. He has more than 20 years of development experience with 16 years of them as a senior development manager in various countries in Africa.

Nec has extensive experience in emergency work, social and economic development with communities, civil society organisations and governments both at local and national levels.

Nec started off as a field officer with the then refugee programme and rose to the Country Programme Manager in Zimbabwe, then Programme Advisor in Tanzania, Country Director in Mozambique and most recently Tanzania, all with HelpAge International.

Other previous experiences include Country Director for Oxfam GB in Angola and Zambia and Administrator with the Ministry of Justice and Parliamentary Affairs in Zimbabwe.

Peter McGeachie, Regional Director, South Asia

Peter McGeachie, Regional Director South Asia

Peter joined HelpAge in April 2014 as Regional Director for South Asia.

Peter has over 25 years experience with INGOs in Africa, South Asia and Latin America. He has worked in Country Director and Regional Director roles for a number of UK-based agencies including Health Unlimited, Oxfam GB, SightSavers International and latterly with CAFOD as Regional Director for the Horn and East Africa.

Peter has expertise in rural development, working with people with disabilities, NGO management and organisational development. He also has considerable experience in emergency preparedness and response work.

Prafulla Mishra, Regional Director, East, West and Central Africa

Prafulla Mishra, Regional Director, East, West and Central Africa

With a professional career spanning over two decades, Prafulla has significant experience of leading country and regional programmes in both humanitarian and development work in the East Africa region. 

Before joining HelpAge International in June 2014, he worked for the International Rescue Committee and more recently the Norwegian Refugee Council.

Prafulla has also worked for 12 years in leadership positions with Oxfam in India and M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, India.

He has programmatic experience and expertise in a range of themes including ecology and natural resource management, disaster risk reduction, livelihoods, gender, governance and human rights, child and youth protection and primary health.

Joost Martens, Regional Director, Latin America and the Caribbean

Joost Martens, Regional Director, Latin America and the Caribbean

Joost is an economist from the Netherlands, with 30 years of working experience in the Latin America and Caribbean region, many of these with the United Nations system - ILO and UNHCR. His work with the ILO has focused on employment and income generation, local economic development, and productive organisation.

He has also been Regional Director of Oxfam Great Britain for Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean, with a focus on sustainable development and humanitarian preparedness and assistance, and Director General of Consumers International, the global federation of national consumer associations.

Area heads

Sylvia Beales, Head of Strategic Alliances

HelpAge International's Sylvia Beales

Sylvia is an ageing, development, social policy and human rights specialist for HelpAge who builds influence and delivers change through advocacy work, the development of strategic alliances and by developing and supporting the global network of HelpAge affiliates.

She is currently the co-lead of the Stakeholder Group on Ageing at the United Nations and global lead for HelpAge's engagement with the post-2015 process.




Alex Bush, Head of Operations

Alex Bush, Head of Operations

Alex takes responsibility for our Global Projects, Strategic grants and for cross-organisational monitoring and evaluation. He joined HelpAge in 1998 and was responsible for our Africa programmes for ten years.

Alex previously spent 12 years in a variety of posts at ITDG (now Practical Action), following a stint in the oil and gas industry.

He was a VSO teacher in Sierra Leone in the early 1980s.






Patricia Conboy, Head of Policy

Patrica Conboy, Head of Policy, HelpAge International

Patricia joined HelpAge in 2016.  She is responsible for leading, building and supporting our policy team and global policy on ageing and development.

With extensive professional experience in the field of age policy, Patricia has held advisory, leadership and management roles with the British Geriatrics Society (2014-16), Older & Bolder (2008-13) and the National Council on Ageing and Older People (2003-2008). She has also been a member of the Oversight Board for The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA).

As Director of Older & Bolder, she managed an alliance of eight NGOs campaigning for the rights of older people. With the involvement of a national network of older people-s groups and advocates, she led pre-Budget and General Election campaigns on social protection and health and care. These were rooted in the voices and experiences of older people, evidence-informed and framed within an intergenerational perspective. A sustained Older & Bolder campaign for the delivery of a national strategy on ageing was successful when, in 2013, the Irish Government published the National Positive Ageing Strategy.

Jane Scobie, Head of Network Development

Jane Scobie, Head of Network

Jane has been instrumental in positioning HelpAge as a global player in development and humanitarian relief and the leading source of information and expertise relating to older people in developing countries since she joined the organisation in 1999. 

Jane has led on communications initiatives including our Global AgeWatch Index, Ageing in the 21st Century report, Age Demands Action campaign, rebranding of the organisation, developing our online presence and overseeing our range of publications.

Before joining HelpAge, Jane developed and delivered strategic communication and advocacy strategies and training for a number of organisations, including ITDG (now Practical Action), BOND and Stop Disasters Campaign.

Frances Stevenson, Head of the Humanitarian Team

Frances Stevenson, HelpAge's Head of Emergencies

Frances leads the humanitarian team based in London and advises and supports on humanitarian policy, strategy and programming.

Before joining HelpAge in 2009, she was a consultant in humanitarian policy and strategy and a Research Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) where she led the Humanitarian Practice Network.

Her operational experience includes being Head of Programmes at Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) UK; Head of Mission for MSF Holland in Rwanda, DRC, Sri Lanka and Indonesia; Programme Manager with Marie Stopes International in South Asia and Former Yugoslavia; and a trek leader in the Himalayas.

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