Our directors and leadership group

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

Justin Derbyshire, Chief Executive 

Justin Derbyshire, Interim Chief Executive, HelpAge International

Justin is the Chief Executive at HelpAge International from March 2017. Justin joined HelpAge International in 2014 as the Director of Programmes and was responsible for our regional offices in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Caribbean and the Humanitarian team. In his time to date, he has overseen the emergency responses in Nepal and Ukraine, driven the regional and country strategic reviews and led the implementation of the organisational wide change process.

Previously Justin worked at 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. 

Follow Justin on Twitter @JJDerbyshire


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, Asia

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.

Prafulla Mishra, Regional Director, 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.

Barbara Shenstone, Regional Director, Eurasia Middle East 

Barbara Shenstone

Barbara Shenstone brings to HelpAge International more than 30 years’ experience in international development, managing programmes of humanitarian and development assistance in countries and territories emerging from or experiencing political, social and economic crisis.

From 2007 to 2011, she served as Director of UNRWA in the West Bank, managing the agency’s $140 million programme providing essential services in primary education, vocational training, primary healthcare, and relief and social services for more than 600,000 Palestine refugees.

She joined UNOCHA in 2011 to lead its office in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for three years, and in 2014 assumed leadership of UNOCHA's office in eastern Turkey, supporting cross-border emergency relief into Syria.

Previous work took her with the international NGO CARE to countries including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chechnya,Iraq, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Barbara has also worked for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Canadian International Development Agency. She began her international career as a volunteer teacher with World University Service of Canada in Africa.

She is a Canadian citizen, and holds an MA in International Relations (Conflict Analysis) from Carleton University in Ottawa.

Area heads

Alex Bush, Interim Head of Programmes

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.





Donate to HelpAge now!

Read the HelpAge blog


Stay updated! Sign up below...

Privacy policy