Sad loss of a friend and colleague


By Sarah Marzouk

We are very sorry that Francisco Roque, our Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean and a member of our leadership group, died on 24 March 2014 after a short illness.

Francisco Roque with an older woman in La Paz, Peru. We are saddened by the loss of our friend and colleague, Francisco Roque. (c) HelpAge International

A long and successful career

Francisco Roque joined HelpAge in October 2013. Before that, he worked at many NGOs, including Save the Children UK and Oxfam GB, as well as for the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP).

While with WFP, Francisco was Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, and also Country Director for Angola and Namibia, Iraq and other countries in Central America.

With Oxfam, Francisco was the Regional Director for South America, providing leadership and implementing programmes across five countries. He was also Save the Children UK’s Country Director for South Sudan, where he successfully merged the three Save the Children programmes in that country.

Cared deeply about communities

Toby Porter, HelpAge’s CEO said:

“Francisco had a long and successful career as a development activist, working all over the world with agencies like the World Food Programme, Oxfam GB and Save the Children UK. Francisco was from Peru, and he and we were absolutely thrilled at his joining HelpAge, seeing an obvious and perfect fit between cause and individual.

“Francisco was a great person to work with, and cared deeply about the communities and colleagues that he worked with."

Yolanda Weldring, former HelpAge Regional Director in East, West and Central Africa, knew Francisco well, having worked with him at Save the Children for many years.

Yolanda had this anecdote about Francisco:

“While working in South Sudan for Save the Children, he always used any time off he had to travel to Peru to spend time with his mother. She missed him very much and was always concerned about him living there in South Sudan.”

We have lost a great friend and colleague. If you have any messages of support please leave them here and we will share them with Francisco's family.

Post a comment | 17 comments

Comments submitted for this page

  • Hans Lind (24 April 2014)

    I worked together with Fransisco in South Sudan and also had a chance to have lunch with him in Lima a half year ago. The news on his death is very sad. He was a good colleague and a great friend! He will be missed by many!

  • Sarah Marzouk (28 March 2014)

    Message from Las Awichas:

    Las personas que componemos la Comunidad Aymaras Urbanos de Pampajasi CAUP, especialmente las AWICHAS, lamentamos mucho el fallecimiento del Director Regional de HelpAge International Francisco Roque, a quin tuvimos el gusto de conocer cuando en octubre del ao pasado nos visit y comparti momentos de alegra y confraternidad con las Awichas. En la foto est comentando a doa Marcela Meja sobre la medicina natural que elaboramos en Qulla Uta.
    Hacemos llegar nuestro sentimiento por su ausencia a su familia en Lima y a la gran familia de HelpAge en el mundo entero.

  • Neil Smith (27 March 2014)

    We convey our most heartfelt condolences to Francisco's family and loved ones on behalf of the HelpAge Spain office. Although we did not have the opportunity to meet, we very much looked forward to working with Francisco. There is no doubt that the Humanitarian community in general and HelpAge in particular have lost an invaluable contributor and close friend.

  • Antonella D'Aprile (26 March 2014)

    Paco was a great leader, colleague and friend. He is going to be missed by many of us in WFP but his great heart and simplicity will be treasured forever...Mi sentidas condolencias a la familia de Paco. Antonella

  • Nicola Di Foggia (26 March 2014)

    l knew Francisco at WFP Hq in Rome and we also met in Nicaragua when he was there as WFP Regional Director for Latin America. A great Director, a great person, a great friend. I will miss him.....

  • Hannah Laufer-Rottman (26 March 2014)

    It is heartbreaking. Paco was a close friend, a colleague. A wonderful being and I feel so sad that he is gone. It is hard to believe! Please convey my regrets to his family

  • Catherine Bertini (25 March 2014)

    His death is a big jolt for us all. But is life was full of meaning and accomplishment in his dedicated work to end hunger and poverty. I shall cherish his friendship forever.

  • Angela Sanabria (25 March 2014)

    The Colombian team wants to express honest and deepest condolences to Mr. Francisco's family and friends. We had the opportunity to meet him last January and we all remember him as an educated, polite and very committed man.

    We all are enormously sorry for the Organization and our region and without doubt, Francisco leaves as a great legacy of dedication and hard work.

  • Alison Rusinow (25 March 2014)

    I was deeply saddened to hear this terrible news. Francisco was a valued friend and dear colleague in Ethiopia when I was still with HelpAge and he wasn't yet. I will remember him for his kindness, his professional approach, but above all for his ever present sense of calm, even when under extreme pressure. He was a voice of reason, a voice that exemplified the wisdom that HelpAge believes in and seeks to make more of a voice for positive change in the world. He stood out amongst the angry men and women of the INGO world I knew him amongst in Ethiopia as someone who listened first, before speaking, who never showed off about his background to prove a point, who would come in towards the end of a heated discussion with wise words and calm advice. I do remember him travelling frequently from Ethiopia back to Peru to visit his family and he was deeply interested in the issues of ageing. A big loss for his family, for HelpAge and above all for the older people in this world whose lives I'm sure he would have contributed to changing for the better!!!

  • Jean Claude Gosselin (25 March 2014)

    From Haiti staff,
    Our sincere and deepest condolences to Francisco's family. I had the chance to meet him once or twice in Angola while he was with WFP, I remember him as a warm hearted person and was looking forward to meet with him again. We all wish him well in this last trip.

  • Kizito Chiwala (25 March 2014)

    My heartfelt and sincere condolences to his family. Francisco was a humble and an excellent leader.

  • Nader Alfarra (25 March 2014)

    The team from HelpAge in oPt would like to extend most heartfelt condolences for the loss of Francisco

  • Feleke (25 March 2014)

    It is with great sadness, shock and disbelief that I received such a shocking news. I have known Francisco personally when he was working for SC-UK. He was such a committed leader with great wisdom and strong passion for humanitarian endeavors. May the Almighty God put his soul in peace on the side of the angles and the blessed ones.

    Francisco we miss you- you are a great hero on the humanitarian front.

  • James Blackburn (25 March 2014)

    I was shocked to hear this very sad news. Francisco spent a few days with the team here in Colombia in January and was really appreciated for his no nonsense pieces of advice which came from a person of such considerable experience. He was warm and had a good sense of humour. A man of strong principles. He was outraged by the deep inequalities in Peru and Colombia, and spoke often about this.

  • Cindy Cox Roman (25 March 2014)

    I am so deeply saddened by this tragic news about Francisco. The story that Yolanda shared about his mother says it all. We have lost a wonderful person and member of the HelpAge family. Like Luz, he will continue to inspire us.

  • Shafiq R. Bhuiyan (25 March 2014)

    It's a big loss.. our heart goes with the loss of his family.

  • Zurine Santander (25 March 2014)

    I'm very sorry to hear this news, I was very much looking forward to working with him. Condolences to his family. Zurine

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