Born in Ghana, Theo Sowa has lived and worked in many countries in Africa, as well as the UK, Europe and the USA. Her work includes advisory roles to African and other international women and children’s rights activists and leaders, plus policy development and advocacy with a variety of international agencies and organisations. She was Senior Programme Advisor on the UN Study on Children and Armed Conflict (the Machel Report) and led the five-year review of the report.
Theo is a board member of various national and international civil society organisations and grant-making foundations, including being a member of the UBS Optimus Foundation; a board member of the Graça Machel Trust; Co-Chair of the Equality Fund; a member of the African Advisory Board of the Stephen Lewis Foundation; and a Patron of Evidence for Development.
She has authored many publications, including being a contributing editor to ‘The Impact of War on Children’; a contributing author and co-editor of a Harvard Law School/UNICEF Innocenti publication on ‘Children and Transitional Justice’; and co-author of ‘Groupwork and Intermediate Treatment’.
Theo was CEO of the African Women’s Development Fund from 2011 until December 2020 and led the organisation through a period of transformation and growth, increasing its reach, its influence and impact in Africa and the Middle East. She currently works on a range of social justice issues including advisory work on women’s leadership and on philanthropic transformation.
Theo was awarded a CBE in June 2010.