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Meet our Board Members

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Members of the Board of Directors of AFSA are elected every three years by the General Assembly. Only Core Members can vote and stand for election to board membership. Below are members of the incumbent Board of Directors for the duration of 2020-2022 as elected by the General Assembly held in November 2019 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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Dr. Chris Macoloo, President

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Jean Paul Sikeli, Board Member

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Fidele Houssou, Membre

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Josephine Atangana, Secretary

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Fassil Gebeyehu (PhD), Board Member

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Ali Aii Shatu, Treasurer

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Mariama Sonko, Board Member

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Dr Chris Macoloo is the Regional Director for Africa at World Neighbors, an international development organization. Chris is based in Nairobi, Kenya, from where he leads World Neighbors’ development team in five African countries. Chris combines training and experience in academic work with international development work. He has a Ph.D. in Urban Geography and Planning from the University of Cambridge, UK and over 20 years of university teaching where he rose to the position of Associate Professor of the University of Nairobi, Kenya. He has over 15 years of international development work with international non-governmental organizations. In his current portfolio, Chris manages development programs that focus on sustainable agriculture, livelihoods, natural resources management and community and reproductive health. He provides strategic leadership to the Africa team with the aim of strengthening the capacities of local organizations to be in control of their development processes.

Jean-Paul SIKELI is a lawyer by training and holds a DESS in human rights and a DEA in public law, with an option in international law. His research has focused on the tension between human rights and modern biotechnology in the context of food security on the one hand, and the fight against terrorism in international law on the other. He is the author of several articles and a book on GMOs published by the European University Editions.

At the professional level, Jean-Paul SIKELI was a consultant for FAO on the occasion of a national project on seeds and a consultant at the Inades-Formation International. He has held the positions of Programme Officer and then Executive Secretary of the Coalition for the Protection of African Genetic Heritage (COPAGEN), a position he has held since August 2014.

COPAGEN is a grassroots movement that defends the rights of communities over genetic resources against various forms of threats, including GMOs and the phenomenon of land and natural resource grabbing. Jean-Paul SIKELI has led numerous advocacy initiatives to safeguard Africa’s genetic heritage.

Fifamè Fidèle Houssou-Gandonou is the Regional Coordinator of the Campaign on Food Security in the Association of Councils of Churches in West Africa, based in Lomé, Togo.

Fidele is a parish priest and a teacher at the Protestant University of West Africa. Born on 23 April 1974 in Cotonou, Benin, Fidele is married and mother of a boy. She studied theology in Porto-Novo (Benin), Yaoundé (Cameroon) and Paris (France).

She is a pastor of the Protestant Methodist Church of Benin (EPMB) and holds a doctorate in theology. The objective pursued in her research is to entrench feminism in Benin using ethical tools to demonstrate the validity of feminism. Her thesis was published in the edition Globethics under the title: The ethical foundations of feminism: a reflection from the African context. Fidele is a member of the Circle of Concerned African Theologians, and a trainer in Animation and Applied Bible Studies.

Josephine Atangana is based in Cameroon. She represents the Central Africa Sub-Regional Platform of Farmers’ Organizations – PROPAC – within AFSA. Founded in 2005, PROPAC gathers national platforms of 10 countries in the sub-region of Central Africa. PROPAC is a founding member of the Pan African Farmers Organisation (PAFO). PROPAC’s mission is to assist in positioning producers and their organizations as true entrepreneurs and partners in the development, implementation and evaluation of agricultural policies in Central Africa.

Fassil Gebeyehu Yelemtu (PhD) is the General Coordinator of the African Biodiversity Network (ABN).

ABN accompanies Africans in voicing their views on issues such as food and seed sovereignty, genetic engineering, agrofuels, biodiversity protection, extractive industries and the rights of small-holder farmers.

ABN focuses on indigenous knowledge, ecological agriculture and biodiversity related rights, policy and legislation. They pioneer culturally-centred approaches to social and ecological problems in Africa through sharing experiences, co-developing methodologies and creating a united African voice on the continent on these issues.

Ali Aii Shatu holds a National Advanced Diploma in Veterinary Nursing. In October 2000, she was recruited as MBOSCUDA's Women and Women's Program Coordinator and served in this position for six years and was elected to the MBOSCUDA Board of Directors as Chair of the Finance Sub-Committee in 2010, a position she still holds.

For her vast experience and excellence, Ali was elected to represent the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee (IPACC), a network of 150 indigenous peoples' organizations in 20 African AFSA countries. She was also the IPACC focal point on issues related to food and agriculture.

In November 2016, she was elected to serve the Alliance as Treasurer. A mother of three, two sons and a daughter, Ms. Ali has dedicated herself to the food sovereignty movement that promises her children a better future.

Mariama Sonko is a small-scale farmer, the treasurer of her AJAC LUKAAL grassroots association, the national coordinator in Senegal, and the chair of the international movement “We Are The Solution”. Mariama lives in Niaguiss, a village in southwestern Senegal.

In 1990 she joined the movement and since then she has been supporting local knowledge and farming practices. She has five children, and her own agricultural produce is the basis of her family’s diet. She fights for the human and socio-economic rights of women and youth. We are the Solution practices agroecology and family farming, encourages food sovereignty, farmer seeds, biodiversity and the demand for equitable access to resources.

‘We Are the Solution’ stemmed from a 2011 campaign for food sovereignty in Africa. In 2014, it became a rural women’s movement. The movement works for the promotion of farmer knowledge and practices, better agricultural governance by decision-makers and valorization of the production of African Family Farming (agroecology and farmer seeds), which have always preserved food sovereignty in Africa.