(Top L-R: Lucy Heady – Trustee, Iain Walker – Board Chair, Erinna Dia – Trustee. Bottom L-R: Nathan Koblintz – Trustee, Tom Vandenbosch – Trustee)

Sabre Education is thrilled to announce the appointment of a new Chair and four additional Trustees to its Board in an exciting new chapter for the international NGO.

Former British High Commissioner to Ghana, Iain Walker, has joined Sabre Education as Chair of Sabre’s International Board of Trustees, alongside new Trustees Erinna Dia (UNICEF), Lucy Heady (ESSA – Education Sub Saharan Africa), Nathan Koblintz (Porticus), and Tom Vandenbosch (VVOB – education for development). These new board members bring a wealth of international development and early education skills and experience to Sabre at this significant next stage of strategic growth and scaling both inside and outside Ghana.

Outgoing Board Chair, David Main, has served on the Board for 12 years and made the following statement:

As I step down as Board Chair of Sabre Education and pass the baton to Iain Walker, I look forward to Sabre Education’s ever-increasing impact in scaling quality early childhood education (ECE) across Ghana and the Global South.

“We have evolved from a small charity building a kindergarten school each year to becoming an intensely mission-driven organisation with a committed team, Trustees, funders and most importantly Ghanaian Ministry of Education focused on delivering nationwide quality ECE. Our mission is to deliver the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4.2 – quality early years education for all – in Ghana and beyond.

Over our last few years, we have developed and evolved Sabre from a founder-led organisation to an international NGO run by a leadership team and Board of Trustees fit for our ambitions going forward. Thank you to our leadership, staff, and our past and current Trustees for their tireless work, commitment, belief and resilience required for this successful journey.

Looking forward I hope to see other countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, be inspired by what has been achieved in Ghana, and commit to replicating this success. It is easy to overlook both the importance of ECE and the fact that it provides the best return on investment of any years of education in a young person’s life. I believe that Sabre can play an important role in delivering quality ECE in multiple countries over the coming years.”

Incoming Board Chair Iain Walker currently works as Director of Industry & Engagement at GS1 UK and brings to Sabre over 25 years’ experience in diplomacy, policy, financial management and advocacy. He served at the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office for over 12 years, not only as the High Commissioner to Ghana, but also as British Ambassador to Benin, Burkina Faso and Togo, as well as Director of Finance and Strategy, and most recently as Director, Americas. Iain has a track record of high-level leadership and strategic planning in both the public and private sectors, and is highly committed to social impact and philanthropy.

Reacting to his appointment as Sabre’s new Board Chair, Iain Walker said:
“It is a privilege to be joining Sabre Education at such a pivotal time. I have been impressed by Sabre’s impact in Ghana and its development from a small organisation building sustainable schools in the Central Region, to becoming a leading voice for quality early childhood education and national scaling of play-based learning in Ghana. I’m looking forward to working closely with the talented Sabre Education team and my fellow Trustees to build on this success and to drive sustainable, positive change in communities across Ghana and elsewhere in Africa.”

Susan Place-Everhart, CEO of Sabre Education, added: “The appointment of Iain Walker as our next Board Chair and the addition of these accomplished new Trustees continues the evolution of the Board of Trustees to match our needs going forward. Iain brings with him strong leadership skills and a wealth of experience in the international sector and specifically in Ghana. Our new Trustees bring deep global expertise in early childhood education, programme management, advocacy and policy, global funding priorities, and research and evidence generation. These experienced individuals will provide vital insight and guidance to Sabre Education as we grow and scale our impact in early childhood education over the coming years.”

Sabre Education would like to express deep and sincere gratitude to outgoing Board Chair David Main for his many years of dedicated leadership. David has overseen a period of unprecedented growth at Sabre Education since his appointment as a Trustee in 2011 and during his tenure as Chair beginning in 2017. He has contributed invaluable commitment, insight and strategic guidance to our organisation’s growth and development. We are deeply indebted to him.

Tony Dogbe, Sabre’s Executive Director in Ghana commented:
“David’s impact at Sabre has been tremendous. He has overseen the formative years of the organisation, and seen us develop into the high performing NGO we are today. David’s strong financial acumen and unwavering emphasis on strategy has made an enormous difference to Sabre’s programming, performance and development. Always interested in experiencing our work in schools personally, David travelled to Ghana on multiple occasions and offered strategic guidance on strong management practices to the team.”

About Sabre Education’s new trustees:

Erinna Dia is the Associate Director of Early Childhood Development at UNICEF in New York. Erinna is also a member of the Early Childhood Development Action Network (ECDAN)’s Steering Committee. Prior to joining UNICEF, she held technical positions at the African Development Bank where she worked with Regional Member Countries on generating growth through improved access to education, skills, technology and employment. Erinna has a successful track record in programme design and management, policy dialogue and negotiation around the world. Erinna is passionate about children’s education and development and believes in changing the world one person at a time. She brings with her more than 20 years of experience in the provision of strategic guidance at global and country levels from her current capacity as global lead at UNICEF for Early Childhood Development and past positions as Chief of Education in West and Central Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. Erinna holds a doctoral degree from New York University and an MBA from Lehigh University.

Nathan Koblintz is the Portfolio Manager for Early Childhood Development at Porticus, a philanthropic organisation, where he has worked since 2009. He has also served as Expert Panellist and Expert Reviewer for other funders’ investment portfolios. He is a passionate believer in the fundamental role of whole child development for young children, with his work at Porticus focussing on amplifying the importance of play in the global education and early childhood sectors. Nathan holds Masters’ degrees in Comparative Social Policy and in Community Development from Oxford and Cambridge Universities. He previously worked as Programme Manager for Porticus’s work in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India, and preceding this was employed as a Researcher at the Las Casas Institute in Oxford. Nathan currently resides in Sri Lanka.

Lucy Heady is the CEO of Education Sub Saharan Africa (ESSA), a charity working to connect evidence and data on education from Africa with those who have the power to change the system, including education leaders, policy-makers and young people themselves. Lucy has over 15 years’ experience working to improve the generation and use of evidence in education, both in the UK and internationally. She has previously worked as an Evaluator at New Philanthropy Capital and Building Markets, and as Evidence, Measurement and Evaluation Manager in the Education Team at Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF). At CIFF, Lucy specifically focussed on the gap in knowledge and research in early childhood development, which she addressed through literature reviews and working with the World Bank to create a network that integrates best practice into programme design and building local capacity.

Tom Vandenbosch is Global Director of Programmes at VVOB – education for development, an education non-profit working in strategic partnership with governments around the world on the professional development of teachers and school leaders. Tom is highly skilled in programme development and has over 20 years’ experience working in 22 countries across 4 continents, including 9 years based in Kenya. Tom has been a Member of the Steering Committee of the International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030, hosted by UNESCO, and holds an appointment to the International Technical Advisory Board of the Global Coach Program of the World Bank, helping countries improve in-service teacher professional development programmes and systems to accelerate learning. He also serves on the Steering Committee of Educaid.be, the Belgian platform for education and development actors.

For more information please contact Adrian Emanuel, Communications Manager at Sabre Education: adrian.emanuel@sabre.education