We are thrilled to welcome our new CEO Ruby Glasspool to the Bread and Water For Africa family. Ruby brings with her over ten years’ experience of working in humanitarian aid charities both grassroots and international including Oxfam on the Accountability team. A previous career included several years working in the television sector where she witnessed humanitarian crisis’ through the production management of Unreported World for Channel 4. Combined with many years of travelling extensively throughout the world including across Africa, in many ways Ruby feels that stepping into this role is what everything leading up until now was preparing her for; as she explains…

A job that feels like home

Having already worked with the BWAUK family for almost a year with the previous CEO Sylvia Costantini, I am in the fortunate position of having already got to know our partners and projects personally. Like so many humanitarian leaders out there, the desire to hop on a plane and get stuck in with helping our communities is strong. But where I know I can do my best work is though operational management, communications and leadership. It is what I have always been called to do and where I know I can add most value to the lives of others. Looking back over all the things I’ve done in my life, they were all in a sense the best preparation for this role I could ask for, and is what makes working with BWAUK feel like a second home to me.

Preparing to lead BWAUK for the benefit of our partners

Photo of Kamili Team
Half a decade in production management for the television industry is what perhaps gave me my backbone for major project management, and my early training in being a leader of projects and teams. The next decade of my working life for humanitarian causes gave me the experience in applying those management and leadership skills in a setting that was for the greater good of all, and is what opened my heart to the bigger problems of the world.

I have been fortunate to work across a wide range of areas within charity including homelessness, environmentalism, arts improving lives and international aid. I hope to bring the very best parts of all those roles into this one, leading BWAUK in a way that brings about the greatest change in the most direct ways possible. I am a true believer in teamwork and inclusivity and to me the efforts and personal drive of the staff, our project partners and their communities and our generous donors combined is what will bring about the greatest results in improving lives.

"I have always seen BWAUK as a charity with a big heart, a whole lot of humility who work in close contact with their African partners and value mutual respect, and I shall do my very best in upholding those values."

The challenges ahead

This job is not about me, it is about the lives of the people we work with in Africa and my only task is to steer and lead the charity into the model that best fits their needs. I am very aware of the challenges that we, and indeed all small charities now face in a post Covid-19 world and it is going to take monumental effort to get through it. As the months and years go by my hope is that BWAUK will foster an even deeper trust from our supporters and our partners. With the incredible work that BWAUK has already done since 2014, there is much to look forward to as we build on those successes and robust program models. We too often see beneficiaries in Africa as people in ‘need’, and forget that they have a great deal to teach us about how to create a better world, and my dream is that BWAUK will become a leading voice in effective, sustainable and lasting aid programs that honor the true wisdom that our family in Africa holds.