Introducing Alex Kyerematen, Regional Program Director for Africa

October 18, 2018 | GFC & Partner Updates

Coming to GFC from Geneva Global, our new Regional Program Director for Africa agreed to share a more intimate look at his background, and why he believes in GFC’s mission.

Photo taken by Philip Gabriel.
Alex, can you tell us a little bit about your childhood and where you’re from?

I was born and raised in Ghana. Fun fact—Ghana is geographically closer to the “center” of the Earth (in terms of geographical coordinates) than any other country. I’ve lived most of my time in Accra, the capital, but also visited all over the country for work and personal trips.

In the early years, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents since my parents traveled a lot for work. This meant a lot of pampering so I’m a bit of a grandma’s boy. Some people describe me as an old soul and I attribute that to influences of my grandparents.

What’s your favorite childhood memory?

I have two. First, during my holidays, I would visit another grandmother (also a teacher) who lived in Kumasi. There I learnt a lot about my culture. Second, planes have always fascinated me. I got the opportunity to travel quite a bit when I was young because my mother worked for an airline. I loved visiting the pilot before a flight and was always intrigued by the lights on the panels and how the different buttons and levers made the plane fly.

What drew you to this line of work, and to GFC?

My family has a history of public service and advocacy, so I was brought up understanding the importance of doing work that contributes towards the upliftment of others. Although I was successful in banking and consulting, I always felt something missing. I found that fulfillment when I transitioned full time to philanthropy.

I love GFC’s model and share the values of the organization. The goal to strengthen capacity and scale impact appeals greatly to me.

What do you think will be the most challenging part of your job? What will be the most satisfying?

It’s always difficult to make a case to funders about what issues and interventions need funding. I anticipate it will take some extra time to bring existing and prospective funders around to funding less traditional interventions and partners.

Getting to the field will be the most satisfying part of my work. It’s most gratifying connecting with the partners in their communities and seeing the impact that we supported them to create. Being in the field also allows me to identify our areas for improvement so we can continue to be relevant and beneficial to our partners.

Why do you believe GFC’s work is important?

We are in the era of the Sustainable Development Goals, where we accept that every actor is crucial to eradicating poverty and achieving prosperity for all. GFC works with an often-disregarded actor in development: nascent, community-based organizations. The organizations GFC typically supports play a crucial role in this development puzzle. They are closest to the issues in the communities and so understand it better and have the best solutions. Also, long after funding streams dry up, they continue to be there—working to create impact.

GFC offers its partners the freedom and flexibility to continue to be who they are and, in many cases, scale their impact due to their increased capacity. Additionally, our focus on children and youth is critical. Africa, for instance, is reported to have the youngest populations in the world with 226 million children aged 15 – 24 years. According to most estimates the continent’s youth population is expected to at least double within the next half century. If we do our jobs, we would be preparing a whole generation on the continent to live better lives free from poverty, discrimination and violence.

#FUNFACTS ABOUT ALEX

What was your favorite toy growing up?

Remote Control Race Car 🚙

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Pilot. ✈ I’m starting lessons soon, so I might just achieve my dream!

What’s the weirdest thing you ever ate?

Crocodile/Eel 🐊

Do you have a pet peeve? 

Since I travel a lot, I’ll give you a travel one: people who don’t know how to get through airport security efficiently.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

I toy between the ability to speak every language in the world and the ability to fly.

 

Global Fund for Children (GFC) UK Trust, created in 2006, is a UK registered charity (UK charity number 1119544). We work to generate vital income, create new fundraising opportunities, and raise awareness of the invaluable work of GFC’s grassroots grantees. Our aim is to extend the reach of GFC in the United Kingdom, Europe, and beyond.

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uktrust@globalfundforchildren.org