Our staff

Our Staff

Vision Aid Overseas' head office is based in Crawley, West Sussex. We also work with Programme Directors and staff around the world.

Our Staff Biographies


Nigel Wilson - Executive Director

Nigel Wilson

Originally training as a teacher working in both the UK and Kenya, Nigel then spent 16 years in the British Army in a variety of roles including that of a training advisor and developing the doctrine for United Nations Operations. 

Leaving the Army in 2000, he has worked extensively in the humanitarian system, both for the British Government and for various INGOs.  He has lived and worked across Africa including extended periods of time in the Sudan, Sierra Leone, Somalia, East Africa, Chad, South Africa and Angola.

He was the interim CEO of the charity War Child and immediately before joining Vision Aid Overseas, spent six months working with Save the Children as their Director of Planning.

In his spare time Nigel climbs mountains, generally spends time outdoors and nurses his strained muscles!

Michel Agbodjinou - Finance Director  


Michel joined Vision Aid Overseas in May 2014.

He is a qualified Chartered Accountant with an extensive experience in the non for profit sector, helping organisations to improve their internal effectiveness so that they can successfully achieve their missions. Most recently, he served 6 years at Shelter the Homelessness charity and prior to that, previous appointments included the Salvation Army, Southwark Council and the Fostering Network.

Michel is passionate in international development and the prevention of blindness issues in particular. 

Anne Buglass - Programme Manager

Anne Buglass

After graduating with a degree in Third World Development and Spanish, Anne spent two years working and volunteering at various places in Central America.  On her return to the UK she worked as a travel consultant for 4 years before joining Projects Abroad, an international volunteering organisation. After completing overseas posts in both Ghana and Fiji, she returned to the UK as their Deputy Director of Operations where she stayed until joining Vision Aid Overseas in September 2015 as Programme Manager. 

Interests include growing veggies in the garden, running, and all the joys that come with living by the sea.

Michele de Vaal - Assignment Advisor 


Michele has been a member of Vision Aid Overseas since 1998 and has worked in Ethiopia both as a volunteer and as staff. Michele's passion for Ethiopia has led her to build up an extensive knowledge of the country, its history and customs.

Michele works for an independent optical practice in North Yorkshire and is also kept busy helping to look after a large flock of sheep at home in Wensleydale! Any spare time she has is spent with her family, and she enjoys cooking and baking for her three grown-up children and two grand daughters. Michele also has a sheepdog and the two of them often spend quality time together walking in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales.

Karen Edwards  - Programme Director (Zambia)

Karen Edwards

Karen joined Vision Aid Overseas in 2008 as Project Manager, but for the last two years has been based in Lusaka as the director of our programme of activities there.

A qualified occupational therapist, Karen has a Masters degree in Community Disability Studies for Developing Countries from University College London and has lived and worked in several countries as a disability researcher  and programme manager for several NGOs including Namibia, Sri Lanka, Uganda and Russia. Her work with Vision Aid Overseas combines her interests in disability prevention, sustainable development and community eye health services and of her passionate love of Africa.

Karen’s leisure pursuits include  immersing herself in as much of Zambia and its culture as she can, attempting to improve her rather poor French and an obsession with thriller reading.


Andy Holliday - Director of Fundraising & Communications

Andy Holliday

Andy joined Vision Aid Overseas in August 2015 having spent the previous seven years with Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, latterly, as Head of Marketing Membership & Fundraising. Previously, Andy had worked in the commercial sector for several years. Before then he spent over eight years as Head of Regional Fundraising with Development Charity ActionAid and also working as a Fundraising Consultant with a number of national and international charities. Assignments overseas included Trips to Sudan, India and Nepal.


 Trudy Moody - Finance and Admin Officer

Trudy Moody

Trudy joined Vision Aid Overseas in September 2009 and works within the Finance & Administration team. Trudy enjoys speaking to and helping our members and fundraisers.

In her spare time, Trudy is a busy mum of two teenage girls and is currently renovating her house which seems to be taking a very long time!

  Carrie- Anne Caiger- Finance Officer

 Finance Officer

Carrie joined Vision Aid Overseas in May 2016 within the Finance department.

Carrie completed her AAT diploma in 2014, before travelling to New Zealand to work. During her time in New Zealand Carrie worked in the accounts department for the Earthquake Commission to support with the 2010/11 Canterbury Earthquakes rebuild.

Outside of work Carrie volunteers for The National Trust helping with the events held at Sheffield Park. Her interests also include photography, hiking, & travelling.

Sarah Namusobya - Fundraising Officer

Sarah Namusobya

Sarah graduated with a degree in Sociology and Media studies from Brunel University in 2014. During her degree, she spent six weeks volunteering with the charity First Aid Africa in Tanzania and has also worked as a fundraising intern at the Tropical Health and Educations Trust since graduating. Sarah is incredibly passionate about International Development and has always wanted to work in this field. In her spare time Sarah enjoys running, sightseeing and watching movies.

 Howard Payne - Warehouse Manager

Howard Payne

Howard is our Warehouse, Freight and Equipment Manager and is responsible for overseeing our spectacle recycling process as well as sending out equipment which is needed by our Vision Centre teams.  Each time a volunteer project goes to one of our partner countries, Howard prepares all the optical testing equipment and documents and then cleans and tests all equipment once the volunteers return.

During his time with Vision Aid Overseas, Howard has helped set up two Vision Centres in Ethiopia and has also been on a project to Burkina Faso.

Outside of work Howard is the treasurer of the Crawley Gateway Club, a charity in aid of people with special needs and learning difficulties, and he also enjoys a weekly swim and playing snooker in the Crawley snooker league.

Karen Sparrow - Education, Training Director and Programme Director (Botswana)

karen sparrow

Karen graduated from the University of Wales, Cardiff and started her career as a high street optometrist, moving into practice management and regional training as well as pre-registration optometrist supervision. In 2008 she joined the Association of Optometrists (AOP) as Education Adviser where she now supports and mentors students and optometrists across the UK.

Karen has volunteered for Vision Aid Overseas since 2007, fundraising and leading assignments to Africa to provide training and eye care in line with Vision 2020. She has recently accepted the role of Education and Training Director with Vision Aid Overseas and is leading our programme in Botswana.

Judith Trigg – Professional Volunteer Co-ordinator

Judith Trigg

Judith co-ordinates the assignment preparations and post travel administration for our Professional Volunteers going overseas, including the training days that volunteers and team leaders attend prior to being selected for an assignment.

 Prior to joining VAO, Judith was employed in the voluntary sector and is passionate about the benefits and outcomes of volunteering, especially for sustainable projects.

Outside work, Judith enjoys family life, volunteering and travelling. As a child she regularly visited Zimbabwe and Zambia

Alfred Yambasu  - Programme Director (Sierra Leone)



Alfred Yambasu is an experienced public Health specialist and program manager. He was a health program manager for GOAL Sierra Leone for 3 years but now working with Vision Aid Overseas (An International Non-Governmental Organisation) as Program manager Eastern province, Sierra Leone. He has experience of the Sierra Leonean Health systems and has worked in both Preventive and curative health institutions.

Alfred has experience working with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and National and International non-governmental organisations such as Vision Aid Overseas, GOAL Sierra Leone, St Luke society, the shepherds Hospice and Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF-Belgium). He has managed funding from various funding agencies including Unicef, EU and USAID successfully

Giulio Venturi - Vision Centre Supply Manager

Giulio Venturi

After many years in manufacturing optics, Giulio joined Vision Aid Overseas in August 2011 in a newly created role of Vision Centre Supply Manager who oversees the supply of frames, lenses, optical equipment and consumables to the charity's Vision Centres overseas in our partner countries. Working closely with the Programme Directors he also collates the Management Statistics for the office.

Outside of work, Giulio likes cycling (he has completed the Isle of Wight 100km Randonee twice), growing unusual vegetables, the sea (despite not being able to swim!), cooking and eating spicy food and most sports (spectating and participating – alas age restrictions now apply). 




Belachew Paulos- Country Representative (Ethiopia)

Balechew Paulo

Belachew Paulos joined Vision Aid Overseas in April 2016. He was born in a small town in Ethiopia called Yirgacheffe, 395 km away from the capital city, Addis Ababa.

In 2012, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Optometry from Hawassa University. Since graduating, he has been working as an Optometrist at Zewditu memorial hospital in Addis Ababa.

In his spare time Belachew is a committee member of the Ethiopian Optometric Association and volunteers for them as a Secretary.

Demi Rennie- Fundraising Officer

Demi joined Vision Aid Overseas in June 2016 within the Fundraising and Communications team. Demi really enjoys working on the social media sites for Vision Aid Overseas.

Demi previously worked in the Fundraising team at the RSPCA, focusing mainly on donor information and data.

Outside of work Demi can be found going for long country walks with her two beautiful dogs. Her interests also include running, baking & planning her wedding. 

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