Governing Council

Governing Council

The Governing Council is the highest decision-making body of the Foundation. It provides strategic oversight and direction to STAR Ghana Foundation as well as the STAR-Ghana programme, including guidance on how the Foundation engages on political issues and occupies political spaces, while managing sensitivities.

The Council supports the programme’s vision of an active citizenry and a vibrant, well-informed civil society engaging with government and the private sector to advance transformational change that leaves no-one behind. It ensures adherence to the highest standards of good governance, ethical practice and social responsibility.

The council supports inclusive and coordinated working, awareness amongst grant beneficiaries of the overarching strategic aim and objectives of the programme, with adequate feedback channels and learning from frontline experiences.

The Governing Council can be reached through:



Contact Person Designation Address
Dr. Esther Ofei-Aboagye Chair of Governing Council

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Akoto Ampaw Company Secretary This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Ibrahim-Tanko Amidu Programme Director and Ag. Chief Executive Officer This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Agnes Anima Governance Support Manager This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




The Governing Council comprises twelve members from diverse backgrounds appointed by the Subscribers of the Foundation. It meets four times each year (including a strategic away day). All Council members are offered induction, training and development as appropriate. Members serve in their individual capacities for a renewable tenure of four years.


Dr. Esther Ofei-Aboagye, Chair  

Dr Esther Oduraa Ofei-Aboagye is a social policy analyst and a teacher. She brings to the role a long and distinguished association with civil society and national development. She has been a member of the erstwhile Steering Committee of the STAR-Ghana Programme since 2013 and chaired the Steering Committee from January 2018 to December 2019. In addition, she has served as a member of the Board of ISODEC and Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights. She is also a member of WIEGO, a global network focused on securing livelihoods for the working poor, especially women, in the informal economy Until January 2015, she was the Director of the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS). Prior to ILGS, she was employed at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration. Dr Ofei-Aboagye has been extensively involved in national social policy formulation and decentralised development management. She has served on a number of public and civil society boards. She is a member of the University of Ghana Council and the Chairperson of the Council of the Presbyterian College of Education. She has also served as the Vice-Chairperson of the National Development Planning Commission and a member of the Ghana Tourism Authority Board. Dr Ofei-Aboagye has a doctorate degree in public policy from the University of Birmingham, UK, a master's in public administration from Carleton University, Canada, and a bachelor's degree in economics and sociology and a diploma in education, both from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana.

Charles Abugre - Vice Chair

Charles Abugre has been active in the civil society space in Ghana, at a pan-African level and globally for decades. Nationally he has catalyzed, contributed to or co-created several civil society organisations, networks, coalitions and campaigns, including ISODEC, The Third World Network, the Centre for Public Interest Law, The Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition; the Northern Ghana Network for Development; the Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights; Cedi Finance Foundation (a microfinance institution) and the National Coalition Against the Privatisation of Water, among others. At the global and pan-African levels, Mr Abugre has been active in the Tax Justice Network; the Trade Justice movement; Jubilee Debt Coalition, among others. Charles' work in the NGO space has also been hands-on managing rural development and humanitarian progammes in Ghana, in war zones in Uganda and Eritrea, managing research and advocacy work in the UK with Christian Aid and ACORD, in Malaysia with Third World Network. In terms of global economic policy research think-tanks, Mr Abugre is a founding member of the World Economics Association (WEA); the International Development Economics Associates (IDEAs) Network - both created to advance progressive and heterodox economics -and the Chronic Poverty research Network (ODI, UK). Charles taught Development Management at the Centre for Development Studies at Swansea University, UK, Summer courses on Gender and Macroeconomics at Utah University, and headed the United Nations Millennium Campaign as the Africa Regional Director, based at UNDP, Nairobi prior to returning to Ghana as CEO of SADA. He is currently a development consultant and Co-Convenor of the Foundation for Transformation of Marginal Areas (TAMA Foundation Universal). Charles is a Development Economist by training.

Professor Agnes Atia Apusigah

Professor Agnes Atia Apusigah is an Associate Professor at the University for Development Studies, Wa Campus and currently the Dean of the Faculty of Education, University for Development Studies, Tamale, Ghana. Her research concentrates on the political economy of African development, indigenous knowledge systems, gender studies and educational policy and reforms. Her recent publications include Bridging Worlds, Teacher Professionalism and Educational Quality in Ghana (with LA Alagbela) and Women’s Movement and Political Change in West Africa. Professor Apusigah is a social critic and a feminist activist with extensive experience working with civil society organisations and donor agencies. Her work with civil society has centred on research, policy development, capacity-building training, programming support and project evaluation. She currently chairs the governing board of Afrikids Ghana and is also a member of the Network for Women’s Rights (NETRIGHT) in Ghana. She holds a PhD. in cultural studies with a minor in curriculum studies from Queen’s University at Kingston, Canada.

Nana Asantewaa Afadzinu

Nana Afadzinu, Executive Director of the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI), has worked with and within the civil society sector for the past 19 years and is a passionate advocate for sustainable development in Africa with the full participation of an effective, efficient, influential and sustainable civil society. She is a lawyer by profession and has worked on areas of governance, human rights, philanthropy and capacity building with national, international, continental and regional organisations in Africa. They include the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, National Coalition on Domestic Violence Legislation in Ghana, Women’s Initiative for Self-Empowerment, the African Society of International Law, the Open Society Initiative for West Africa and IBIS West Africa. As Executive Director of WACSI, Nana worked with the team to ensure that the 3rd ISTR Africa Regional Network (ISTRAN) Conference was successful. She is currently a faculty member for the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre on courses related to governance, human rights, peace and security and gender. Nana has served as a member of a number of public service, corporate and non-profit boards including the Graphic Communications Group Limited (Ghana), the Ghana Legal Services Board, and Ghana News Agency Board. She is currently a member of the GPAK board, a subsidiary of the Graphic Communications Group and the Management Committee of the University of Ghana School of Law. Nana is also a member of the Advisory Councils of Water Aid Ghana, the Africa Civil Society Platform, the Nexus Fund and the SDG Philanthropy Forum in Ghana.

Francis Asong

Francis Asong is Executive Director of VOICE GHANA, a disability rights, advocacy and capacity building organisation based in Ho, Volta Region. He has been involved in a range of management tasks for the past 15 years, and has a long-standing interest in social inclusion agenda, particularly for people with disabilities. Francis is involved in several grassroots social actions. He is the Coordinator of the Governance Issues Forum Network and Local Accountability Network in the Volta Region, which were spearheaded by the Institute for Democratic Governance and Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition respectively. He is also a steering committee member of the Local Governance Network, a board member of the Village Exchange Ghana, and a zonal activism coordinator for Amnesty International – Ghana Section. He holds an MBA in governance and leadership from the Australian Institute of Business and Chartered Business Administrator certification from the Chartered Association of Business Administrators, Canada. He is also a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, UK, and the Institute of Leadership and Management, UK, a full member of the Chartered Institute of Management and Leadership, USA, and a PhD. in management student at LIGS University, USA. He was the 2015 Continental Award Winner of the CEO Global Titans – Nations Building Awards in recognition of his contribution to the welfare and civil society sector in Africa.

Hajara Mohammed Rufai

Hajara Mohammed Rufai is a youth development practitioner with over 12 years practical experience in youth leadership training and capacity-building programming and implementation, having worked with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung – Ghana Office in the design and implementation of several capacity building programmes for various partner institutions such as parliament, electoral commission, political parties, youth and women’s groups. Hajara Mohammed is currently working as a managing partner of Young Peace Brigades – Ghana, a local affiliate of United Network of Young Peace-Builders based in The Hague, Netherlands, where she coordinates training and development. Hajara is a member of the National Commission for Civic Education with responsibility for three regions and serves on a number of sub-committees of the commission. She also serves the Muslim community as a board member of the Ghana Muslim Achiever’s Awards, Vice-Chairperson for the Youth and Education Committee of the Coalition of Muslim Organisations in Ghana as well as being the Convener for Network of Professional Muslim Women-Ghana. Hajara Mohammed holds a BA in political science & religions and MPhil in the study of religions from the University of Ghana and a master’s in public sector management from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration. Hajara has also trained as a certified ECOWAS/KAIPTC election observer with the Kofi Annan Peacekeeping Training Centre.

Professor Audrey Gadzekpo

Audrey Gadzekpo PhD. is an Associate Professor at the Department of Communication Studies and the Dean of the School of Information and Communication Studies, University of Ghana. She has more than 24 years of experience in teaching, research and advocacy on media, gender and governance, and more than 28 years practical experience as a journalist, working variously as a reporter, editor, contributor, columnist, talk show host, socio-political commentator, and magazine publisher/editor. Professor Gadzekpo has conducted numerous training sessions on media and communications for civil society, public and private sector organisations, and serves on a number of local and international boards, including CDD-Ghana, PANOS-West Africa and West Africa Democracy Radio. She is also a member of the National Media Commission. She holds a BA in English and history from the University of Ghana, and MA in communications from Brigham Young University, USA, and a PhD in African studies from the University of Birmingham, UK.

Professor Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu

Professor Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu is a law professor at the, University of Ghana and currently the President of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences. Prof. Mensa-Bonsu is an alumnus of Wesley Girls High School, University of Ghana and Yale University. In 2003 Prof Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu was elected as a fellow into the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is also member of the United Nations Independent Panel on Peace Operations. Professor Mensa-Bonsu has served in a number of high-level national and international assignments. She served on the Legal Committee of the Ghana National Commission on Children; represented Ghana on the Inter-governmental Meeting of Experts on the Draft African Charter on the Rights of the Child, served as member of the President’s Committee on the Review of Educational Reforms, the National Reconciliation Commission and the Ghana Police Council and recently the President’s Commission of Inquiry into Ayawaso West by-election violence. Prof Mensa-Bonsu served in various capacities internationally among which are the ECOWAS nominee on the International Technical Advisory Committee for the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Vice-Chairperson of the ECOWAS Working Group on the Harmonisation of Business Laws on non-OHADA States, member of the OAU’s Committee of Eminent Jurists on the Lockerbie Case and the AU’s Committee of Eminent Jurists on the Hissene Habre Case. A highpoint was her appointment as the Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Rule of Law (DSRSG) in the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) with the rank of Assistant-Secretary-General in 2007.

Abdul-Nasir Yusif

Abdul-Nasir Yusif brings on board over eighteen years of experience from the banking and financial services industry. He has extensive skills and experience in Banking, Market Risk, Liquidity Risk, Credit Risks, Financial Modeling, Portfolio Management, and Financial Risk Management in general. Mr Yusif is a Chartered Accountant and holds the ‘International Certificate in Banking Risk and Regulation (ICBRR)’ certification from the ‘Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) ’He also holds an Executive MBA and Bsc. Administration (Accounting option) from the University of Ghana, Legon. In addition, Mr. Yusif is an active member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Ghana (ICAG), the Ghana branch of the Financial Markets Association and the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP), U.S.A. Prior to starting his accountancy and auditing practice from the beginning of year 2018, he worked extensively in the banking industry for seventeen years in diverse strategic and critical roles including as Regional Head, Market and Liquidity Risk management (for Anglophone West Africa, ECOBank Group).  He also provided market and liquidity risk oversight over Ghana, Liberia, Sierra-Leone, Guinea Conakry, and Gambia from May 2012 to December 2017. Yusif also served as the Country Treasurer of Ecobank Rwanda from February 2008 to March 2012 and as Head of Money Markets, Ecobank Ghana from February 2006 to September 2007. During his time at Ecobank Group, he was involved in and led many strategic projects, the last being the roll out of an Asset & Liability Management (SunGard) software, in Ecobank Ghana in November 2017. He also participated in the Audit Risk Review-ARR of Ecobank Cote d’ivoire (2015) and Ecobank Liberia (2017). He is currently the internal auditor for the Parent-Teacher Association for Grace Academy, a Private first cycle school in Accra.

Hamdiya Ismaila

Hamdiya Ismaila has over 18 years’ experience in SME Finance and Investment with over 10 years’ experience in Private Equity and Venture Capital/ (PE/VC) Fund Structuring. She has supported PE/VC Ecosystem development through education and influencing policy and regulatory outcomes in the industry in Ghana. She is currently the General Manager of Venture Capital Trust Fund (VCTF), where she oversees the investments and general operations of the Trust. She reviews the Private Placement Memoranda (PPM) of prospective Fund Managers, conducts due diligence and presents to the Trustees of the Fund recommendations for investments. The Trust Fund has invested in six local Funds through which the PE/VC industry has been spurred in Ghana. Prior to joining VCTF, she worked with the Ministry of Private Sector Development, where she led in the provision of Business Advisory Services, financing arrangements, enterprise support services, skills development, entrepreneurship training, and promotional workshops for MSMEs. Ms. Ismaila Holds an Executive Certificate in Private Equity and Venture Capital from Harvard Business School, a Master of Public Administration from Columbia University in the City of New York, BBA (Honours) from Monroe College and an LLB degree from the GIMPA Law School.

Professor Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi  

Professor Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi is a former professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Ghana, Legon, he has held faculty positions at universities in the United States, including the School of International Service of the American University (Washington, D.C.), and fellowships at the Center for Democracy, Rule of Law and Development (Stanford University), the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the U.S. Institute of Peace, and the International Forum for Democratic Development (all in Washington, D.C.). He is a fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Democracy and the Advisory Council of the Ibrahim Index of African Governance (London), among others. He received his doctorate from the University of California (Davis) and undergraduate degree from the University of Ghana, Legon. Professor Gyimah-Boadi's articles have appeared in the Journal of Democracy and UNU-WIDER, among others. He is co-author of Public Opinion, Democracy, and Market Reform in Africa (Cambridge University Press, 2005). He has received a myriad of awards, including the 2017 Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for Peace and Social Justice for advancing democracy, good governance, and economic opportunity. He is the immediate past Executive Director of the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana)


Committees of the Governing Council

There are six main committees on the Governing Council. The work of these committees is to give focus to all areas of the Foundation’s activities and make recommendations to the Governing Council to enable its decision-making processes.


S/N Committee Key Mandate Membership
1 Audit & Finance Support the GC in ensuring the sound financial management of the Foundation, in line with best practice. This includes:
  • monitoring and advising the GC on the effective financial management of the Foundation, including audit and management of financial risk.
  • Advise the GC on the appointment of auditors and review of the audit report for approval by the AGM, and by DFID and the FC.
  • Abdul-Nasir Yusif
  • Hamdiya Ismaila
  • Prof. Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu
  • Dr. Deodat Adenutsi
  • Peter Yaro
  • A representative from the Funders Committee
2 Grants & Projects

Approval of grant applications; ensuring rigour and transparency of grants processes; and advising on thematic areas and issues for grant calls;

Advise/review of projects the Foundation will be implementing directly. Includes criteria for such projects and strategic oversight during implementation.

  • Prof Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, Chair
  • Ernest Okyere, Vice Chair
  • Prof Agnes Apusigah
  • Dr Sulemana Abdulai
  • Dr Steve Manteaw
3 Gender & Social Inclusion

Provide guidance and strategic support for the mainstreaming of GESI in all of the Foundation’s work. This includes:

  • Providing the space for feedback and other interactions with stakeholders. 
  • Serving as a critical friend and sounding board in the development and implementation of the Foundation’s GESI strategy. 
  • Prof Agnes Apusigah
  • Francis Asong
  • Hajara Rufai Mohammed
  • Peter Yaro
  • Dr Rose Mensa-Kutin
4 Programme Quality

Provide strategic programming guidance to the PMT, particularly around ensuring focus on results and integrated programming;

Support the PMT package and communicate programming results; and

Serve as a critical friend and sounding board on programme development, implementation and monitoring

  • Prof Audrey Gadzekpo, Chair
  • Charles Abugre, Vice Chair
  • Nana Asantewa Afadzinu
  • Ernest Okyere
  • Prof E. Gyimah-Boadi
  • Mohammed Awal Alhassan
  • Franklin Cudjoe
5 Fundraising/Financing Work with the Consortium partners and PMT to develop the Foundation’s fundraising and financing strategy; and Provide strategic guidance in the implementation of the strategy
  • Nana Asantewa Afadzinu, Chair
  • Hamdiya Ismaila, Vice Chair
  • Hajara Mohammed
  • Prof E. Gyimah-Boadi
  • Audrey Gadzekpo
  • Rev. Opuni-Frimpong
  • Ethel Cofie
6 Transitional Committee Work with Christian Aid, DFID and Funders' Committee on the transitional plan, including finalisation of the strategic plan, staff secondments, etc  
  • Dr. Esther Ofei-Aboagye, Chair
  • Charles Abugre, Vice Chair
  • Francis Asong
  • Abdul-Nasir Yusif
  • Dr. Ellen Hagan
  • Akoto Ampaw
  • A Representative of the Funders Committee

With Thanks to our Funders

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