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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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New chief executive announced at leading aid charity


Challenges will be "numerous"

One of the country’s biggest international development charities has announced its new boss.

Halima Begum is currently chief executive of the race equality charity Runnymede Trust and will join Action Aid UK in July.

Her previous incumbent, Frances Longley, left the role after 14 months at the helm in 2022.

Since then Action Aid has been operating without a permanent chief executive.

Begum’s appointment comes after an internal report showed some staff felt racially marginalised at the aid group.

The report was undertaken and focused on events before Longley took up her post.

Last year the organisation had an income of around £50m.

Begum has held senior positions in the Department for International Development, the British Council, and LEGO Foundation.  

Begum said: “It is a great privilege to be re-joining the wonderful team at ActionAid, an organisation that works on exceptionally important causes and that has always remained close to my heart. 

“Right now, there is such enormous complexity in the world, and an overwhelming number of crises affecting some of the most vulnerable members of our global community.

“While the challenges across the sector are numerous, significant and immediate, not least in terms of charitable funding during the cost-of-living crisis, this is a pivotal moment for me to be returning to ActionAid.” 

Kendi Guantai, the charity’s chair, said: “We are thrilled that Halima has chosen to return to ActionAid and lead us forward. 

“Her vast experience in challenging and overcoming inequality, combined with her strong grounding in and passion for humanitarian response, human rights and gender equality, will be invaluable in helping ActionAid realise its vision of creating a just, equitable and sustainable world in which every person enjoys the right to a life of dignity, freedom from poverty and all forms of oppression.”



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