Save the Children UK appoints paediatrician as new chair

Dr Tsitsi Chawatama succeeds Charles Steel, who had been interim chair since the early departure of the previous incumbent in December 2018

Tsitsi Chawatama
Tsitsi Chawatama

Save the Children UK has appointed a consultant paediatrician as its chair. 

The charity said Dr Tsitsi Chawatama, who is based at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in London, took up the role this week. 

She succeeds Charles Steel, who has served as interim chair for the past two years, since the early departure of Peter Bennett-Jones. 

Bennett-Jones stepped down in December 2018 after making comments to staff that could be seen as being at odds with a review the charity was conducting into its working culture.

Save the Children UK had commissioned an independent review earlier that year after staff expressed concerns about how the charity had handled allegations of sexual misconduct against some of its senior executives, including its former chief executive, Justin Forsyth.

A subsequent evaluation at the end of 2019 concluded the charity had made good progress in improving its culture. 

Save the Children UK said today that Chawatama, who grew up in Zimbabwe and has worked in Ethiopia, was already involved with three other NGOs: as a trustee of Sentebale, which was co-founded by the Duke of Sussex to support vulnerable children in Lesotho and Botswana; as vice-chair of Afruca –Safeguarding Children, which promotes the protection of children from BAME communities in the UK, Europe and Africa; and as a trustee of UK-Med, which responds to health emergencies around the world. 

She has been appointed for an initial two years and can then be reappointed for up to two further three-year terms, for a maximum of eight years in total.

Chawatama said she was honoured to be joining the board of Save the Children UK. 

“I am a passionate advocate for children and excited to be part of the team working towards the important goals of protecting children, supporting families and ensuring that each child has a chance to achieve their potential and become whoever they want to be," she said. 

Kevin Watkins, the chief executive of Save the Children UK, said: “Tsitsi brings with her a wealth of experience in child health and a deep commitment to child rights. 

“Staff are looking forward to working with her to achieve our ambitious mission for children.”

Save the Children UK also said it had appointed two vice-chairs: Richard Winter, a partner at the professional services firm PwC, and Arabella Duffield, a former aid worker.  

Winter has been on the board for a year while Duffield has been a Save trustee since February 2017. They have both been appointed for an initial two years. 

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