Paul Watson Head of Programmes and Advocacy

Paul Watson joined Lepra at the start of December 2014 as Head of Programmes and Advocacy. Although new to Neglected Tropical Diseases, Lepra’s mission ‘to fight disease, poverty and prejudice’ is very much in line with the vision of all the organisations he has worked for to date.

In a career spanning more than 25 years Paul has managed development and emergency programmes for UNAIS, Oxfam GB, UNICEF, Christian Aid and Trócaire in a number of different countries, mostly in Africa - notably Tanzania, Burkina Faso, Somalia, Burundi, South Sudan, DRC, Kenya and Rwanda, but also including Sri Lanka and the Lebanon.

Paul holds a Master of Science Degree in Land and Water Management from Silsoe College, Cranfield Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Geography, from the University of Huddersfield. Alongside his studies, Paul was a founding member of Third World First at Huddersfield and General Secretary of Student Aid for Agricultural Development (SAFAD) at Silsoe College.

While working for Christian Aid, from 2003-07, Paul was an active Executive Member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Great Lakes and Genocide Prevention, a role that brought him into regular contact with UK government ministers and members of parliament. Over the same period Paul served as a Board Member of EurAC, a European network of INGO’s working in Central Africa, operating out of a Secretariat in Brussels.

More recently, while working as Trócaire’s Country Director in Rwanda, Paul was elected to represent the Network of International NGO’s (NINGO), where as Vice Chair and later Chair he engaged regularly with government ministers and ministries on a wide range of issues, from INGO Registration to Aid Effectiveness.

Originally from Yorkshire, England, Paul speaks French and Swahili. He and his wife Niketha have a young son and daughter.