Our people are our biggest asset and come from a diverse range of backgrounds. What they all share is a common desire to use their skills and experience to ensure that every child has the chance to grow and prosper through access to quality education.
Vikas Pota, Chief Executive
Vikas became the Varkey Foundation’s first CEO in September 2010 and currently serves on a number of global education panels. These include the Girls & Female education panel; the Teachers Task Force; and the Global Alliance of Corporate Partners for Education – all for UNESCO. He also leads the development of the Global Education and Skills Forum and was selected as a ‘Young Global Leader’ by the World Economic Forum in 2013.
Previously, Vikas was the Managing Director of a corporate affairs & communications consultancy business in London. Prior to this, he established the directorate of an independent parliamentary group in the British Houses of Parliament. He also serves as Group Director of Corporate Affairs at GEMS Education.
Desmond Bermingham, Director of Programmes
Desmond has over 20 years of experience in education and international development and has held education leadership positions with the World Bank, Save the Children, the Department for International Development (DFID) and, most recently, Sheikha Moza of Qatar’s Education Above All Foundation.
Desmond has a degree in English Literature from St John’s College, Oxford; master’s degrees in education and global development management; and a doctorate in international education policy. Desmond has written several articles and papers on international education, development and financing including a policy brief on post 2015 goals for UNESCO National Commission in the UK and a paper (with Nicholas Burnett) on innovative financing for education. He was formerly a teacher in secondary schools in inner city London. Desmond divides his team between homes in London and Georgetown, Guyana.
Rebecca Warbrick, Senior Marketing Manager
Rebecca leads all marketing across the Foundation to shine a spotlight on the importance of teachers, as well as continuing overall management of the Foundation’s Advocacy work including the Global Teacher Prize, the annual $1million Award to an exceptional teacher.
Rebecca has 15 years of experience in marketing and prior to her role at the Foundation, worked in the charity and medical sectors. She has a degree in Business and Marketing.
Leonora Dowley, Country Director, Ghana
Leonora is the Country Director for the Varkey Foundation’s programmes in Ghana – Making Ghanaian Girls Great and Train for Tomorrow.
Over the past year, Leonora has worked on the Varkey Foundation’s teacher training project in Uganda, and the DfID funded GEC project currently being delivered in Ghana. She is currently working with Results for Development on a landscape study of health and education innovations across West Africa.
A former head of Philosophy and Religion at a London school, she has implemented successful improvement programmes with students and teachers to impact educational outcomes. She is a trained teacher with a Master’s degree in education, specialising in literacy, gender and childhood development, and has published work about student gender, female literacy, and learning engagement. She has a wide range of education experience, having taught in Uganda, France and Hong Kong, and currently mentors Open University students in Bangladesh who are taking courses in social development.
Julius Barungi, Trainer, Uganda
Julius is a passionate Educationist with wealth of experiences of over 15 years in Teaching and schools administration across Uganda and Rwanda at various levels and educational systems. He is also an inspirational speaker at public gatherings especially on leadership and school management. He works as a Teacher Trainer with the Varkey foundation and Co-coordinator of the PTC pilot Project in Uganda.
Margaret Friday, Trainer, Uganda
With a career spanning both the public and private sectors, Margaret has undertaken extensive training in education, project management and professional development. Liaising with the Ministry of Education, Uganda, she has served as an education officer, a professional development officer and as a member of the Senior Management Team.
Margaret graduated from Uganda Martyrs University as a Master of Development Studies before attaining a Postgraduate Diploma in Management Studies from the Uganda Management Institute and a Diploma of Education from Makerere University.
Catherine Nalubwama, Trainer, Uganda
Catherine’s passion for education and the teaching profession in particular can’t be missed. With over ten years in teaching, school administration, NGO work and serving on governing boards of numerous schools, Catherine has accumulated a wealth of expertise in capacity building for schools and teachers in the areas of experiential teaching, coaching, mentoring, leadership and entrepreneurship among others. Catherine has a master’s degree in Education Leadership of Walsh University – North Canton Ohio USA.
Charlotte Oloya, Project Manager, Uganda
Charlotte manages the Varkey Foundation teacher training programme in Uganda which aims at creating a sustainable approach to education by ensuring the skills required to improve pedagogy are embedded within Ugandan schools. She comes to the Varkey Foundation with over 10 years’ experience working with and managing projects in charity organisations across Africa and in the United Kingdom.
Prior to joining the Varkey Foundation, Charlotte worked with the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in war-torn Northern Uganda where she was involved in, among others, community sensitisation on the right to education, especially for the girl child. Charlotte has been involved in high level policy advocacy, trained armed forces and the community on human rights, monitored places of detention and worked with the Uganda Human Rights Commission to get compensation for victims of human rights violations..
Oguttu Williams, Trainer, Uganda
A specialist in education and management, Oguttu has over 20 years’ experience in teaching, training and school management. Throughout his career Oguttu has mentored a great number of young teachers, and provided technical and advisory support for a wide range of educational institutions.
Oguttu has a Post Graduate Diploma in Education Planning and Administration, a Bachelors Degree in Education, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Management. He is also a public speaker and events manager, and is fluent in English and Swahili.