The Team

DRC TEAM

Medi – Assistant Director

Medi loves his country, DRC, for all the beauty it contains, including the young people. He is aware that young people have been affected as a consequence of war, hampering their ability to see the future and prepare big visions. But with peace, young people have started to realise that they can do some great things for their country. Medi helped set up an organisation called BADEN Developpment, which works with many children and young people in and around Goma, DRC. Medi’s heart is to teach young people that they are capable of many things, which he sees is also the vision of The Congo Tree. He wants to live out the truth that ‘by our actions that we can change our community and if we change the communities we will also change the world’.

Medi is involved in the international leadership of The Congo Tree, and also leads the DRC Team; overseeing all aspects of our work and strategic development of programmes and partnerships in DRC.

Contact him on: medi@thecongotree.org.uk

Sage – Programmes Coordinator

Sage oversees our programmes, including WYLD, Tree of Life, and other youth development opportunities. Sage coordinators our Facilitator Team and involved in training, equipping and supporting them to run our programmes and meetings. He supports our Leader Mentors, and is in charge of pastoral care of participants. He also leads on our schools work and coordinates prayer support in DRC. 

Contact him on: mentoring@thecongotree.org.uk

Sephora – Organisation Officer (Intern)

Sephora supports the team with planning and logistics for all of our events – training, conferences and field trips – amongst other things. She’s integral to keeping us moving! Sephora is also responsible for our alumni, helping to arrange events and coordinate training to support their continued personal and professional development.

Contact her on: organisation@thecongotree.org.uk

Bine – Engagement Officer (Intern)

Bine supports and reports on our young people’s social action and creative enterprises within the community. He works with the DRC team to identify any gaps in the young people’s knowledge or experience and is our contact point for partners who can come in to support further development. He is in charge of social media, and supports our UK team with updates and photos so that we can keep everyone up-to-date with what The Congo Tree is doing!

Contact him on: engagement@thecongotree.org.uk

Benite – Inclusion Officer (Intern)

Benite leads our inclusion team, who consider how everything we do at The Congo Tree can continue to be inclusive of gender, background, ability, preference and experience. The team organise events, do research and produce reports, and support with suggestions and adjustments to activities to enable full participation. Benite works with partner organisations to ensure we can support inclusive applications, and informs our teams on best practice.

Contact her on: inclusion@thecongotree.org.uk

UK TEAM

Heidi – Director and Founding Member

Heidi has been involved with youth and community work for over fifteen years, working for various charities including time living in DRC. Her heart is firmly rooted both in DRC and in the UK: whilst she is a keen traveller, Heidi also loves coming back to the UK to family and friends, and a good cup of tea. In her spare time, she loves to sing, surf, ski and arrange wedding flowers!

Heidi leads on The Congo Tree’s strategic development, training and quality assurance, partnerships and funding/fundraising, and oversees the UK and DRC Teams.

Contact her on: heidi@thecongotree.org.uk

Philippa – Communications Lead

Philippa is a singer-songwriter who found out about The Congo Tree when she was asked if she would perform at a fundraising event in Birmingham in 2017. This was the first of many events and it wasn’t long before Philippa decided to join the team to support us with communications.

Having lead our UK Team for over a year, Philippa is now based in Goma with our DRC Team, sharing her knowledge, leading our communications and events strategy and learning from the team about our work and experiences.

Contact her on: philippa@thecongotree.org.uk

Harmony – Events and Secretary to the Board

harmonyFor Harmony, it was a trip back home to Kinshasa in 2017 that sparked a desire to help build a prosperous future for Congo: “I feel called to helping Congolese youth, both in the UK and in Congo, to fulfil their potential and live as useful members of society.” Harmony is an outgoing person who loves to sing, dance, and spend time with friends and family.

Harmony is currently working for Comic Relief and is volunteering with The Congo Tree to support us with fundraising and event planning, as well as being the Secretary to the Board of Trustees.

Contact her on: harmony@thecongotree.org.uk

Anna – Programme Development

annaAnna is a keen traveller and loves nothing better than exploring the great outdoors, especially if this involves being on a surf board or walking on, near or around mountains. Spending quality time with her friends (both old and new) is also important to her, as is plenty of time to curl up with a good book.

Anna is a trained Clinical Psychologist who is working with The Congo Tree to develop programmes to support young people who have experienced trauma, and to train up our facilitators and mentors to improve their skills in walking that journey with young people.

Contact her on: anna.galloway@thecongotree.org.uk

Chloe – Grants and Fundraising Lead

Chloe is passionate about providing young people with the tools and opportunities to achieve amazing things. Chloe has a background in working and volunteering within youth development in the UK, and abroad in remote communities. Having witnessed first-hand the extreme effects conflict can have on a country from her operational experience as an Army Officer, Chloe hopes to help support The Congo Tree in it’s mission. In her spare time, she enjoys playing hockey for her local club, and volunteers with the children and youth section to inspire the next generation of young players.

Contact her on: chloe.russell@thecongotree.org.uk

Jordan – Team Member

After deciding against going university in 2017, Jordan started working at a local education charity in West London which provided work experience for students and organised careers fairs in schools, as well as corporate mentoring for disaffected students. He then joined another education charity in 2019, working to level the playing field of opportunity for disadvantaged students across the UK through programmes with the corporate partners (Barclays, KPMG, Dell EMC, NHS and more). Jordan is currently working to diversify the Venture Capital industry at Included VC.

BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Steve – Chair

SteveSteve is the Director and the Pastoral Support team leader at ChaplaincyPlus, a Birmingham based charity which supports, encourages and resources professionals in the business community. His career began in sales and business development, moving into marketing and fundraising and various other roles with the YMCA. He has recently set up a publishing business with his wife, and contributes to his local hockey team where two of his three children are members. Steve enjoys playing sports, in particular football and table tennis. He brings a wide range of skills to the team, as well as endless and infectious enthusiasm!

Contact him on: steve.bavington@thecongotree.org.uk

Lucy – Vice Chair

Lucy is a freelance writer and storyteller with more than ten years of experience working in the humanitarian and development sector. She previously worked with Medair, a Swiss humanitarian organisation, in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, and throughout the Middle East. Lucy is currently doing her PhD at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, studying the impact of stress on memory in humanitarian crises. When she is not writing or studying, Lucy is a keen marathon runner and absolutely terrified of birds.

Jane – Treasurer

janeJane’s career has been in IT, in various roles from development to Project Management. She moved on to work for a conservation charity and has previously cycled all the way from Land’s End to John O’Groats on a charity fundraiser. Aside from her love of cycling, Jane likes being by the sea, and listening to Davie Bowie. For her, “becoming involved with The Congo Tree was easy with the infectious enthusiasm of Heidi and Amy for the education of young people.”

Hebdavi – Trustee and Founding Member

Hebdavi has worked in the field of development for over ten years and is currently Country Director with Tearfund in DRC. He has worked in youth ministries in church for many years and believes whole-heartedly that the youth are the hope for Africa and that transformation is possible. Hebdavi loves music, is an excellent drummer, and has some mad dance skills! He is a big adventurer and loves taking risks, when he hasn’t got his head in a development economics textbook. As well as being a Manchester United supporter, he has recently discovered a love for volleyball, but what he enjoys most at the moment is spending time with his lovely wife and daughters.

“I believe in a better Congo and a better life for my daughter than what I had to go through. To achieve this, we’ll need improved leadership. What better way to do this than to start investing in the youth now so that we have better leadership tomorrow. This is why I embraced the mission and vision of The Congo Tree…”

Muhindo – Trustee and Founding Member

Transformed by the love of Jesus Christ, Muhindo is an established leader from the DR Congo who desires to see people equipped, empowered and Africa transformed. He loves playing guitar and reading, especially anything written by C.S. Lewis.

Muhindo supports The Congo Tree with all things legal and HR related, and by sharing his immense wisdom as we review our programmes, procedures, and take care of young people.

Ben – Trustee

Ben has been working in the humanitarian sector for eight years, with four of those years spent in DRC. Passionate about seeing young people leading transformation in their communities from his time with War Child UK, he’s looking to bring his international experience to The Congo Tree. Outside of work he’s a long suffering Newcastle United fan and keen guitarist.

Sarah – Trustee

Sarah is the UK Director of GAiN (Global Aid Network), the international development arm of the charity Agape. She studied her Masters in Poverty Reduction and International Development at the University of Birmingham.

Zack – Trustee

Zack is the Community Development Director with Intuitive Thinking Skills. He has experience of working in psychiatric intensive care, Adult and Young Peoples Forensics, careers advice, drug and alcohol services, marketing and change management, bringing a wealth of experience of young people’s services to The Congo Tree.

Amy – Trustee and Founding Member

amyAmy spent six years working for Tearfund in the West and Central Africa team, two and a half years of which were focusing on Congo, with one of those years spent living in a small village in the east, in South Kivu. Amy dreamed of working and living in the Congo years before she was able to get there and has always been drawn to the country because of the extremes of its beauty and potential and yet unimaginable poverty. Amy is a Northern Irish born Canadian with a huge heart for the Congo (and a slightly confused identity)!

Join our Board of Trustees

We are open to applications to join our Board of Trustees, particularly from those who have worked in International Development, youth programming or fundraising. This could be an interesting and rewarding voluntary role for someone who wants to support an small international development charity! Please email our Director for more information: heidi.bentley@thecongotree.org.uk