Your browser is outdated!

To ensure you have the best experience and security possible, update your browser. Update now


Sonia Zambakides

Senior Leader, International Development

Sonia Zambakides
Driving License
London United Kingdom
Professional Status
Open to opportunities
About Me
Currently London based leading a global Humanitarian and Stabilisation team. Prior to this I spent 11 years in East Africa and the Middle East running large scale emergency responses and building country programmes.

I have a deep passion for development and a core belief in the ability to make a difference. These are my primary drivers for the work I do and result in me being highly motivated and driven to effect change where change is needed.

My career has spanned the full spectrum of humanitarian response to long term development: however, I believe that these traditional divides are no longer relevant in todays context where 80% of the conflicts are protracted crisis. For a number of years I have been an advocate of designing strategic, and operational approaches which have fluidity between multiple strands running in parallel, such as humanitarian response, recovery and resilience in order to meet the needs in the changing development landscape.

Country Director

Save the Children Lebanon
May 2013 to November 2014
  • I started as the Country Director in May 2013 and scaled up the programme from $5 million to $45 million by December 2013 to respond to immediate and longer term needs of Syrian refugees and host populations in Lebanon.
  • Save the Children Lebanon had to be built up from a small development programme to a multi sector response and development programme. This involved establishing a new country office. I led in recruiting and appointing the entire Lebanon Country Office SMT and then supported in building the teams underneath them. At peak capacity there was a staff of 450 people full time and 250 people part time.
  • Created, maintained and operationalised a strategic vision for Lebanon and ensured the the vision was translated into actions both internally and externally.
  • Over 2013 I took the lead in repairing fractured donor and Save the Children member relationships ensuring all concerns were addressed and then successfully achieving buy in to the vision and strategy for the coming 18 months.
  • I managed a innovative and creative inside Syria programme which delivered life saving assistance in parallel to building civil society; emergency response through a development lens. Further details on request due to need for confidentiality of this programme.
Detailed Description
  • Leading transformational change for Lebanon Country Office in line with the sudden and massively increased needs in the county for both refugees and Lebanese host communities. Up until 2013 it was a small CO with an approximate annual turnover of $1-2 million focussed on Education and Child Protection work with partners.
  • Building a new team, structure, system, ethos and delivery mechanism focussing on the need for urgent humanitarian assistance while not losing sight of the longer term needs for Lebanese, Palestinian and Iraqi populations.
  • Building the reputation of Save the Children Lebanon with internal donors, UN, Government and INGO's and extensive external representation to fundraise and build confidence in the country office ability to respond to the needs appropriately and accountably.
Company Description
Save the Children is the world’s leading independent children’s charity. It works to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children, and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives.