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Sonia Zambakides

Senior Leader, International Development

Sonia Zambakides
Driving License
United Kingdom
Professional Status
Open to opportunities
About Me
I recently moved to Myanmar to act as Crown Agents Fund Director and Asia and Middle East Regional Director. Prior to this I was London based leading their global Humanitarian and Stabilisation team. From 2006 to 2017 I worked in East Africa and the Middle East running large scale emergency responses and building country/regional 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.

Response Team Leader/Humanitarian Director

Save the Children Somalia
February 2010 to April 2013
  • I led Save the Children's famine response in Somalia during 2011/12. This was part of Save the Children's International East Africa Emergency Appeal. Due to the scope and scale of this response and the fact the existing country programme was continuing to deliver its development work, I was mandated to establish and lead an entirely new and seperate team to run all aspects of the response, including fundraising, media, programmes, HR, operations, finance and grants.
  • Over $60 million was raised for the response in Somalia . I held primary responsibility and accountability for this budget, as well as fundraising, donor relationships and the implementation of the response programmes.
  • I managed a team who developed and implemented a response strategy which trebled emergency programming across affected regions.
  • I was the focal point for all Save the Children International members in this response taking the lead on fundraising, advocacy and ensuring clear communications.
  • I have done extensive media representation acting as the in country spokesperson and have accompanied high profile journalists to Somalia.
Detailed Description
  • Developed a new and high performing team who delivered exceptional results for children over 18 months during the famine. For example, successful fundraising led to a cash grant programme which reached 10,000 households within 3 weeks of securing donor approval in a highly insecure environment.
  • Managed a portfolio of $60 million over 18 months, with over 40 live grants. Developed systems which enabled accountable and successful spend evidenced by efficacy of delivery and no donor disallows over this period of time.
  • Increased member support to Somalia both through the response and subsequently; developed and maintained good relationships with multiple members, facilitated and accompanied member visits and continued liaison with donors in country.
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.