This week Mary Ann talks to Pamela Brannon, Executive Director of Children of Uganda. They speak about the experiences that inspired her to make a difference, the work of her organisation and their belief looking after ourselves is an important part of how we make a difference.

Pamela has dedicated her life’s work to serving the AIDS community and advocating on behalf of the world’s most vulnerable children. After participating in Americas first ever AIDS radio-thon, she changed her career course and began working with prominent AIDS service organisations — most notably, AIDS Project Los Angeles and Project Angel Food.

While at Project Angel Food, she was introduced to the Children of Uganda dance troupe. Soon after, she traveled to Uganda and worked with children who had lost their parents to AIDS. She was inspired by the children’s genuine joy for life and returned to the US with a newfound passion to support Uganda’s orphans. She ultimately joined the Children of Uganda Board of Directors where she served until she transitioned to her current role of Executive Director.

Pamela’s vision for COU’s future includes the construction of an academic and healing arts academy where children would benefit from a holistic approach to their educational future and overall well-being.

This week Mary Ann talks to Claire Mahon, a human rights lawyer based in Geneva who consults, coaches and mentors others to do human rights work as well as running her own not-for-profit human rights legal work. We talk about how she got in to human rights work, what motivates and inspires her, what she has learnt along the way and how she has learnt to look after herself as well as the crucial work she undertakes.

Claire Mahon is an international human rights lawyer based in Geneva, where she is the founder of the social enterprise the Global Human Rights Group. Claire is also a coach and mentor, committed to nurturing advocates and change-makers, and developing up-and-coming, as well we already well-established, global leaders. She has worked for 20 years in a variety of roles, including as a lawyer in the private sector, as a human rights practitioner with non-governmental organisations, undertaking consultancies for UN agencies, and teaching and researching on international law and organisations in some of the world’s leading academic institutions. Claire shares insights into her world of working with human rights defenders and creating the next generation of human rights advocates with her Patreon supporters at

Find Claire at: &

Follow Claire on Facebook:

Find here on Twitter: @claire_mahon &@glblhumanrights

The current course that Claire talks about on the show: (it’s not too late to enrol!)

On this episode of Change Making Women we interview Grace Mdemu, a Mentor in the Global Give Back Circle who is also an Auditor, Mother, Entrepreneur and Poet.


    • Grace Mdemu tells us how mentoring a girl who was at risk through the Global Giving Circle has enriched her life as well as that of her mentee
    • She explains how the programme works, why she’s so committed to it and the change that it creates and how she would love to see the programme grow and reach more girls.
    • We also talk about how she fits being a Mentor in to her busy life as a Auditor, Mother, Entrepreneur and Poet and how she finds time to take a break for herself.

Some Quotes from the show:

 ‘Seven years down the line, my mentee, to me, is like the little sister I never had, we are still going strong’

‘The only difference between us and the girls is opportunity, so I know these are the leaders of tomorrow’

‘You have to believe in yourself to be a mentor, you are there to guide and you talk about relationships, religion everything, they come to trust you.’

Connect with Grace and the Global Give Back Circle:
Find our more about the Global Give Back Circle:

You can listen to this episode below or find it on ITunes, Stitcher or SoundCloud.


In this episode we talk to Maria Magembe and Hellen Lawuo-Meena about the business they have recently launched Daughters of the Soil. We talk about

  • How Maria’s Grandmother Oyangi inspired their 100% natural range of premium beauty products
  • Why they have chosen to create a global brand that celebrates African heritage
  • What they have learnt from working together and how they manage doing business with a friend
  • How Daughters of the Soil wants to develop a platform that supports rural women in Africa to empower themselves

Some quotes from the show:
We want to be a brand that celebrates the goodness that comes from the soil across Africa’

‘Where we come from the soil is regarded as something important, we believe that we are from the soil and so it’s a fitting name for a natural beauty business’

‘We are still learning everyday, we are just stretching ourselves’

‘It’s really been a journey in terms of solving problems, it’s really exciting’

‘Even when we don’t agree, it’s a really good learning point’

‘It’s about developing a platform that supports rural women in Africa who don’t have some of the support that we have been really privileged to have’

‘It’s about women backing women in business’

Connect with and find out more about Daughters of the Soil:

Instagram: @daughetrof_soil

Facebook: Daughterofthesoil

On this weeks show Ziada and Mary Ann reflect on the recent US election and the fear and sadness many are feeling about the result and ask how we might turn use our fear and anger to galvanise effect action for change? They talk about co-ordinating movements for change and inspiring ourselves to focused action towards the change that we believe in.

Some quotes from the show:

“Demonstrations are like sticking up a big sign. Whether they lead to change or not… that’s a much more complicated story.”

“It’s easy to say what you’re against. To say what you’re for can get uite tricky.” 

“To make a difference in your community, try to take the positives. Then get together and work around that.” 

“Making change is a long process, and you can’t always see the end of it. It’s not for the fainthearted, trying to make big things change.”

“It takes a lot of dedication. You have to dedicate your life to do that.” 

“There’s also an argument for taking small actions, and being willing to put your hand up and say ‘this is wrong’ in smaller ways as well.”

On this weeks show we interview Noelah Msuya, Founder and Director of Child Support Tanzania, an not-for-profit organisation based in Mbeya which promotes educational inclusion through their early childhood development centre and a range of activities with local schools and communities. Noelah tells us why real inclusion matters and how she has coped with leading a growing change making project alongside being a Mum.


  • How to get started fundraising for your Change Making project
  • What you need to have in place in order to persuade someone to give you money
  • How to go about proving what you have done with money you have been given
  • Starting small and using your network to test and prove your idea.
  • How cultures of giving vary

Some quotes from the show:

‘You need to be able to describe exactly what you want to do before you go anywhere asking for money.’

‘My biggest concern is how people are accountable, that the money is used according to the business plan’

You need to have a detailed plan – to really know what you are going to do and be able to explain it to anyone you meet’

‘Do your research about funders properly. Send them what they ask for tailored for them. Make it clear that you know who they are’

‘to stand out you need a compelling story about the difference you want to make.’
‘get your first money from people you know who have faith in you.’

‘My number one recommendation if you are starting a charitable project would be to raise the first money you need from people you know who have faith in you’


  • Lily tells us about how she gave up her job to start this project to provide education to children from the informal settlement
  • We talk about how her vision has grown from the five children she originally wanted to help in 2003 to the hundreds, including many disabled children, whose lives have been changed since
  • Lily explains to us how she accidentally became a passionate advocate for inclusion
  • We talk about the challenge of gathering resrouces for this kind of work – and why passion is what matters in the end
  • We also hear what Lily has learnt in the process of developing and expanding the project
  • And she gives us her advice about getting your own change making project started as well.

Some quotes from the show:

‘The needs of children an informal settlement are more than education, that was why we called it an early childhood development centre’
‘The main challenge is being able to get enough resources to provide the kind of services that the kids need because the majority of their parents are struggling to pay rent and put food on the table’

‘I mobilised my friends and we sat down as a committee and all the ones who were thinking I was crazy are now the ones I put on the committee and said we can do something’

‘We thought we were going to work with five children but the number of kids was growing everyday’

‘I looked at my child and I asked myself, if this set up was meant for my own child, what would I provide for them?’

‘The project is a collaboration between little rock, the child and the parents’

‘After the post election violence the parents had begged you to keep the school open because it was the safest place for their children, I always remember that’

‘There is no way you can teach a hungry child and you cannot teach a sick child, so the porridge and the lunch really is a boost for them’

‘Even if a mother or father walks in and they have nothing, their children are fed’

‘Biggest lesson is the joy and the opportunity that the children have got’

‘A number of the kids have been able to go to high school including three kids admitted to national schools because of their grades’

‘We simply spend our door to disabled children and said please come, we are ready to welcome you, we are ready to communicate with you and provide your child with quality early childhood education which was our mandate and our core business’

‘In 2006 a mother brought her child to the centre and we realised that the child was not able to walk so we asked ourselves if this was my child, what answers would I expect from the other side and so we accommodated her daughter who had cereal palsy in to our set up’

‘Our classrooms our inclusive we do not segregate the kids and have a special unit, we put all the kids in the classroom and they are learning together. So we have become advocates of inclusion.’

Connect with Lily
Little Rock Website:
Little Rock Facebook:
You can also find a few different interviews with Lily on You Tube by searching for Little Rock Kenya there!

This is the second of a two part launch episode in which we introduce you to the women behind Change Making Women.


  • What Nia is and how it has cured Mary Ann’s problems with her back
  • Working on disability and children and young people as Director of AbleChildAfrica
  • Working on mental health and illness in Tanzania as Regional Representative for BasicNeeds
  • Getting burnt out trying to make a difference
  • The on-line community Mary Ann is working to establish for Change Making Women
  • How making a difference can start where we live
  • What food Mary Ann says she could eat for the rest of her life!

Some quotes from the show:

On finding Nia –
‘I’m in her class and I’m like, I wanna do this, this great, I love it, I love it!’

On teaching Nia:
‘I tell my students, here’s a movement, but follow your body’s way with it, so if that doesn’t feel go for you, adjust the movement….
Get used to how the music makes you wants to move and just feel your way with it’

‘It’s a really go balance with a lot of the other stuff I do which is more in your head’

‘For me personally, it was just like, I can’t do this anymore, there is mixed feeling on the inside’

‘Maybe I don’t actually have to take so much responsibility on myself and think that this is all my thing to solve’

‘What I am really wanting to do now is really support other people that are working in the NGO sector to really kind of basically look after themselves so that they do have the energy’

‘People always look from the outside and they load this ‘your so amazing’ thing on you but the reality of your work can still be hard work, a lot of travel, and a lot of not being with your family and personal struggle’

‘I am working on setting up a community for women who want make a difference which will offer them support so that they can kind of make sure that they are doing their work to make a difference in a way that’s healthy for them – It’s giving people a bit of space to step back from the daily grind of their work’

‘If you wanna make a change you don’t have to travel a thousand miles you can just start with your neighbour’

‘I do miss the food, I could eat Pilau and Chapatis for the rest of my life!’