Martha Stein Sochas
Advisor to the Executive Director
Martha recently retired from the Agence Francaise de Développement, AFD, France’s overseas development bank after 30 years. During that time, she spent four years in South Africa as the Regional Director for Southern Africa.
She has extensive experience in development, with global expertise in strategic planning and implementation in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Among other positions, Martha was the director of the Banking, Public Enterprise and Local Authorities Department of AFD. In this role, she managed the teams to address borrowers’ and clients’ needs for innovative financing and capacity-building solutions, including microfinance, banking, and municipal financing.
She holds a master’s degree in international relations from the Johns Hopkins School of International Studies (SAIS). Martha received the Légion d’Honneur in recognition of her work at AFD in 2015.
Programme Development Facilitator
Buhle Phiri is a seasoned programme manager, with over 20 years’ experience in local and international development and humanitarian work. She has worked in several African countries, on projects focused on agriculture, economic empowerment, food security, social protection and education.
Buhle has a wide range of skills that include strategic planning, stakeholder engagement, microfinance, and fundraising. One of her accomplishments was to secure corporate funding for Save the Children South Africa, valued at approximately R18m from GlaxoSmithKline. She also secured markets with Tiger Brands for emerging commercial farmers, valued at R10m.
Buhle has worked for Zenzele Itereleng NPC, Save the Children South Africa and CARE International in South Africa and Lesotho. She is currently doing a master’s degree through Wits University that looks at the influence of microfinance and microenterprise on poor rural women.