Supporting visionary leaders

Big Win Philanthropy backs visionary leaders wanting to bring about transformational change. We partner with individuals with the ambition and commitment to improve the lives of young people and the economic trajectories of their countries, and set precedent beyond their own borders. We are proud to be working with these partners.

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Supporting ministers to be transformational leaders: Harvard Ministerial Leadership Program

Supported by Big Win in partnership with Harvard University, the Harvard Ministerial Leadership Program enables health, education and finance ministers to develop as transformational leaders. It involves an intensive week at Harvard addressing issues such as envisioning big wins, navigating the political context, effective implementation and multi-sector collaboration.


Dr. Julio Frenk

President of the University of Miami, Chair of the Advisory Board of the Harvard Ministerial Leadership Program and the former Secretary of Health of Mexico

Dr. Julio Frenk is President of the University of Miami. Previously, he was the Dean of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where he conceived and spearheaded the establishment of the Ministerial Leadership in Health (MLIH) Program. Dr. Frenk’s experience as Minister of Health of Mexico helped guide the focus of the program, which assists ministers in defining the legacy they want to build during their tenure, and the political and practical realities to achieving their ambitions, as well as providing a cohort of peers they can engage with. Dr. Frenk continues to serve as Chair of the MLIH Advisory Board.

"Jamie Cooper's support and involvement were essential to the success of Harvard's Ministerial Leadership in Health program during its initial years, and I am greatly looking forward to working with her to develop it further with the advice and support of her foundation, Big Win Philanthropy. The program is all about giving serving ministers the space and support to envisage and then deliver 'big win' legacies for their countries."

Dr. Michelle A. Williams

Dean of the Faculty, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University

Dr. Michelle A. Williams is Dean of the Faculty, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Harvard Chan School). She is an internationally renowned epidemiologist and public health scientist, an award-winning educator, and a widely recognized academic leader. Prior to becoming Dean, she was Professor and Chair of the Department of Epidemiology at the Harvard Chan School and Program Leader of the Population Health and Health Disparities Research Programs at Harvard’s Clinical and Translational Sciences Center. Dean Williams previously had a distinguished career at the University of Washington School of Public Health. Her scientific work places special emphasis in the areas of reproductive, perinatal, pediatric, and molecular epidemiology. Dean Williams has published over 450 scientific articles. She was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2016. The Dean has a master’s in civil engineering from Tufts University and master’s and doctoral degrees in epidemiology from the Harvard Chan School and Harvard University.

"The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health is honored to be the host and anchor institution of the Harvard Ministerial Leadership Program in partnership with the Harvard Kennedy School and the Graduate School of Education. I have watched this important three-school collaboration mature over the past six years into a truly impressive initiative. More than 90 ministers have participated in the Program since its inception, and they consistently attest to its impact and value in helping them become more effective ministers and leaders of significant institutional transformation in their home countries."

Douglas W. Elmendorf

Dean, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Douglas W. Elmendorf is Dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Doug Elmendorf served as the director of the Congressional Budget Office from January 2009 through March 2015. Prior to joining CBO, he was at Brookings, where he was a senior fellow, the Edward M. Bernstein Scholar, and the director of The Hamilton Project. He was previously an assistant professor at Harvard University, a principal analyst at CBO, a senior economist at the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, a deputy assistant secretary for economic policy at the Treasury Department, and an assistant director of the Division of Research and Statistics at the Federal Reserve Board. In those positions, he worked on budget policy, health care issues, the macroeconomic effects of fiscal policy, Social Security, income security programs, financial markets, macroeconomic analysis and forecasting, and other topics.

"The Ministerial Leadership Program at Harvard is making an important difference in the lives of millions of people in developing countries. By bringing health, finance, and education ministers together with leading experts and practitioners at Harvard, the program is helping those ministers take ambitious and collaborative steps to generate "big wins" for their countries. We're honored to be part of this work."

James E. Ryan

Dean, Faculty of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education

James E. Ryan is the 11th dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. A leading expert on law and education, Ryan has written extensively about the ways in which law structures educational opportunity. His articles and essays address such topics as school desegregation, school finance, school choice, standards and testing, pre-K, and the intersection of special education and neuroscience. Ryan is also the co-author of the textbook Educational Policy and the Law, and the author of Five Miles Away, A World Apart, which was published in 2010 by Oxford University Press. In addition, Ryan has authored articles on constitutional law and theory and has argued before the United States Supreme Court. Before coming to Harvard, Ryan was the Matheson & Morgenthau Distinguished Professor at the University of Virginia School of Law. He also served as academic associate dean from 2005–09 and founded and directed the school’s Program in Law and Public Service. While at Virginia, Ryan received an All-University Teaching Award, an Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, and several awards for his scholarship. Ryan has been a visiting professor at Harvard, Yale, and the University of Auckland. He has also served on numerous education boards and commissions, including the U.S. Department of Education’s Equity and Excellence Commission and the board of the Maya Angelou Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. Ryan received his A.B., summa cum laude, from Yale University and his J.D. from the University of Virginia, which he attended on a full scholarship and from which he graduated first in his class. After law school, Ryan clerked for William H. Rehnquist, the late Chief Justice of the United States, and then worked in Newark, N.J. as a public interest lawyer before entering into teaching. Ryan and his wife, Katie, live near Cambridge with their four school-age children.

"Thanks to Jamie Cooper and Big Win Philanthropy’s vision and dedication to improving educational outcomes around the world, the Harvard Ministerial Leadership Program has been expanded to include Education Ministers. This is a powerful model that holds great promise for students and families, and we are proud to be a part of this work."

Unlocking nutrition investment: Banking on Nutrition with the African Development Bank.

Child undernutrition is a major obstacle to human and economic development. It is associated with almost half of child deaths in Africa and costs the region 11% of GDP. The African Development Bank is the continent’s premier development finance body and is uniquely placed to reposition nutrition as central to development across multiple sectors. Its Banking on Nutrition partnership with Big Win strengthens its capacity to realize the nutrition potential of future investments, for example through the biofortification of maize and other crops to be more nutrient-rich.


Akinwumi Adesina

President of the African Development Bank Group

Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina is the 8th elected President of the African Development Bank Group. Adesina is a distinguished development economist and agricultural development expert with 25 years of international experience. He is the first Nigerian to serve as President of the Bank Group.

Adesina served as Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development from 2011 to 2015. He was previously Vice-President (Policy and Partnerships) of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He was also Associate Director (Food Security) at the Rockefeller Foundation in New York, where he worked for a decade (1998-2008) in senior leadership positions, including as Regional Office Director and Representative for Southern Africa.

Adesina has received a number of global awards for his leadership and work in agriculture. In 2010, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appointed him as one of 17 global leaders to spearhead the Millennium Development Goals. He was named Person of the Year by Forbes Africa magazine in 2013.

"The greatest contributor to economic growth is not physical infrastructure, but brainpower: what I refer to as "grey matter infrastructure”. Stunting shrinks the size of the brain and therefore compromises current and future economic growth of nations. Stunted children today leads to stunted economies tomorrow. I am very pleased with the strategic partnership of the African Development Bank with Big Win Philanthropy to help secure nutrition and drive grey matter infrastructure for Africa."

Aliko Dangote

President/Chief Executive of the Dangote Group and Chairman of the Dangote Foundation

Aliko Dangote founded Dangote Group over 30 years ago and has turned his enterprise into the largest business conglomerate in West Africa and the largest private employer in Nigeria. Mr. Dangote invests in 18 African countries.

A leading global philanthropist, Aliko Dangote has set up the largest foundation in Africa, the priorities of which include improving the nutrition, health and education of Nigerians. The Foundation is a leading contributor to the initiative for ‘Saving One Million Lives’ every year in Nigeria.

Aliko Dangote is a member of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Global Education First Initiative steering committee; founding member of the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria, a coalition between the private sector and health organizations to achieve the MDGs; founding member of the Gordon Brown-led Global Business Coalition for Education; and sits on the Board of the Corporate Council on Africa. He is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative and the World Economic Forum.

"My Foundation’s vision is one where no child should suffer and die of undernutrition and disease, but rather have a fighting chance to survive, thrive and be a positive contributor to society. This why we are focusing a significant amount of our resources to implement solutions, and why this partnership with the African Development Bank and Big Win Philanthropy is so important to us."

Supporting the Government of Ethiopia to end child undernutrition: Seqota Declaration

The Seqota Declaration is a bold national commitment by the Government of Ethiopia to end child undernutrition in the country by 2030.


H.E. Dr. Kesetebirhan Admasu

Minister of Health of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Dr. Kesetebirhan Admasu was Minister of Health of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia until 2016. Prior to his appointment as Minister in November 2012, Dr. Kesetebirhan served as state Minister for Health Program Sector and Director General of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention General Directorate in the Ministry. In his capacity as Director General, Dr. Kesetebirhan Admasu has overseen the health sector reform and led the implementation of the country’s flagship program, the health extension program. He is a champion of innovation, task-shifting and implementation at scale. In his tenure as Director General, he has led the roll-out of integrated community case management of childhood illnesses and insertion of single-rod implant through the health extension platform.

"I had a very positive experience of partnership with Big Win Philanthropy when I was Ethiopia’s Minister for Health. The Big Win team regarded themselves as working for me, supporting the Ministry to achieve the very ambitious targets in its new five year Health Sector Transformation Plan. I am very pleased that Big Win continues to support the Government of Ethiopia in navigating the exciting journey of bringing transformational changes, or “big wins” to the health sector."

H.E. Gedu Andargachew Alene

President, Amhara Regional State, Ethiopia

His Excellency, Gedu Andargachew Alene, has served as a President of the Amhara Regional State since December 2014. Prior to this he served as a Vice President and Agriculture Bureau head for six years. Before this he was the Chief Administrator of North Wollo.

"Amhara region will experience a paradigm shift towards the elimination of child under-nutrition by 2030... the partnerships with Big Win and other partners are of paramount important for successful implementation of the Seqota Declaration... we so much appreciate your technical, financial and logistic support."

Creating a dashboard for local government in Kenya to track the impact of investments in young people.

Kenya’s 2013 devolution reforms channel $3 billion a year to 47 new county governments for services such as health, education and agriculture. Big Win Philanthropy commissioned experts to advise Kenya’s Council of Governors on the development of  a dashboard - a regularly-updated summary of key data. The purpose would be to enable county governors to track child and youth indicators to support resource allocation decisions, service delivery and accountability for results.


H.E. Peter Munya

Chairman, Kenya Council of Governors

Hon. Peter Munya is the first and current Governor of Meru County. Between 2002 and 2013, he served as the Member of Parliament for Tigania East Constituency.

Munya is an advocate of the High Court of Kenya and has Masters degrees in International Economic Integration Law from the University of Brussels, Belgium and Public International Law from the University of Georgia, USA. He has been a Law lecturer at the Kenya School of Professional Studies and Kenya School of Monetary Studies. In 2000 he was appointed lecturer of Law at Moi University, Eldoret. In 2002, he left Moi University to set up Kimaiyo and Munya Co. Advocates.

He founded and Chaired Kenya Young Parliamentarians Association with the aim of championing in Parliament issues affecting Kenyan youth. He was also member of the Parliamentary Investment Committee before his appointment to the Government in 2006 as the Assistant Minister, Ministry of Internal Security and Provincial Administration. He was later appointed the Assistant Minister for East Africa Community. During his tenure as an MP, he initiated various development projects including to improve healthcare, infrastructure, and the empowerment of youth and women.

"Kenya's bold new devolution journey will only be successful if we can track social progress across our 47 counties to help improve our performance even further. I am very pleased that the Council of Governors is working in such close partnership with Big Win Philanthropy on this because Big Win is helping us achieve our own vision for a better Kenya. The County Governments have made tremendous progress in the last three years. To help sustain those gains, Big Win is bringing the power of a long-term economic view that aims to achieve a future demographic dividend for Kenya by investing right now in children and young people."

H.E. Professor Paul Chepkwony

Chairman of the Education, Youth, Gender, Sport, Culture and Social Services Committee of the Kenya Council of Governors

Professor Paul Kiprono Chepkwony is the Governor of Kericho County in Kenya. He is also the Kenya Council of Governors' Chairman of the Education, Youth, Gender, Sport, Culture and Social Services Committee. He holds a PhD in Organic Chemistry from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology. The main issues at the top of his agenda include improving education in the county, empowering farmers economically, developing the road infrastructure, improving maternal healthcare, mitigating lightning strikes through setting-up of lightning arresters, creating a low tax jurisdiction for investment and wooing investment with a focus on youth employment. In March 2017, Governor Chepkwony convened the first Council of Governors Gender Round Table (GGRT) meeting in Kericho County. The forum brought together women, disabled people and young people to engage with County Governments.

"Supported by Big Win Philanthropy… this partnership will improve the capacity and effectiveness of our county governments to consolidate and achieve big wins in human capital investments for Kenya’s children and youth, therefore supporting Kenya’s efforts to achieve a demographic dividend."

Upgrading education quality in Liberia.

Liberia is the sixth-poorest country in the world, working to recover from two civil wars and the Ebola crisis. With 43% of Liberian people illiterate and 53% aged under 20, better education is essential for breaking the cycle of poverty. Big Win Philanthropy has been supporting the Government of Liberia to improve education and training through four programs.


George Kronnisanyon Werner

Minister of Education, Liberia

George Kronnisanyon Werner has been Minister of Education for Liberia since May 2015 and is also Co-chair of Liberia’s Health Workforce Development Taskforce. He was Director General and Head of the Civil Service from June 2013 to May 2015. He holds a Masters degree in social work and a Bachelor degree in general education. He has also studied healthcare ethics. Mr Werner has taught at high school and college levels, and conducted research as a Fellow in The Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

"By identifying ‘ghost teachers’ and subsequently removing them from our system, we anticipate savings of many millions of dollars per annum; a ‘big win’ for the Government of Liberia. We can use these savings to collapse our supplementary payroll and smoothly transfer qualified teachers into the civil service, transition voluntary teachers, correct anomalies on the payroll, and invest in tools and mechanisms to improve teacher quality and motivation. We are very pleased to be working with Big Win Philanthropy to deliver the Liberian Ministry of Education’s ultimate goal of increasing learning outcomes for our students."

Big Win Philanthropy works directly with national ministers, state governors, business leaders, major national institutions and the leaders of regional organizations. Led by Jamie Cooper, Chair of Big Win Philanthropy we work with these leaders to design strategic development interventions that help deliver their priorities for human capital investment.

Efforts to tackle the challenge of achieving a major scaling-up in human capital investment will be far more successful if different government departments work together. We seek leaders who integrate and align their efforts with national priorities, and galvanize support and engagement across historical silos.

We have a particular interest in working in countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia with the potential for a demographic dividend. We seek to improve the lives of children and young people today in order to bring about major improvements in their life chances and livelihoods tomorrow, as well as growth for national economies and greater social stability.