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At todays, Annual General Meeting, World Habitat announced the election of three new trustees who will join the board with immediate effect. Rumana Kabir, Tom Newby and Jess Ayres bring a wealth of new skills and experience to complement the existing group of trustees.


Rumana has a long track record as a development practitioner working globally in conflict, emergency, and development contexts. She started her career as an architect and researcher working on low-income housing in Bangladesh. She then turned into an aid worker for Oxfam, Save the Children rebuilding after the Tsunami in Indonesia and the earthquakes in Pakistan. Rumana then became a consultant for the United Nations, the World Bank, and many other international agencies, to help governments in disaster-prone countries to deliver housing, community development, and disaster risk governance strategies and programmes. Currently, Rumana works as a civil servant in the UK and gives lectures at various universities worldwide.

Tom is a structural engineer with significant experience of humanitarian response and post-disaster shelter. He has been active in the field of emergency and post-disaster shelter for many years, including leading CARE International’s global shelter team for six years, and sitting on the Strategic Advisory Group of the Global Shelter Cluster. He has worked on humanitarian responses in Nepal, Philippines, Jordan, Lebanon, Haiti and many other countries. Tom is currently a director at engineering consultancy Buro Happold and leads their London Structures team and is a trustee of the Happold Foundation, and was a trustee of Engineers Without Borders UK for over ten years.


Jess is a director in the climate team at the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF).She joined CIFF in 2019 from the UK Government, where she held roles including Head of Carbon Trading (Department for Business and Energy); Head of Energy (HM Treasury); and Chief of Staff to the Energy Minister (Department for Energy and Climate Change). Prior to joining the UK Government, she spent seven years working with vulnerable countries on the intersection between climate change and development, including roles with the United Nations Development Program in Nepal, and the International Institute of Environment and Development in the UK, Bangladesh and Nepal. Jess holds a PhD in International Climate Change and Development (LSE/ICCCAD); and MSc’s in both International Development and Public Policy (both LSE).

Chair of the Board of Trustees at World Habitat, Dr Angus Kennedy said ‘We’re delighted to welcome Rumana, Tom and Jess to the board of trustees. Their experience and skills will add significantly to an already talented and knowledgeable board. As the organisation seeks to promote solutions to global housing crisis within a climate emergency. Rumana, Tom and Jess’s skills and wide experience in international development and climate solutions will provide invaluable new knowledge and perspective and help us achieve greater influence and impact’

World Habitat would like to take this opportunity to thank recruitment agents “Public Leader Appointments” for their assistance in filling the trustee roles.

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