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Ronnie Graham

Born in Scotland, Ronnie Graham graduated from Edinburgh University in 1974 with an MA in History and in 1975 with a Dip. Ed.  He was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship and undertook 4 years of post-graduate work at the University of Ghana (1975-1979) resulting in his first book, ‘The International Aluminium Industry and the Third World’.  In 1980 he was appointed to the Dept. of History at the University of Maiduguri, northern Nigeria where he worked until 1985, publishing his second book, The Life of Major Hama Kim, University of Marburg.

In 1986, he joined VSO as Country Director in Belize, the Caribbean and Zambia before joining Help Age International as Country director, Tanzania. By then, he had produced a 2 volume History of African Popular Music, Pluto Press, 1988 and 1993. The work in Tanzania included the development of the Zanzibar Eye Health Programme with significant investments in Human Resources for eye Health (HReH), the construction of 2 eye departments and the development of the PEC approach. Other priorities included responding to the Rwandan refugee crisis in (1994-97) and establishing a national age care organisation (SAWATA).

He later joined Sightsavers in 1997 as Regional Director for South Asia and the Caribbean. During his time with Sightsavers, his key achievements included; commissioning 2 national blindness surveys, the Bangladesh Childhood Cataract Campaign, establishing optometry training in the Caribbean, supporting PEC in Sri Lanka and the EU funded 10 District Programme in Pakistan. He was instrumental in establishing the IAPB Low Vision Working Group following the successful global conference on Low Vision in Hong Kong in 1999.

Recently, Ronnie published his fifth book, Zanzibar: A People’s History before retiring in June 2017, to become an independent consultant with a focus on HReH and strategic advocacy.