Who Are the Human Ecology Foundation?

The Human Ecology Foundation (HEF), a subsidiary charity of CHEC, was founded in 1986, through the initiative and support of Professor Donald R. Denham and Lord Home of the Hirsel to raise and safeguard a Trust Fund to support education and activities in human ecology. Since 2011, the HEF has been named The Zena Daysh and Donald Denman Human Ecology Foundation after the late Zena Daysh, founder of the Commonwealth Human Ecology Council (CHEC) and the late Donald Denman, the HEF Founder.

The HEF originally received donations from leading British and international companies and charities in order to establish an investment fund to generate income. The fund now manages the legacy of Zena Daysh with a remit specifically devoted to supporting projects and activities that improve the livelihoods of underprivileged communities in the Global South.

Currently the HEF funds small projects costing less than £5001. Projects are approved by the Trustees of the HEF and by the Governing Board of CHEC.

What is Human Ecology?

Human Ecology is the focus of HEF’s work, but what is it? Human ecology takes a far-sighted, but realistic, view of the future of human society by recognising that for social stability and human well-being people have to find ways of living in harmony with each other and with the natural resources of the Earth. It investigates the complex set of causal relationships between human beings, their cultural and social practices, and the ecosystems in which these are embedded.

Human ecology embraces both the ideas underlying the notion of sustainable development and the concepts of social responsibility and social equity.  Human ecology sees individual responsibility and awareness, along with community cohesion, as the cornerstones to achieving equitable and balanced use of resources and thus secure, strong societies.

What Does the Foundation Do?

The Foundation supports CHEC’s work in promoting human ecology, sustainable development and action on the climate and biodiversity emergencies throughout the Commonwealth and wider world. In doing so, the Foundation has helped to fund a number of projects including school buildings in Kenya and Sierra Leone, solar power for schools in Nigeria, assistance to tribal communities in Wayanad, Kerala, India, and innovative World Mangrove Day activities in Fiji, the Gambia, India, Malaysia, the Maldives, and Samoa.

Who Governs the Human Ecology Foundation?

The HEF is governed by a Board of Trustees:

NameBio and Experience
Sridhar Athreya (Chairman)Risk management specialist in the finance sector, currently Head of Risk and Compliance, Business Partner – Capita People Solutions, Capita plc. Former Harvard Fellow in Finance.
Mohammed Sanusi DaggashNigerian architect and businessman; former Federal Senator and Minister.
Ian DouglasEmeritus Professor of Physical Geography, University of Manchester, UK; Past Chairman of CHEC and of the Society for Human Ecology
Richard EvansDirector of Marylebone Executive Search (UK) running a practice which focuses on the charity and not for profit business sectors.
Huia ForbesTrained as a solicitor, Ph.D. on a marginalised Maori tribe, currently Private Secretary to the Minister of Conservation, New Zealand.
Margaret Evans (CBE)Former journalist in newspapers, radio and television, Mayor of Hamilton (1989-1998). She was the first woman elected mayor in the city’s 150year history and won recognition as a ‘sustainability’ pioneer – integrating resource management and environmental issues alongside economic development and social/cultural concerns.
Letitia ObengThe first woman in Ghana to be awarded a doctorate; former director at the Regional Office for Africa of the United Nations Environment Programme; and first female president of Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Asenath OmwegaCurrently in charge of the strategic programme performance monitoring and reporting functions in UN-Habitat, Nairobi; previously International Director for the Africa Region and in-charge of the whole HIV/AIDS Program of ActionAid International.
Mark RobinsonChairman of the Governing Board of CHEC; formerly UK Member of Parliament and Minister of Health and Housing in Wales and also Assistant Director in Office of the Commonwealth Secretary-General in London.
Tom RoaDr Tom Roa (Ngāti Maniapoto, Waikato) is a Tainui leader and Manukura / Associate Professor in the University of Waikato’s Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies. He is a member of The Waitangi Tribunal and of the New Zealand Māori Tourism board and an expert in translation between te reo Māori and English.

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