About Us

Coda International was founded in 1989 to support the work of grassroots social movements in Nicaragua and South Africa (click here for more detail on our origins). Since then we have established an impressive track record by running over 30 projects, and managing millions of pounds in funding. From 2019 Coda has re-launched with a new digital development focus.

The founders of Coda focused their efforts on providing support to organisations like the Nicaraguan Community Movement and the South African National Civic Organisation with financial support from the UK government (ODA) and National Lottery Fund. When the founders moved on to new organisations, a second generation of Coda leadership successfully expanded the organisation’s work to Palestine, West Africa and Central America with support from Comic Relief and the UK government (DFID).

Now Coda has re-launched with a third generation of leaders, comprising some of the original founders, plus new members experienced in development issues. This time Coda will initially have a digital development focus, using mobile and internet technology to amplify the work of social movements.

The Board of Trustees now includes three of Coda‘s original founders: Dr. Tony Roberts, who now co-leads the Digital and Technology research team at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS); Geoff Minshull, founder and CEO of Direct Learn, and founder of Coda Training Nottingham; and Joanna Howard, who leads the Participation team at IDS. Also returning to the Board is Sonia Sinanan, re-joining her ex-colleague from Comic Relief Sulemana Abudulai, whose presence on the Coda Board has been consistent for more than fifteen years. The newest Board members are Anna Colom from BBC Media Action and Dr. Sammia Poveda from the University of Sheffield.

The Board are ably supported by a volunteer staff team of Neville Thompson, a masters postgraduate from SOAS who leads on our work with TALC Zambia; Grace Higdon, a masters postgraduate from IDS who leads on our work with the People’s Health Movement in South Africa, and Paul Adair, a masters student at IDS who is leading our work with Constituency Watch in Zambia.

Initially, we are planning to provide support to three grassroots social movements – all of which are making exciting use of digital development to enhance their existing work:

  1. Constituency Watch Zambia: using Facebook as an organising tool for citizens to engage with local politicians and hold them accountable to communities.
  2. Health Enabled South Africa: using mobile phones as an organising tool for citizens to demand essential health services through the People’s Health Movement.
  3. Treatment Advocacy Literacy Campaign: using text messages to send appointment reminders and health literacy messages from and to People Living With HIV in Zambia.