Alexis Kiray

Advocacy Officer at Pohwer Advocacy and CEO/Founder of BEZA 

MSc International Development (Environment, Sustainability and Politics) 2017

It has always been my passion to make a difference in the world. Although it is a very simple thing to notice the trouble or the suffering around the world, most of the time people fail to fully realise the root causes, which leads to a lack of appropriate policy prescriptions vis-à-vis these global challenges.

Why did you chose to study at the University of Birmingham?

Studying at the University of Birmingham offers a unique opportunity for graduates aiming to make a positive change in the world, but there are many reasons why I have chosen to study at Birmingham.

First of all, the City of Birmingham, as a global city in the heart of the UK, offers a vibrant atmosphere and a warm welcome to students from a diverse background, making it a great and genuine place to live and study.

Secondly, not only is the University of Birmingham listed among the top 100 universities in the world for outstanding quality education, it also offers some of the world’s best courses and interdisciplinary study pathways which attract students from all over the world.

International Development is among these exciting courses and it offers in-depth understanding about how to tackle global challenges such as poverty, conflicts, inequality, social justice and environment scarcity phenomenon. It was by reading through the environment sustainability pathway course details that I decided to apply to the University of Birmingham.

Why did you choose to study International Development and does it continue to impact on your experiences?

My choice in studying International Development was to deepen my knowledge and critical thinking about how to tackle today’s global challenges. The Environment Sustainability Pathway Course that I majored in has had a significant impact on my understanding about the need for placing sustainable development at the heart of the global development thinking. The course covered a wide range of issues such as climate change challenges, degradation of natural resources, poverty reduction efforts and distribution of power and resources for a more participatory politics.

We learned that both education and environment-friendly policies can play a vital role in reversing a looming environmental degradation threat. 

Describe your current role and organisation

I am the founder and CEO of the BEZA Foundation, which is a non-profit organisation working to support out-of-school orphans and children from the poorest households in Africa to gain access to basic and quality education. From providing financial aid towards school fees, learning materials and school uniforms, the BEZA Foundation aims to give every child a chance to learn and have an education that will change their lives and that of their communities.

There is no doubt that my experience at the University of Birmingham helped me to become more determined to pursue a goal of making a difference to the world. BEZA Foundation is currently present in 4 African countries – Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda and Nigeria – and we endeavour to reach out to more countries while advocating for a more practical universal education for all.

I also work for Pohwer Advocacy, a Birmingham-based not-for-profit organisation supporting people’s empowerment for self-advocacy and speaking up for their own rights. We provide independent advocacy service to empower disadvantaged and vulnerable people to access high quality information, advice and advocacy services. A typical day for me at Pohwer Advocacy would normally involve partnership and integrated working: close working with Responsible Clinicians, Care Coordinators/Managers, Social Workers, carers, home/ward managers, key workers, hospital staff and managing referrals.

Did you participate in extra-curricular activities, if so how have these helped you in your current career?

I had the privilege to be one of the initiators of ‘African Day,’ and I worked along with other African colleagues to make the day successful. The aim of having an African Day in IDD was to present Africa from Africans’ perspectives and to emphasise that Africa is part of a global solution not part of the problem.

We invited speakers to talk about global issues facing Africa and the world in general, and we discussed policy prescriptions, their strengths and limitations. It was also an opportunity to share with guests the tasty cuisines from various African countries.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received (career or otherwise)?

Failure helps to transform and improve our future selves.

What one word would you use to describe the University of Birmingham?


Alexis Kiray


We Are (Third Width)

Alexis Kiray

“Always be open and flexible to changes”