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Meet our chief executive, Caroline Harper

Caroline Harper.

Dr Caroline Harper has been chief executive of Sightsavers since 2005.

She started her career in the gas business, working for British Gas and then Hess Corporation, before setting up her own company specialising in the turnaround and sale of energy companies. After a couple of years she took a gap year and travelled to a number of developing countries, and felt drawn to international development. “My own family has a lot of blindness, so the mission of Sightsavers really resonated for me,” she explains.

“When I joined the organisation in 2005 it was well respected, but not particularly well known outside of the blindness community. My vision has been to ensure it is respected as a leading organisation more widely in development, to reach more people and increase our influence.

“It is important to look at how eye health fits within a developing health system, and we have become a major player in the field of neglected tropical diseases, several of which cause blindness. In our advocacy work, we believe that to support blind people you need to talk about this in the context of disability if you want to engage governments.”

Caroline has a PhD in energy studies from the University of Cambridge. In 2000 she was awarded an OBE for services to the gas industry, and in 2015 she received a CBE for services to people with visual impairments. She has an honorary doctorate in science from the University of Bristol.

Under her leadership, Sightsavers has expanded significantly, treating millions of people and advocating for policy reforms around the world.

Children at the eye care unit at Kenema in Sierra Leone

“I’d like to honour the bravery of our staff”

Caroline shares her experiences from a trip to Sierra Leone, where she learned how eye care services and health workers have coped since the Ebola virus.

Read Caroline’s report

More about our CEO

A group of women wait for their turn to be screened at a trachoma outreach camp in the Pwani region of eastern Tanzania.
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News / NTDs /

Sightsavers CEO hails progress on tackling NTDs in East Africa

Dr Caroline Harper visited Tanzania and Uganda this week to highlight the advances being made to eliminate blinding trachoma.

Caroline Harper.
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Sightsavers’ Caroline Harper named in New Year Honours

Dr Harper has been appointed a CBE in recognition of her services to people with visual impairments around the world.

Caroline Harper smiling in front of off-white background.
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Sightsavers chief executive interviewed for World Sight Day

Dr Caroline Harper spoke about avoidable blindness as part of an interview on Insight Radio to mark World Sight Day.

Learn about Sightsavers’ history

Read our story