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SAWN-Support and Action for Women Network was established in 2007 to promote the welfare of Black/African women in Oldham and Great Manchester. SAWN´s aim is to realise the full potential of women by engaging them in activities, providing opportunities and events to make women independent, self-sustaining, and key players in matters that concern them.


Our Mission: To realise the full potential of the African Woman through solidarity.


Our Vision: African Women becoming independent, self-sustainable, and key players in decision matters that concern them.




What We Do

    • Train, educate, and provide opportunities to raise awareness.
    • Working in partnership with other statutory and voluntary agencies to remove barriers to participation through creating a culturally sensitive approach to tackling FGM.
    • Working and reaching out to marginalized communities through working closely with faith and community leaders.
    • Provide a service that meets the specialist needs of Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) women by giving them a voice.
    • Forge links with hard-to-reach communities in Oldham and Greater Manchester, in particular African communities.
    • To promote the welfare of BAME prisoners and aid rehabilitation within the prison regime
    • Provide a Through the Gate Support service to BAME ex-offenders.

SAWN’s Governing Board

Annette Williams - Chair

Annette Williams has 30 years of experience in the social work sector. Annette has been qualified as a social worker since 1991. Since then she has worked as a field social worker working in the local authority with children and families. During this period she has also lectured on the Master’s Degree in Social Work course and has since trained extensively on a range of safeguarding and child protection areas from Basic Foundation Training to Female Genital Mutilation. Annette has extensive experience of working with BME families as a specialism and has worked individually with children around issues of identity.


Since June 2015 Annette has worked as a Safeguarding Advisor for thirty one: eight (formerly known as CCPAS) providing a range of safeguarding services and advice to faith organisations and places of worship covering vulnerable children and adults at risk of harm. Amongst her wider responsibilities, she is the Lead for strategic work focusing on BME communities.


Annette currently undertakes independent work in relation to her professional experience in the form of consultancy, lecturing, training and risk assessment of BME families involved in the child protection and LAC systems. She is also an associate of Just Psychology CIC as an independent trainer, expert witness and Family Group Conference coordinator.

Rose Kirunda - Vice Chair

Rose is a qualified Social worker, practicing for 7 years and works within the adult Social care sector. Rose has been a board member for SAWN for 3 years.  And now in a new role of Vice Chair. Rose is keen on women especially home makers and being independent and self-sustainability and looking for resources to improve their situations whichever that may be.

Lillian Musiitwa - Treasurer

Lillian is a  practicing social worker and has worked in Children Services since 2011 to present. Lillian  holds a BSC Honours in social work. Lillian also holds the professional practice consolidation award (PQ1) obtained in May 2014.  Lillian brings her experience of being a treasurer for many years in her local church .

Lillian have worked with vulnerable children and their families for 10 years as a social worker and has also volunteered with the Citizens Advice Bureau where her roles included advising and advocating for refugees and asylum seekers on accessing services in their community.

Lillian is  passionate about supporting and empowering vulnerable individuals and likes to see them achieving their full potential.

Tendayi Madzuzu - Board Member

Tendayi is a PhD Research Student at Leeds Beckett University, and holds a MA in Education from Leeds Beckett University, a PGCE (Post 16) from University of Huddersfield, and Bachelor of Education (Primary Education) from University of Zimbabwe.


Tendayi is a Community Researcher and  Community Connector, with 16 years’ experience primary school teaching from Zimbabwe, 2 years in FE college in England. Tendayi has  13 years’ experience in all aspects of community work in various roles (voluntary and paid work) has held several management roles: Management Chairperson for Manchester Refugee Support Network (MRSN), Committee Member (MRSN) Secretary Zimbabwe Women’s Organisation (ZIWO).


Mrs Rose Ssali CEO Support and Action for Women's Network - SAWN

Rose Ssali - Chief Executive Officer

Rose is the founder of SAWN, she is passionate about women and families having a voice in issues concerning them and their future. Rose holds a Master’s Degree in English and a post-graduate Certificate from Manchester Metropolitan University in Asset-Based Community Approaches (working with people) and Undergraduate in Social Sciences. Rose also holds an ILM Award in Leadership and Management.


Rose has training in Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities (SFSC) and a counselling certificate and various related training. Rose has been working within the African communities in Greater Manchester for 15 years. Rose’s roles include advocacy, advice, and training and one-to-one support in various issues affecting the African community like Immigration, FGM, Domestic Violence, Parenting, Money Matters, and harmful practices.


Rose is also the chair of Mama Health and Poverty Partnership -MHaPP, a partnership of 14 Black women-led organisations that provide services for Black women in Greater Manchester. 

Karen Saville Croft - Community Connector

Karen is an ordinary person who has had some extraordinary experiences both personal and professional within the statutory, third, and community sectors over a forty-year period. These experiences have directed and informed her beliefs, values and practice not only as a registered social worker / Mental Capacity Act / Best Interests Assessor but more importantly as a human being with a passion for change and improvement.

Karen started her career in nursing moving to community work and advocacy work in the 1990’s designing and delivering volunteer advocacy in partnership with disabled citizens. From 2013 to 2017 Karen supported and managed a team responsible for the modernisation and implementation of personalised Health & Social Care policy and processes including the design, facilitation, and delivery of bespoke training to Local Authority and Health staff, Independent and Internal providers to build confidence, resilience and ensure best practice. Personally, Karen has for the past six years managed a substantial personal health budget with her husband including all aspects of recruitment, training, quality assurance, positive risk management in a personalized way that not only satisfies the requirements of the CHC / CCG policy and practice but ensures he is living not existing.


Karen is an In Control Associate and having completed the first Partners in Policymaking Course in 1996 has regularly presented on the course throughout the UK in addition to voluntary work within the local community. Passionate about people, life, and community as demonstrated through her voluntary work with SAWN, Karen is also passionate about death having supported many people from all walks of life to have the best death of their choice with dignity, love, and respect where possible. Karen has recently undertaken a Funeral Celebrancy course to enhance her practice.

Barbara Nambuya - Finance/ Administrator

Barbara is SAWN’s Money Matters Lead. Barbara worked for several years within the Microfinance Industry and has done a lot of outreach work with women’s community groups. She is also a qualified teacher, accountant and Certified Internal Auditor.