No one better understands the silencing and exclusion that women and girls face than those who have lived the experience, and no one is better able to propose solutions that respond to these lived realities than those that are going … Read More
No one better understands the silencing and exclusion that women and girls face than those who have lived the experience, and no one is better able to propose solutions that respond to these lived realities than those that are going … Read More
In Francophone West Africa, a law in most penal codes in the region, which related to identity theft, is used against trans individuals, particularly trans women. A simple trip in the daytime as a trans woman can have severe repercussion … Read More
Public spaces are shrinking for women’s rights activists and others to thrive; legal, participatory and policy spaces continue to shrink as each day dawns for civil societies and organisations. Activists continuously receive threats that impede their mobility, with some being … Read More
In January 2015, protesters in Cairo, Egypt took to the streets for a peaceful demonstration meant to mark the fourth anniversary of Egypt’s Arab Spring uprising. Organised by Socialist Popular Alliance Party, the demonstration was set out to be a … Read More
Lydia Mukami is one of the women human rights defenders in Kenya. She was threatened and assaulted for her activism to improve the economic wellbeing of women farmers in Mwea agricultural scheme.
Farmers have long decried the policies and management … Read More
Atieno Odhiambo is a lawyer whose work focuses on human rights, democracy and governance. She is currently the Technical Lead – Africa for the Center for Reproductive Rights, a global legal advocacy organization
dedicated to advancing reproductive rights. She is the past Chief of Party (Kenya) for Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG) a global pro bono law firm that that provides legal assistance to states, governments and civil society organizations. Before taking up her position at PILPG, Atieno worked for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Kenya.
Prior to joining the Supreme Court of Kenya, Atieno worked on immigrant and human rights issues in Washington State at Microsoft Corporation, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and Columbia Legal Services. Atieno received her undergraduate degree in History from Rice University in Houston, Texas and her law degree from Tulane University School of Law in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Jean is a Ugandan national, a passionate African feminist with over 15 years’ experience in the development sector in women’s rights programming. She has expertise and experience on gender equality & women’s empowerment with a focus on prevention and response to violence against women across the Sub-Saharan Africa context including program strategy development, capacity building for NGOs, advocacy and research.
Jean has been a practitioner at senior management level over the past 8 years leading strategy development for the regional GBV Prevention Network at Raising Voices from information
sharing to a comprehensive feminist movement building programme. Over the years this work has contributed to a rapid increase, interest and investment in addressing violence against women within the region and building a critical mass of GBV prevention network membership. She initiated a range of partnerships with regional feminist networks like FEMNET, INGOs like the IRC, Sexual Violence Research Center, UN Agencies, including UN Women in Uganda and at regional level and coordinated collaborations with feminist movement building organisations like Just Associates (South East Asia) and Intercambios Allianz (Latin America). She has served in advisory capacity on committees like the African Integrated
Response initiated by the Stephen Lewis Foundation and hosted by African Women’s Development Fund.
She believes in agency of African women to not only innovate solutions of pertinent issues affecting their lives but also generate knowledge for a global audience.
Jean is co-author of among other publications, Get Moving! curriculum a feminist organization transformation tool for addressing GBV and led a its adaptation to address sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse in humanitarian settings in partnership with the IRC. Previously her work revolved around chronic poverty research, policy advocacy, and community-based HIV awareness and response.
She was instrumental in civil society advocacy for a social protection policy in Uganda. Jean completed a Masters Degree in Social Sector Planning and Management and Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and Social Administration from Makerere University Kampala Uganda.
Board Secretary (Kenya)
Njoki is a committed grassroots organizer/mobilizer and activist. A Pan-Africanist, feminist, and popular educator, her expertise includes women’s land rights, gender justice, community rights, and environmental justice.
She is co-founder & Executive Director of Daughters of Mumbi Global Resource Center (DOM), an independent non-ethnic, non-partisan Nairobi-based network. Prior to her 2005 return to Kenya, Ms. Njehû served as Director of the 50 Years Is Enough: U.S. Network for Global Economic Justice & Campaign Manager (Toxic Trade Campaign) for Greenpeace International . She has testified three (3) times before the U.S. Congress, on debt, HIV/AIDS and other crises facing Africa.
Njoki is the coordinator of the Pan-African Fight Inequality Alliance, Chair of the Board Urgent Action Fund- Africa (UAF-Africa) and Board member of Natural Justice. She has been profiled and widely quoted in print and broadcast media, including: Time Magazine, The Daily Nation (Kenya), The Financial Times (U.K), The New York Times, The Sankei Shimbun (Japan), The Washington Post, BBC, CNN International, and various radio & TV stations in Kenya.
Chief Executive Officer
Ndana Bofu-Tawamba is the CEO of Urgent Action Fund Africa (UAF-Africa). She brings to the global human and womn’s rights movements a wealth of international experience across a broad spectrum of equity-focused issues. For over two decades, Ndana has built bridges between civil society and social justice funders to address gender, racial, socio-political, economic, and environmental injustices.
Ndana is a staunch feminist voice for enhanced womn’s rights investments. She has leveraged over USD180 million towards strengthening African womn’s rights movements. She is a published writer and public speaker on Feminist and Pan-African Philanthropies, African Womn’s Leadership, and the Power of Social Movements in Africa.
Ndana is an Executive Education alumnus of Harvard Kennedy School of Government in the USA, University of Stellenbosch Business School in South Africa, and INSEAD Business Schools in France and Singapore. She is a Senior International Fellow at the Centre on Philanthropy and Civil Society at CUNY, USA. She earned her Master’s Degree in Women’s Studies from Lancaster University, UK, and obtained her Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Social Psychology from the University of Zimbabwe.
Ndana serves on the Board of the African Philanthropy Network. Her leadership at UAF-Africa, the UN, academia, international boards, and regional consultancies on philanthropy, human rights, social movements & governance has meant extensive engagements across the world, thereby presenting her the opportunity to weave her commitment to social justice with an opportunity to further explore womn and girl’s realities throughout the world.
Amel Gorani is an international development specialist with a focus on countries in and emerging from conflict. Amel is the Director for the Center for Community and Civic Engagement at Carleton College in . Minnesota. Before joining Carleton, she served as Inclusion Coordinator for the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue – a peace mediation organization based in Switzerland. She has also worked for international development agencies, non-profit organizations and philanthropic foundations in Africa, Europe and the United States.She has served as Senior Advisor for Vulnerable and Marginalized Groups at the USAID- Sudan Mission and as Program Officer at the Open Society Foundations’ International Women’s Program and the Swedish International Development Agency Somalia and Sudan programs. She also served as Executive Director for Sudan Future Care – Amal Trust, an NGO working in war-affected areas in Eastern Sudan. Amel has worked on several countries across Africa, the Middle East and Asia, most extensively on her native Sudan and the countries of the Horn of Africa. Her work has focused on peace and security, political engagement, social justice and women’s rights. She has also worked on migration, integration and anti-discrimination issues, mostly in Sweden where she lived for many years.
Feminist Republik Culture Curator
Prior to joining UAF-Africa, Shinaz worked as a social worker, theatre trainer and a project officer within different projects of AMREF’s Children In Need Programme. She has extensive experience and expertise in women’s rights, development and implementation of legal policies
and community oriented capacity development on psychosocial issues. She is passionate about women’s human rights and keen on the intersectionalities between women’s rights and religion with emphasis on fundamentalisms, women and natural resources governance, policy reforms and has specific interest on Young Women and Girls in Africa.Shinaz’s rare skills set in legal, social work and the arts has been greatly valued at UAF-Africa’s grant making portfolio where intersectional strategies in the provision of grants is of huge priority. Her analytical, inquisitive and curious nature has afforded her the opportunity to conduct instructive grant making due diligence thereby ensuring provision of sound and innovative grants that have gone on to change women’s realities on the ground.
She holds an LLB from the University of Nairobi School of Law and Diplomas in Project Management and Social Work and Development. She is currently completing her studies in French and finalizing her Master of Arts Degree in International Relations and Political Science from the University of Nairobi. She enjoys fashion, art, reading, sewing, cooking and working out during her spare time.
Solidarity & Support Senior Programme Officer - Economic Justice
Susan is a pan-African feminist, with over 12 years’ experience championing gender equality, women’s rights advocacy, and feminist activism across a spectrum of fields.
She is currently pursuing a Master’s of Science Degree in Development Management at The Open University-United Kingdom. She holds a post-graduate diploma in conflict and development from The Open University-United Kingdom, a post-graduate diploma in gender equality studies from the University of Iceland, a bachelor’s degree in social work and social administration from Uganda Christian University, and a certificate in gender statistics from statistics Sweden.
Prior to joining Urgent Action Fund-Africa (UAF-A), Susan served as Uganda’s National Mentor/Gender Advisor at the Swedish International Center for Local Democracy (ICLD), where she coordinated projects on Gender Mainstreaming Local Democracy in Municipal Council structures.
As Program Manager at the National Association of Women’s Organizations in Uganda (NAWOU), Susan drafted a gender statistics publication for Uganda, to be used as a national tool for evidence-based advocacy, in addition to a gender barometer for advocacy for East Africa’s heads of state. Her program management competence has also been acknowledged, earning her the role of Uganda’s Ambassador to UN Women Singapore for her work in empowering rural women with economic skills for self-sustenance.
While at Isis-WICCE, Susan coordinated the women’s task force which advocated for women’s specific needs to take priority in the National Peace Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP) for war-affected Northern Uganda. Through consolidated advocacy for social justice reforms, research and knowledge generation, movement and coalition building, and resource mobilization.
Susan has worked to empower women and influence legislation and policy for gender equality in Uganda and across the globe.
In her leisure time, she enjoys jogging, sightseeing, and shopping.
Chiedza is a Zimbabwean national with a wealth of experience in administration, having worked as an executive administrator in different capacities over a period spanning 6 years. During this time, she managed offices and operations of senior executives in various companies in the hospitality industry.
She is very strategic and intentional in her execution of tasks and her experience working in sensitive offices has honed her ability to plan, multi-task, and be extremely organized. She has amassed a wealth of experience working with high-profile personalities from various spheres of life including industry and commerce, politics, religion, and entertainment. Her interactions with people of different nationalities, and cultural and religious backgrounds have helped her appreciate the power of diversity.
Chiedza holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Women’s University in Africa, a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing Management from the Institute of Marketing Management (South Africa), a Diploma in Marketing (LCCI), and a Diploma in Executive Secretarial (LCCI), a Certificate in Operations Management from the University of Cape Town and a Certificate in Management Development Skills for Executive and Personal Assistants (Zimbabwe Institute of Management).
She is passionate about her personal development and that of those around her and has a soft spot for environmental issues and human rights – particularly the rights of the girl child and minority groups.
Her other interests include reading and traveling.
Solidarity & Support Programme Officer-Sustaining AWHRDs
Edmond is a Burundian national. Prior to officially joining Urgent Action Fund-Africa in January 2016, Edmond had been working intermittently at the Fund in various capacities since May 2010 under the Grantmaking Programme. Edmond is instrumental in facilitating
the Fund’s outreach to and learning from Francophone women’s rights organisations and activists and in translation of English materials to French and vice versa thereby enabling Francophone grantees, advisors and partners to benefit from the Fund’s technical and financial support for the advancement of women’s human rights across the continent. He plays a major role in organizing UAF-Africa’s conferences/webinars in/for Francophone countries. His work experience at UAF-Africa has grounded his global perspective and developed his interest and awareness on different cultural, political, social and economic contexts.
His self-motivated spirit has made him set a target of speaking ten languages. Edmond is now fluent in French, English, Korean, Swahili, Kirundi, and Kinyarwanda and is currently learning Deutsch. He has enriched his language and translation skills by providing interpretation and translation services to various organisations including Fahamu, New Mark Group, and Elloca. Edmond holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Integrated Community Development from Daystar University-Kenya and a certificate of Korean Language efficiency from Kosin University-South Korea. He is currently finalizing his Master’s Degree Programme in Leadership and Organisational Management.
In his spare time, Edmond enjoys reading novels, jogging, cycling, watching detective and spy movies, making new friends, and of course learning new languages!
ICT & Database Officer
Joanne Mahinda is a Kenyan national. Before joining UAF-Africa, she worked for International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) providing technical support, diagnosing and resolving hardware and software incidents.She has a vast experience providing support for users of different software applications.Joanne also worked for the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) where she offered administrative support to system users where she served as the first point of contact for service providers, suppliers, partners, and visitors.
Joanne holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from The Catholic University of Eastern Africa. She has more than five years’ experience in ICT customer support,the configuration of applications, infrastructure management, and information technology service management. She also has a professional certificate in Cisco Certified
Networks Associate (CCNA), Business intelligence and Data analytics Foundation. She is currently pursuing a Postgraduate Diploma in Information Security and Ethical Hacking.
In her spare time, Joanne enjoys reading, jogging and providing life and career mentorship to young women.
Vongai is a journalist by profession, she holds a B.Sc Honours Degree in Media and Society Studies. Prior to joining UAF- Africa, she worked with Chengeto Zimbabwe Trust, a media-based organisation, as a Programmes Officer. In her role as Programmes Officer she explored, investigated and unpacked issues around rape, child sexual exploitation, child labour, gender-based violence, gender inequality and child marriages.
She also worked at Musasa project as Assistant Programmes Officer, a post she held for more than three years. Among other duties, she ran a programme on promoting a culture of active citizen engagement in governance and development processes using ICT and other more conventional modes of communication.
This programme gave voice to communities, and in particular young women in Zimbabwe using the communication for development approach. Vongai is compassionate and enthusiastic about women’s advancement, she firmly believes in a society where women and girls are not only seen but are heard.
She also believes that when women and girls are empowered, they can realise that they have power within themselves to bring change in their lives and
communities they live in. Realising that girls and women in Africa always find themselves on the periphery of discussions and development processes,
she is very ardent about using media to develop communities.
Vongai is currently working towards a Master’s Degree in Gender and Development studies with National University of Science & Technology, Zimbabwe.
Nyasha is a Zimbabwean national. She works as the hygienist, hospitality, staff and office orderly assistant in the Zimbabwe office where she runs the day to day office errands.She is highly motivated and is excited to learn and grow with the Fund.
She is a women’s human rights activist, and strong advocate for social and economic justice.
During her spare time, she loves going to church and enjoys morning jogs
Rosette is a Ugandan national, passionate about women’s human rights with a focus on the adolescent girls and young women. She has experience in Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning and holds a Masters Degree in Monitoring and Evaluation from Uganda Management institute.
Her thesis focused on data utilisation for decision making in non-governmental organisations. Prior to joining UAF-Africa, Rosette worked as an M&E Specialist
for various donor funded programs including USAID and DFID. She has experience in setting up M&E systems, Performance based financing for grantees, capacity building,
and reporting writing among others.
Director - People & Culture
Nancy has worked in conflict and post-conflict African countries with the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations, (UNDPKO). Her career with the UN spans for 8 years, where she worked with the UN Mission in Liberia,
UNMIL, and UN Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID). Nancy holds a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Zimbabwe and BA in Sociology and Economics from Africa University. She is a Certified HR Generalist Professional, with membership to the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD), which is the main professional body to accredit and award professional human resources (HR) qualifications. Nancy loves the field of Human Resources Administration and Management; she has worked in the field for over 14 years and is very excited about the endless possibilities at UAF-Africa. Nancy works from Harare, Zimbabwe.
Sharon Ng’eno, is the first born in her family, a feminist, lover of people and believer in girls and young women potential to change their society. Her life has been greatly influenced by women who have positively mentored her throughout her life.
She appreciates and applauds girls and women’s leadership, strength, wisdom, courage and resilience. Education opened doors for her, and she wants all girls to get an education. She believes in Maya Angelou’s words in knowing better is doing better.
Before joining UAF-Africa, she worked at Akili Dada, an award-winning leadership incubator for girls and young women as the Finance Associate and Grants and Executive Associate. She enjoys working in the development space because she has the opportunity to serve humanity in meaningful ways. She loves Finance and its role in realizing the vision of an organisation.
Sharon has a degree in Bachelor of Commerce, Finance option from Kenyatta University. She is also a certified Public Accountant Kenya (CPA (K)) and an alumnus of Moi Girls High School, Eldoret. She is passionate about her work as it directly touches and transforms the lives of girls and young women. Sharon is motivated by women who are breaking the glass ceiling and paving way for future generation of girls and young women leaders. She aspires to be the best version of herself every day and to thrive with others in the different spaces she occupies.
She loves reading, swimming and engaging in rich conversations with friends, especially her grandmother.
Member (South Africa)
Faye has over 20 years of finance, operations and development experience. She is currently responsible for the strategic operations function at AWID where she upholds feminist principles and values.
Faye previously held a Head of Finance and Operations role at Paediatric Adolescent Treatment for Africa and Just Associates Incorporated Southern Africa. She also held Directorship roles for international Computer Driving License (ICDL) in Central and Southern Africa.
She also held Directorship roles for international Computer Driving License (ICDL) in Central and Southern Africa. Faye is a board member for ICDL in South Africa and P World Link Trust. She also holds a B.Compt in Accounting Science from University of South Africa and is a member of the Southern African Institute for Business Accountants.
Director of Finance & Operations
Pamela is a qualified accountant with several years of experience in financial management, implementation of internal controls and financial reporting. She has been with the Fund since 2004 and heads the Finance and Administrative roles of UAF-Africa.
Her prior work experience includes working as a Financial Accountant at General Motors Ltd where she was exposed to various financial management roles within the Finance Department.She was awarded a Masters in Accounting from the Bowling Green State University, USA and earned her Bachelor of Commerce degree from Kenyatta University, Kenya. She is also a member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya –ICPAK, and has undertaken short courses in audit, taxation and resource mobilization. Pamela serves on the Kenya Advisory Board of Global Education Fund.
Grantmaking Programme Officer – Francophone
Roseline has over 13 years of experience working on various projects to support women and girls empowerment at the grassroots level. She is passionate about the empowerment of women and the education of children. She worked in Cameroon as Finance Manager for a local NGO for 6 years and for a Swiss NGO for 10 years as Programmes & Finance Manager.
She volunteered as Advisor for the Young Feminist Fund (FRIDA) for 4 years and worked as a Transformation Support Consultant for the same organization.
She cofounded a youth female led organization working to improve girls and women’s rights in rural remote areas of Cameroon. She designed and implemented educational,
income generating, micro credit and environmental activities for women in Cameroon.
During her stay with FRIDA, she had the opportunity to work with various young feminist groups grantee partners for FRIDA in Sub Saharan Africa, assisting them in
capacity development, communication and conducting outreach. She facilitated FRIDA’s annual participatory grant making processes by screening applications,
reviewing final results, and supporting due diligence.
Roseline is fluent in French and English. She holds a master’s degree in commerce and Distribution from the Catholic University of Central Africa in Cameroon.
Roseline is very excited to be part of the team at UAF – Africa. She looks forward to engaging with women’s rights activists and organisations, especially those
from Francophone Africa with whom she hopes to learn and collaborate to advance the rights of women.
Director - Partnerships & Development
Prior to joining UAF-Africa, Tariro lectured in Gender, HIV&AIDS and the Law at Great Zimbabwe University. She worked at Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association (ZWLA) as the Transformative Justice Manager as well as at Plan International and Musasa Project
in various coordination and advisory capacities. Her core expertise is in the areas of gender based violence, human rights and the law as it impacts on women. Tariro is a seasoned gender legal researcher and analyst who has spearheaded several cutting edge women-centred partnership initiatives in Zimbabwe and within Africa.
Tariro holds a Master’s degree in Women’s Law (MSWL) attained from Southern and East African Regional Centre for Women’s Law (University of Zimbabwe), a Bachelor of Laws Honours Degree (LLBS) from the University of Zimbabwe and an Executive Certificate in Community Development and Humanitarian Project Management.She recently participated in the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) in the US.
In 2015 she was nominated for the Female Youth Human Rights Defender Zimbabwe Award.Tariro enjoys mentoring young women leaders. She is an avid legal and social justice journals reader and a keen blogger who writes about socio-political, legal and gender justice issues. Tariro is a fitness-cum-wellness enthusiast; a runner who has actively participated in the 2 Oceans (56 Km) Marathon in South Africa.
Learning, Monitoring & Evaluation Officer
Hiwot is an Ethiopian; learning, monitoring, evaluation and accountability professional. Hiwot’s passion for Women’s human rights and feminism is deeply influenced by the strong women in her life.
She has a combined experience of working both for humanitarian and development organisation. She has designed LM&E systems and tools and managed data intensive programs. Hiwot has spent over 13 years working in learning, monitoring and evaluation with community level organizations, volunteers and donors.
Prior to joining Urgent Action Fund-Africa (UAF-A), Hiwot served as Monitoring and Evaluation coordinator for Population Services International, where she coordinated LM &E activities for a multiyear USAID funded Transform WASH Project, implemented in 40 districts all over Ethiopia.
She has also designed the M &E plan, the M &E Scope of work and lead in the operationalization of the M &E system for more than 40 projects in Ethiopia and Djibouti. Hiwot has expertise in training and capacity building, program monitoring and evaluation. Hiwot while working
for the Danish refugee Council, she spearheaded the development and roll-out of a successful M&E system from scratch.
She holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from Indihar Gandhi National Open university and a bachelor’s degree in Business Management
from university of Gondar.
She is grateful to be a part of the UAF-Africa team and support the work of empowering Women’s human right’s defenders. In her spare time,she likes reading, cooking and traveling.
Grantmaking & Programme Attaché
Vanessa Luendo Bwale is a Congolese national from DRC and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications graduate from Daystar University Kenya. In Vanessa has worked with NewMark Group as PR account manager.
She is currently undertaking her Masters Degree in Diplomacy, Development and International Security and is well versed in issues pertaining to women’s rights and development.
Through the different countries she’s lived and worked in, Vanessa developed over the years unparalleled abilities in contextual and critical analysis that will support UAF Africa in advancing women’s human rights across Africa.
She previously taught English in India through AIESEC and is fluent in French, English, Kiswahili and is currently learning Spanish. She acquired interpretation and translation skills through her work with Oxfam GB and African Voices. In her spare time, she enjoys writing, cooking, travelling and reading motivational books.
Feminist Republik Champion
Zanele is a feminist who is passionate about women’s rights advocacy,with a focus on lgbtiqa+ rights and sexual reproductive health rights. She holds a BA degree in Psychology and Sociology from Rhodes University (South Africa) and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Gender Studies and Development at the University of Nairobi.
Zanele is a Kenyan national who has lived and completed her schooling in South Africa before re-locating back to Kenya in 2018. She is excited about being part of the UAF-Africa team in contributing towards women’s empowerment and advocacy.
In her spare time, Zanele enjoys reading, hiking and travelling.
Miriam is a Kenyan national. She works as a hospitality focal person in the Kenyan office where she runs the day to day office care services. She has a keen eye for details and is a very cheerful person. Miriam is passionate about promoting the rights
of vulnerable grassroots women. She volunteers some of her time to local women empowerment initiatives in her community. She appreciates the need to provide support towards women’s human rights. In her free time, Miriam a mother of two children, loves to cook and take care of people around her.
Solidarity & Support Officer - SRHR
Daphne is a feminist who is passionate about women’s rights advocacy, with a special focus on Gender Based Violence, child marriages and Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR). She has over four years’ experience in feminist organising and women’s rights advocacy. Her advocacy and activism work prior to joining UAF-Africa centred on content creation using online alternative media for activism and human rights advocacy, with Childline Zimbabwe. She has been awarded various fellowships particularly focusing on Sexual Reproductive and Health Rights.
Her experience in strategic communications is evident in the work she has done with various online advocacy platforms including those focusing on women’s rights, children’s rights and human rights law. Daphne holds a B.Sc. (Hons) in Media and Society Studies from the Midlands State University (MSU) and a Master of Science in Development studies from Women’s University in Africa. She also has qualifications in Project Management, Project Monitoring and Evaluation and Public Relations. In her spare time, Daphne enjoys reading, writing and travelling.
Feminist Republik Creative Facilitator
Melissa Wainaina is an African queer feminist based in Kenya heavily involved in African feminist spaces that advance women and girls’ holistic security and safety, collective care and healing justice. She has over 12 years’ experience in the non-profit sector
Having worked since 2006 mainly focusing on sexuality, gender and sexual rights.
Melissa also has experience in strengthening capacities for more rights-based approaches in transformative social change work. Before joining UAF-Africa, she worked at CREA, a feminist organization based in New Delhi, India where she led their programmatic work in East Africa. In this role, she had the honour to work with women’s and LGBTI rights collectives to strengthen feministleadership and movement building in global South.With an education background on gender and development, Melissa has a keen interest on the inter-relation between art and activism.She explores the use of art for body positivity, self-expression, resistance and self-care.As an artist herself, she enjoys writing, poetry, designing jewelry, crafts and photography. She has authored work using pen names Sikiliza and Kamanzi Wainaina and runs a personal blog called Sikiliza Speaks for over 14 years. Her photography has been featured in the Global Fund for Women online exhibition called MAMA: Motherhood Around the Globe.
She sits on the Board of Women Spaces Africa, a community based organization that promotes the sexual and reproductive health and rights of girls and young women with disabilities in Kenya. During her free time, Melissa enjoys trying out a variety of recreational hobbies and activities, she is an experienced landscaper and gardener, practices yoga, cycling and swimming and is now aspiring on how to learn river fishing.
Feminist Republik Festival Administrative & Logistics Assistant
Christine Ruguaru is a Human Rights activist with over 6 years’ experience in capacity building, community mobilization, grants, and programme management and customer experience. Before joining UAF-Africa she worked with Hand in Hand Eastern Africa as a Business Relationship Officer working with grassroot communities on the enterprise development model. The model is premised on creating sustainable income generating activities by addressing major challenges facing many small-scale entrepreneurs in the rural areas and marginalized communities. This was through Self Help Groups mobilizations and capacity enhancement, business creation and savings training, access to credit, value additions and market linkages.
She has also worked with NCBA bank PLC Kenya as a customer experience officer providing customer care services to potential and existing customers. This was through identifying customer needs, responding to customer queries, and collaborating with internal departments to optimize customer services and brand awareness.
She is a graduate of Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Sociology from Egerton University Njoro, Kenya. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Public Policy and Administration. She is passionate about seeing continuous improvement of women rights socially, politically, and economically as an empowered woman has choices and can make informed decisions. In her spare time Christine enjoys watching movies, hiking, and reading.
Solidarity & Support Manager
Carol is a human rights activist who is not afraid of challenging the status quo when it comes to the representation and the participation of women and other minorities in the governance sphere. Carol is strong believer of human rights, and feminist principles and she is constantly working towards ensuring that these principles are respected and promoted.
For 10 years, Carol has worked in the human rights and governance space to ensure that marginalized groups such as women have equally opportunities both economically and politically to engage in decision making processes and live a dignified life. Carol has created spaces where women issues are openly discussed. She has a wealth of experience in capacity building, community organizing, coalition building and strengthening, creation of citizen agency through movement building, development and maintenance of strategic partnership, legislative and policy analysis, and evidence based advocacy at local and regional levels. Additionally, Carol has immense experience in grant management. She had managed grants from Ford Foundation, DANIDA, Swedish Embassy (Kenya), state bureau of Democracy for Human rights and Labor (DRL), Open Society Institute of East Africa (OSIEA), and United States Agency for International Development (DANIDA).
Over the years, Carol has been able to monitor and advocate for women participation in politics. For example in 2010, Carol trained women on their gains as espoused in the Constitution of Kenya that was promulgated the same year. In 2017, she developed a gender sensitive election monitoring tool that was utilized by the Kenya Human Rights Commission and its partners to monitor the participation of women during 2017 political primaries, voter registration and Elections Day.
Carol holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the United States International University- Africa (USIU-A) and a Masters of Business Administration from the same university.
In her spare time, Carol enjoys watching movies, hanging out with family and friends, shopping and travelling.
Grantmaking Programme Assistant
A Malagasy national living in Benin, Melizah is a pan-African human rights activist. Proud to be part of the network of young Francophones for the promotion of the French language, she is a very active contact in the Francophone feminist movements, especially in West Africa and Madagascar.
Melizah has a Master’s degree in Marketing with a specialisation in Communication and the use of social media. After her studies, she deepened her knowledge in community development and has more than 7 years of experience in several international organisations. Melizah has been in the line of young women’s rights advocates and UNFPA activists in her home country Madagascar. She has advocated for young people from Madagascar in South Africa and Namibia. She then helped set up the communication for the 2017 Jeux de la Francophonie in Abidjan. This experience at the heart of culture and diversity was a springboard for her career at the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie in France. She then contributed to the improvement and protection of children’s rights and women’s empowerment in the Republic of Benin within SOS Children’s Villages Benin. Melizah is currently involved in promoting women’s rights in Africa with UAF-Africa, and wants to make a difference.
In her spare time, Melizah likes to travel. Her discoveries give her ideas for vlogs and blogs that she shares from time to time with her friends and family. Melizah is also passionate about research and data, so she spends much of her free time writing about the research she has done. She also has a website where she shares her research on sustainable development and women’s lives.
Francoise Mukuku is a human rights activist and an independent consultant on women and sexual minorities’ issues. She has 20 years of activism. She is currently the Executive Director of Amazone Consultancy- a gender justice and communications firm based in Kinshasa, in Democratic Republic of Congo (RDC). Francoise works mainly in the Great Lakes Region (Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania) as well as francophone Africa (Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, Gabon, Republic of Congo, Benin, Togo and Senegal) where she has specialized in research and communications. In her consultancy work, Francoise has worked with organisations such as; Akina Mama wa Africa , APC, UHAI, UNECA and the University of Sussex, UK. Francoise is an engaged activist who founded SJS, a DRCongo inclusive young feminist group in 2001. She regularly organises trainings in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Agency and Voice, and is passionate particularly on the intersections that exist between development, human rights and social justice. Prior to being an independent consultant, she worked for renowned organisations such as Oxfam GB, MONUC/MONUSCO (UN Peacekeeping Mission in DRCONGO) and International Music Council (IMC). Francoise has good language skills; she speaks Lingala, Kiluba, Kibembe, Kiswahili, French, English and working knowledge of Spanish. She holds a BA in public law from the Université Protestante au Congo (2005) and a MA from Mercure International (2012). Francoise is a storyteller who enjoys traveling, reading books and the performing arts.