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.
Solidarity & Support Senior Programme Officer - Economic Justice
Susan is a Ugandan National, with over 10 years’ experience championing gender equality and women’s rights. 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 gender equality studies from University of Iceland, a bachelors’ 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 to 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 empowering rural women with economic skills for self-sustenance. Susan has also worked as Head of Department – Gender and Economic Policy at Action for Development (ACFODE), she also served as Program Officer with Isis-Women’s International Cross-Cultural Exchange (Isis-WICCE). While at Isis-WICCE, Susancoordinated 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 gender responsive policies, research and documentation, capacity building, coalition building, mobilization and sensitization, Susan has worked to empower women and influence legislation and policy for gender equality in Uganda and across the globe. Susan enjoys jogging, travelling and singing.
Chiedza Muchena 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.
Chiedza 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 organised. 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, cultural and religious backgrounds has helped her appreciate the power of diversity.
She is passionate about her own 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 travelling.
She holds 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) and a Certificate in Management Development Skills for Executive and Personal Assistants (Zimbabwe Institute of Management).
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.
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.
Solidarity & Support Programme Officer Environmental & Climate Justice
Mimi Ishan is from Nigeria. She is a graduate of the University of Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria. She obtained her first degree in Geology & Mining with the desire to provide water to rural communities through tube wells. This was meant to address the challenge women face when they travel far to fetch water for household use.
Prior to joining Urgent Action Fund-Africa (UAF-A), she was an Advisor with E-WASH a USAID funded organization.
In 2003, she moved to the development sector working with WaterAid who provided water for rural communities and worked in 27 countries. She was Programme Manager, and her state was the first to get a woman lead on water sanitation and hygiene in the community. This engagement led to her being exposed to Global and Regional Programmes to both share experience and nurture other Programmes in Mali, Ghana, Burkina-Faso and Senegal. Her passion for sanitation earned her the leader in hygiene and sanitation where she was made part of the team that studied sustainable sanitation from Bangladesh and applied same in West Africa, which is currently being adopted by various organizations and undergoing frequent learning and improvements.
Following the displacement of people in Northern Nigeria due to the boko haram terrorism, she joined Christian Aid to support displaced persons on resettling and adopting proper hygiene and sanitation habits, also psychosocial support for children.
She has been the state programme Lead and promoted to Advisor in the last organization before joining UAF-Africa.
Mimi is an activist for women and passionate about ensuring women are brought to the limelight with the understating that nothing can be done better without the involvement of women, they bear the brunt in water provision and livelihood. She promotes women’s rights, freedom, leadership, and entrepreneurship.
The UAF-Africa platform is enabling her to further support and defend women’s rights.
She is passionate about traveling and reading.
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.
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.
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.
Solidarity & Support Programmes Assistant
Lebogang Ramasodi is a South African graduate in International Relations. Having completed her studies with the University of Pretoria, she is currently studying towards a postgraduate diploma in Public Administration with the University of the Witwatersrand.
Lebogang she has a penchant for words, she began detailing her understanding of feminism and the state of women’s rights through poetry and storytelling before taking up a role as a features journalist for the student paper formally known as PERDEBY, during her undergrad. It is this move that set her on a journey towards advancing the rights of women.
Prior to joining Urgent Action Fund-Africa, she formed a part of the Strategy, Accountability and Learning Team and the Women’s Rights Programme for the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa where she was the Production Manager of Buwa! A journal on African Women’s Experience’s tenth issue.
Having integrated her passion for writing into her work – she’s taken up hiking, beauty and baking in her free time.
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
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.
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.
Ex-Official Member (Zimbabwe)
Ndanatsei Bofu-Tawamba, an African citizen and Zimbabwean national, is the CEO & Executive Director at Urgent Action Fund-Africa (UAF-Africa) in Kenya. UAF-Africa is a feminist and pan-African rapid response grant making organisation that invests in African women’s power to change the status quo. Ndana is a seasoned feminist and women’s rights advocate, a social entrepreneur with philanthropic expertise spanning 20 years. Prior to leading at UAF-Africa, Ndana was in charge of the UN Women Office in Zimbabwe where she led in the execution of the multi-million-dollar funded EC, DFID & DANIDA Gender Support Programme. Ndana has leveraged over USD100 million directed towards strengthening African women’s movements and achieving women and girls’ rights. She has lectured at the Women’s University in Africa, been invited as guest lecturer and speaker at several high-level platforms across Africa, Europe, South and North America. She is a renowned speaker and published writer on topics of African women’s leadership in conflict transformation, Regenerative African & feminist philanthropy, and the nexus between Ebola, HIV&AIDS, women and culture. In the global human rights community, Ndana is a staunch figure and voice for enhanced women’s rights investments Ndana is an Executive Education alumnus of 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, obtained her Bachelor of Science Honors Degree in Social Psychology from the University of Zimbabwe and holds a Diploma in Personnel Management. Ndana serves on the Board of the African Philanthropy Network. She represents African Women’s Funds on the Governance Board of the International Network of Women’s Funds (Prospera), in Mexico. Her leadership at UAF-Africa, the UN, academia, international boards, 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 women and girl’s realities throughout the world. Twitter: @NdanaTawamba & @UAFAfrica.
Healing Farm Project Manager
Adams Okumu is a Kenyan National. He is a results-oriented construction project management professional with over 13 years of multi-disciplinary experience in construction project management, private equity, real estate management & consultancy, Environmental Social Governance (ESG), Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) and property management.
Before joining UAF-Africa, Adams worked as the Portfolio Manager for Pan African Housing Fund (PAHF) for over six years, managing its portfolio across East & Southern Africa. He was instrumental in the initiation, planning, execution and closure of the projects, managing the transition from construction to occupation. He has also provided consultancy services to developers, constructors and professional firms with the latest engagement with Sycamore Pine Limited – a developer of approximately 2,000 affordable housing units under Kenya’s Affordable Housing Program (AHP).
He is adept in initiating, planning, executing, monitoring & controlling and closing construction projects, providing clear guidance and leadership to the team under his supervision. Over the years, he has built his leadership, strategic business management, interpersonal and conceptual skills.
Adams has significant experience in successfully delivering projects based on PMI methodologies in the East and Southern African region. He has handled multiple projects comprising commercial, churches, schools, residential, student accommodation, resorts and site & serviced schemes valued at over US$ 250 million from the initiation (including land acquisition) to the operations phase.
He has led teams comprising advocates, architects, engineers, quantity surveyors, planners, sales and letting agents, property managers, contractors and sub-contractors, ESG and OHS experts, homeowners throughout the project cycle.
Adams holds a bachelors degree in Construction Management from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture Technology (JKUAT). He is a member of the Project Management
Institute (PMI) and the Kenyan Chapter and Association of Construction Managers of Kenya (ACMK).
Adams is a fitness enthusiast and an advocate of clean and healthy living. He likes travelling, hiking, reading and community service.
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.
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.
People & Culture Associate
Lucy is a Malawian citizen and a human resource specialist. She brings on board a wealth of experience from her work in international developmental in Malawi where she worked
for 11 years. She has extensive skill in human resource management, office administration, project management, women leadership, payroll management and building
high performance teams.
Lucy has used her role to advance the feminist ways of working by supporting women in leadership positions. She has worked with many organisations to advance human
resource management in favour of women.
Lucy holds a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from the University of Malawi. She is passionate about people and believes that key to achievement of an organisation’s mission and vision is a well-motivated and diverse team.
In her free time, she enjoys baking, cooking and listening to music.
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.
Grantmaking Programme Attaché
Christine Ruguaru is a Kenyan National and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Sociology graduate from Egerton University Kenya. Christine has worked with Hand in Hand Eastern Africa as a Business Relationship Office which focused on social mobilization and training on entrepreneurship for the rural women groups and at NCBA bank PLC Kenya as a customer experience officer.
She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Public Policy and Administration and is passionate about advocacy on women human rights. She has continued interest in seeing continuous improvement and advocacy on women. In her spare time Christine enjoys watching movies, hiking and reading.
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.
Communications & Media Engagement Associate
Mirabel is from Cameroon. She is a communicator and advocate for women’ s leadership and girls’ education. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Media from the University of Buea, Cameroon.
She worked in Cameroon Radio and Television – (CRTV Northwest) as a reporter covering on issues of education and women in leadership positions, and worked within the Good Governance and Democracy programme of Media Foundation for West Africa, Ghana.
Prior to joining Urgent Action Fund -Africa (UAF-Africa) She worked at Community Empowerment Program (CEP-Cameroon) where she led the implementation of programmes that focused on promoting girls’ education and women leadership.
Mirabel has managed several communications portfolios including public relations management for KiRette Couture a major fashion brand in Cameroon. She later worked as a Communication Officer at Community Initiative for Sustainable Development, an organisation that advocates for the education of teenage mothers. She co-produced a radio drama series on education for girls, which was broadcasted across the northwest region of Cameroon for several years.
Mirabel is an alumnus of the Presidential Precinct Virginia within the Mandela Washington Fellowship, a flagship Program of President Obama for young African Leaders. She has spoken on several fora about her work on girls’ education and women’s human rights in Cameroon.
Mirabel is passionate about girls’ education and women’s rights; she produced a television spot- ‘Bridging the Gap’- a call for peace and community cohesion following the protracted political conflicts in Cameroon and co-authored a best-selling anthology entitled ‘The New Woman’. Her work was recognised by Global Goodwill Ambassadors, humanitarian category as an advocate for girls and women in Cameroon.
Mirabel is passionate about family and loves to read, travel, teaching, and appreciate works of art.
Solidarity & Support Programme Attaché Francophone
Ciella KANEZA is from Burundi. She graduated from the University of Rwanda in 2021. For more than 3 years, she has been concerned on issues facing girls and young women in Africa generally, and in her native country Burundi in particular. She decided to join the largest voluntary movement dedicated for girls and young women: WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scout). The latter aims to give girls and young women flexible and values-based training in life skills, Leadership and Citizenship.
After graduating in Rwanda, she came back to Burundi to devote her time and efforts to one of the WAGGGS member organisation, Burundi Girls Guides Association(BGGA) where she worked as a trainer, or a volunteer sometimes through different projects and programmes such as YESS (Youth Exchange South to South) which is in International exchange programme that helps girls to travel to a different host country for them to grow, lead and take action on issues that are relevant to them. Before joining UAF-Africa, she played the role of mentor in Up Shift programme, which is a programme that helps young people to build skills and opportunities for young people that are disadvantaged due to gender, disabilities or ethnicity, and mostly promotes social entrepreneurship.
She is passionate about reading, travelling and singing.
Mary is an accountant with experience in grants management. She has several years of work experience in NGO financial management with competencies in financial planning, organizational and proposal budgeting, budget monitoring, financial and donor reporting, sub-award management and administration, grants management and compliance, implementation and strengthening of organizational internal controls.
Before joining UAF-Africa, she worked at Internews Network- Nairobi Office, as the Grants Accountant and Grants Finance Manager; She had previously worked as Grant Accountant at Intrahealth International-Nairobi Kenya Office.
She holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Maseno University Kisumu-Kenya Campus and a Bachelor of Business and Management from Egerton University- Kenya, She also has CPA Part III.
Mary believes in gender equality and she is pleased to contribute towards women’s empowerment in Africa.
Born in Togo, Ablavi often describes herself as a world citizen since she had the opportunity to travel and live in several countries. She holds a First year of a Master’s degree in International and European Laws obtained in France, which she completed with a Graduate diploma in Management obtained in Canada.
She has always had an interest for International Development and Human Rights issues and has accumulated more than ten years of work and volunteering with various organizations promoting and defending the rights of the most vulnerable populations, especially for Children’s and Women’s Rights throughout Africa, Europe, and Canada.
After returning to her home country, she worked as a Program Officer with two organizations promoting Women’s rights and gender equity. By joining UAF-Africa, this proud feminist is pursuing her goal of contributing to the change of mentalities regarding women’s role in society, especially in Africa.
In her spare time, she enjoys reading (especially crime fiction books where she can play the detective’s role), volunteering and travelling.
Solidarity and Support Programme Officer
Carene Cheryle SIRI is from Cameroon. She has a first degree in Political Sciences and is a postgraduate in International Relations from the Protestant University of Central Africa.
Before joining UAF Africa, she was working for SOS Children’s Villages International as the Institutional Partnership Development Advisor region – West Central and North Africa
With her interest in the promotion of children and women’s rights, Carene started her career as a Programme Supervisor for AFHADEV (Association des Femmes Hausa pour le Development). In that capacity, she worked to promote the rights of Girls to education and access to livelihood activities for Hausa women.
She joined Plan International Cameroon in 2012 as the Programme Associate, where she worked with women CBOs and women groups in promoting the rights of girls and women. She was one of the key actors of the “Because I am a Girl” campaign. She worked with major donors to provide safe schools, life skills, a voice, and a chance for girls to develop their full potentials. In 2015, she joined the organization’s medium management team as the Grants Coordinator. She mobilised resources from institutional donors to respond to victims of the Boko Haram crisis and the CAR refugees in Cameroon.
In 2018, she moved to SOS CV International in that same capacity of growing and managing funds but at a larger scope in 21 countries of the West, Central and North of Africa.
Alongside her work in SOS Children Villages International and the recent outbreak of COVID 19, she joined a philanthropic Association “500frs to touch a life” that provides support to vulnerable women and girls victims of the “Anglophone crisis” in Cameroon.
Carene loves travelling, watching movies and outdoor activities.
Communications & Media Engagements Associate
Mirabel is from Cameroon. She is a communicator and advocate for women’ s leadership and girls’ education with nine years of work experience. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Media from the University of Buea, Cameroon.
Mirabel worked with KiRette Couture, a fashion brand where she as the Public Relations associate for two years and later worked as Communication Officer with Community Initiative for Sustainable Development Cameroon for three years. While there She co-produced radio drama episodes for community radio stations in the North West Region of Cameroon, advocating for the education of teenage mothers.
In 2015, Mirabel did a Civic leadership institute at the Presidential Precinct Virginia (A consortium of the University of Virginia and the College of William and Mary) During this exchange program, she had the opportunist to meet with the First, Lady Michelle Obama and to speak on girls’ education following Mrs Obama’s opening remarks at the Girl Up Summit in Washington DC. Mirabel did a professional practicum at Media Foundation for West Africa, Ghana within the Media, Good Governance and Democracy program.
In 2019, she conceived and produced her first television spot “Bridging the Gap” a call for peace and community cohesion following the political conflict in Cameroon. In 2021 she Co-Authored a best selling Anthology titled “The New Woman”
Prior to joining Urgent Action Fun -Africa (UAF-A) she was the Program Director of Community Empowerment Program (CEP-Cameroon) focused on promoting girls education and women leadership.
Her training in journalism and media, pubic speaking skills, experience in documentary production, writing, press relations, advocacy, research, documentation and archiving skills have equipped her to be effective with her work and to coordinate and lead projects in her individual capacity for other organizations. Mirabel is committed to advocating for girls education and women’s rights. In 2018, she was recognized by Global Goodwill Ambassadors under the Humanitarian category. Mirabel is passionate about family, reading, travel, teaching, and arts.
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.
Board Chairlady (Liberia)
Korto is the Country Director of ActionAid (AA) in Liberia.She has vast development experience working on post-conflict reconstruction and development issues in Liberia.She has had numerous short term experience in programme development and assessments in Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Burundi, Haiti, Sierra Leone and the Middle East (Jordan and Palestine).Before joining ActionAid, she worked with a variety of development institutions, including the US Agency for International Development, the UN Development Programme and the International Foundation for Education and Self-Help. She is a strategic civil society leader in Liberia and works on women organising on the issues of women’s rights, feminism, aid effectiveness and youth development. Her academic research on feminism in Liberia: Beyond Mass Action: A Study of Collective Organising among Liberian Women Using Feminist Movement Perspectives has provided the opportunity to shift power dynamics and coalition building within the women movement and with key populations in Liberia. In 2010, Korto served as a contributor and guest editor (Liberia Sea Breeze Online Magazine), placing a special focus on women’s rights. She also served as a regular contributor to ActionAid International’s magazine; Common Cause, and a book; Voice, Power and Soul: A Portrait of African Feminists. Korto holds a Master’s degree in Sustainable Development from the School of International Training (now the SIT Graduate Institute) in Vermont, USA; and has a certificate on Mobilizing Your Non-Profit Board (Harvard University ExEd training, 2014).
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.
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.
Communications & Media Coordinator
Onyinyechi Okechukwu is a Nigerian national, a communication for development specialist with over 15 years’ experience of developing and implementing programmes that promote human rights in Africa with a strong interest in women’s rights.
She has worked in several international development and feminist organisations including Alliances for Africa, Media for Development Nigeria, WaterAid and ActionAid leading communications, advocacy and campaigns initiatives across Africa and Europe. She has a strong media relations experience having worked as a radio and television producer promoting women’s rights and advocating for women equal opportunity for women in governance and the economy. She has led several media networks across West Africa advocating for public policies that advances women’s rights in Nigeria’s Delta region and other parts of the sub-region.
Onyinyechi is using her work to create innovative digital and traditional media activities that influence policies, attitudes and public behaviour towards advancing women’s rights across the world.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Lagos State University, a Masters’ degree in Humanitarian and Refugee Studies from University of Lagos as well as certificate in Communications in Emergency
Knowledge Leadership Manager
Masa is an Egyptian national. Masa has a passion for women’s human rights and is particularly interested in women’s economic rights, and strengthening the protection mechanisms and effective responses to women human rights defenders (WHRDs) at risk,
with special focus on WHRDs in North Africa. Prior to joining UAF-Africa, Masa worked with Nazra for Feminist Studies, as a researcher for the Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs) Programme. Masa has experience in the documentation of violations faced by women human rights defenders and conducting advocacy at the Human Rights Council and African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Masa holds a Master’s degree in International Human Rights Law from the American University in Cairo (AUC), Arab Republic of Egypt, the focus of her thesis being on the manner in which violations of the right to social security contribute to poverty among women in Egypt; and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations, with a minor in philosophy, from the American University of Sharjah (AUS), United Arab Emirates. In her spare time, Masa enjoys diving, baking, and sometimes Zumba dancing!
Communications & Media Engagement Associate
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.