Posted on: September 23, 2023 Posted by: Mirabel Ngong Comments: 0


UAF-Africa Donor Brief, September 2023

Unpacking the Crisis Paradigm and Impact on WHRDs

The devastating amplification of gender injustices by crises is an urgent call for solidarity action for feminist activists and philanthropists, more so because most African crises are borne out of exploitation, greed, authoritarisanim and colonialism. Such structural crises require responses that address the root causes. Due to their identities and the intersecting forms of discrimination and violence that come with these identities, womn[1] and marginalised communities of all diversities bear the brunt of crises. When communities are exposed to complex and compounding risks and uncertainties, the result is a cycle of fragility – violence, conflict and instability. Radical responses to crises entail exploring, and advancing, systemic change to the roots that continue to feed crises on the continent. It is necessary to delve into a deep exploration of a feminist approach to addressing crisis in ways that urgently work to transform how we understand crisis response, and support frontline emergency and movement building efforts, before, during and after crises.

Against this backdrop, this brief is an attempt to illustrate the realities of the current Sudan crisis, and the ways in which it has impacted womn and structurally excluded and marginalized groups. It further illustrates the mechanisms in which Sudanese organizations, activists and womn’s human rights defenders have used to respond despite ongoing military operations and limited resources. More importantly, this brief is a call to action to philanthropic institutions and related formations to provide the crisis in Sudan the attention it deserves and commit to funding feminists and feminist organizations and movements with a view to ending the war while building a more peaceful and prosperous Sudan. Ever since the 2018/2019 revolution and perhaps before, feminists in Sudan have been organizing in very difficult conditions. Paying attention to feminist and womn’s rights organizing is important as this moment serves as a possible turning point for the Sudanese feminist and womn’s rights movements. Sudan will either manage to respond, build and become more resilient after this crisis should it be given the needed multifaceted support and attention or it disintegrates under the immense humanitarian, economic and political pressure.

A Politicized Feminist Analogy of the War in Sudan

Five months have passed since the outbreak of war in Sudan between the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF). As of 15 August 2023, between 4,000 to 10,000 people had been killed, and 6,000 to 8,000 others injured[2], while as of 5 September 2023, over 4 million were internally displaced and more than 1.1 million others had fled the country as refugees, with womn and children being the most affected[3]. A recent analysis from a UAF-Africa Sudan-based grantee partner indicated that amidst the ongoing bloody struggle for power, womn and girls are suffering increased insecurity in the process of displacement, lack of food and healthcare, and heightened risks of sexual violence. Thousands of womn are trapped in areas that are under intense armed clashes, and are at great risk of violence as increased insecurity on the roads and visa requirements for Sudanese refugees hinder their ability to flee to safer places within and outside Sudan. Furthermore, kidnappings, arrests, checkpoints, and pressure on civilians by the RSF and the military to pick sides in the war are threatening the safety of womn, vulnerable populations including WHRDs. Internally displaced WHRDs are facing increased threats and surveillance by the former regime security forces. Womn and girls in Sudan are living without protection and srvivors of violence have limited access to life-saving support. As per the report, the continuation of such violations in Sudan is creating one of the worst humanitarian crises on the globe.

Womn at the Frontlines of Oppression and Resistance

Intelligence and trends analyses collated from the womn’s rights movement in Sudan indicate that feminist efforts are underfunded despite womn being disproportionately impacted by the crisis, and despite the important work that WHRDs are leading. Fundemental to profile therefore is the criticality of embodying strategies that promote movements’ sustanace as an inherent model to crisis response as strong and thriving movements lay strong foundations necessary for effective crisis response. However, most interventions are focusing on the immediate and rapidly evolving emergency needs, with little attention paid to long-term and strategic responses that address root causes and mitigate future occurrences.

Sudanese WHRDs have stood at the forefront of the revolution, leading protests, mobilizing in neighborhood committees and others organizing at the grassroots, and demanding equal representation during political transition negotiations following the fall of Omar El-Bashir. Patriarchal practices have left womn systemically excluded from political processes. Womn activists who attended some of the negotiation meetings were constantly referred to as ‘young girls’ who supposedly did not understand the complexity of politics and should listen to their elders (men). Now, once again womn are at the forefront of the crisis response despite challenges to mobility and threats of violence. Womn are taking the lead on mutual aid efforts, fundraising from the diaspora, as well as leading on the ground service provision. Sudanese womn activists have also been persistent about raising their voices against the war as well as supporting other womn by providing food, shelter and psychosocial services. Some UAF-Africa supported grantee partners, including Noon Feminist Movement and Sanad for Legal Aid, have been active on the ground since the start of the crisis on 15th April, 2023.     

Sexual violence is one of the most prominent threats to womn in this crisis, with activists in El-Genina documenting 78 cases of rape between April 24 and June 26[4]. The survivors shared that the attackers explicitly mentioned their ethnic identity and used ethnic slurs about the Masalit or non-Arabs generally. The Women’s Future Organisation, a Darfuri organization, reported that only 24 out of 103 rape victims  have received subsequent medical services[5]. Sexual violence is not limited to Darfur alone, the Center for Violence Against Women and Girls opines that cases may be close to 4,000 in different states, with a large number of survivors under 12 years old[6]. Medical staff in North Kordofan, for example, reported an increase in the number of womn coming in with uterine prolapses, fistulas, and other injuries with very little infrastructure to support their recovery[7]. While in a report published by the Center for Violence of Women and Girls, the head of the center, Sulima Ishag, stated that their researchers are reporting allegations of abductions and sexual slavery by RSF members in South Darfur, North Darfur and Khartoum.

However, violence against womn and intimidation tactics are not only committed by RSF and its associates. On August 12th 2023, the Sudanese security forces raided the lawyer syndicate offices in Madani city in Al-Gezira state to stop an event organized by the ‘No for Women Oppression Initiative’ to call for peace and an end to the war in Sudan[8]. More so, civilian political parties are playing a part in silencing WHRDs, Umma party (a part of The Forces for Freeedom and Change – FFC coalition) has refused to host an anti-war event organized by womn in their offices in Madani stating it would ‘disturb the peace’.

Despite these challenges, womn are persevering, with mutual aid and grassroot organizing initiatives effectively being the largest response to the crisis. Womn-led responses include supporting relocation costs to those fleeing internally and externally and providing food, water and emergency medical assistance through emergency rooms  which have been set up in many locations across the country,  supported by diaspora and local groups, including mosques, churches, local businesses, and market merchants[9]. The war has drastically increased the burden of unpaid labour for womn; WHRDs who have fled Khartoum are not able to properly continue their activism because their repsonsibilites have doubled overnight. A conversation with a WHRD currently in Madani reveals that they barely have time and when they do, they are blocked by the authorities and political parties. A WHRD who recently moved to Uganda described the three healing remedies that womn need: to be able to talk to each other, to collect data about the status of womn and WHRDs in Sudan, and to be able to build a feminist strategy based on these dialogues and the information collected. Additonally, Sudanese WHRDs in Egypt and in other neighbouring countries where Sudanese people have fled to state that livelihood and job generation are key and urgent challenges as millions of people have lost their sources of income and all their assets in this recent war. This is coming on the heals of the pandemic and already depleted resources and is a matter of survival at this point. Womn need dedicated support finding work and opportunities to sustain themselves through interventions like career coaching, and introductions to feminist networks in their respective locations, which are necessary to sustain momentum across the movement.

A Call to Rekindle a Feminist Revolution and Community Response in Sudan 

In 2019, after months of protesting and grassroot mobilization, Sudanese revolutionaries ended the 30-year reign of Omar El-Bashir, with womn playing a critical role in the revolution. The traditional and predominantly masculine political processes that continued to be implemented after the revolution and the 2021 coup, excluded womn representation and ignored the systemic inequalities and decades of long grievances and economic marginalization that underpinned the revolution. In leading the revolution, Sudanese WHRDs participated in protests and increased advocacy efforts nationally and internationally – their role was celebrated by slogans of Kandaka, and complimentary street art. For womn, this process was the beginning of a harder fight against patriarchal political leadership which, not only deprioritized issues of transitional justice, equality and true democratization, but largely undermined womn’s gendered priority needs sighting them as divisive and not urgent. Despite the disappointment in traditional political parties after the revolution, womn began organizing much more effectively and feminist spaces saw a shift in the types of womn engaging (younger feminists became more organized) and more taboo topics such as LBTQI rights, abortion rights, womn leading peace processes were more openly discussed, although not without backlash. Notably, feminists and womn’s rights defenders were trying to bring these issues to the surface as classifications that are central to the breakdown of the political process and current crisis which womn across Sudan and beyond are bearing the burnt of.

Drawing from UAF-Africa’s experiences in funding feminist solidarity actions and movement led efforts during the revolution in 2019, spotlights a transformative track record of the effectiveness of catalytic feminist responses to crises. For example, at the height of the revolution in 2019, UAF-Africa organized a convening of WHRDs in Sudan with the intention of facilitating safe spaces for womn to share experiences, heal and bond, as a strategy to sustain collective organizing across the movement, even while the crisis was ongoing.

UAF-Africa’s underfunded and yet responsively intersectional and transformational approaches to responding to crises are characterized by:

  1. A structural justice lens that intergorates and questions who has access to power and privilege, while facilitating movements to engage with the roots of crises (e.g., militarism, colonialism, imperialism, racialized capitalism, neoliberal agendas, fundamentalisms, authoritarianisms, ableism, patriarchy, heteronormativity, ethnicism, racism). The Fund supports the unpacking of systemic inequalities through a decolonial lens.
  • An approach that centers the gendered impact of crises through an intersectional lens to bring about transformative outcomes. For example, evidence has shown that womn and structurally excluded groups are disproportionately affected by crises, and that crisis of any form will always escalate Gender Based Violence (GBV). With the Understanding that feminist, womn’s rights activists and womns’ rights organizations (WROs) are usually the first to respond despite being the least funded or recognized. At UAF-Africa, we listen, engage and resource them to respond to their unfolding realities while prioritizing their security and wellbeing.
  • The politics of money (agile and nimble): we unpack the politics of money, and are clear about our feminist goals in moving money. This movement is characterized by speed/rapid disbursement of funds (while keeping our finger on the pulse to shift priorities as the realities unfold); trust-based funding (dismantling funder-recipient power dynamics while investing in building trust as a strategy); innovative ways of moving money; and investing in risk. In addition, we engage in philanthropic advocacy especially calling attention to crises that are not in the mainstream media and engaging partners in the philanthropic sector to channel resources to grassroots organizations and WROs devoid of normative power dynamics perpetuating of inequality.
  • Movement-led and movement-informed approaches through which we trust and believe in the movements who are the best crisis responders. For example, in Sudan, our response has primarily been led by WHRDs who know the context and most importantly the trajectory of politics in the country. We invest in equitable partnerships vested in centering the disproportionately affected – womn and structurally excluded groups.
  • A proactive approach where we are informed by real-time intelligence from the defenders, activists, and movements we serve. For example, a trends analysis of our funding requests received in 2022 pointed to the apex of the crisis that we are currently witnessing in Sudan in 2023, which means that engagement and support to crises is not reactionary. We recognize that because of chronic crises, most WROs operate in emergency mode and have limited time and capacity for critical analysis and strategic thinking. We therefore support the creation of safe spaces for movements to convene, generate shared analyses and solidarity, and plan for collective action e.g., our support to the Sudan womn’s rights movement in 2019, in partnership with Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA).
  • A Healing Justice and Collective Care approach which utilizes a healing justice framework and centers healing and interrogation of structural sources of harm, as a radical movement-building and sustaining strategy, critical for building resilience and resistance in crises. Our paradigm of healing in a framework of crisis is moving communities from resilience to regeneration. Regeneration complements resilience by emphasizing the process of growth and transformation. It involves creating spaces, practices, and systems that promote well-being, sustainability, and empowerment. Regeneration recognizes the need to address the root causes of challenges and to actively work towards creating positive change. Resilience focuses on adaptability, bouncing back, and finding strength in the face of challenges, while regeneration emphasizes healing, growth, and creating sustainable systems. We support safe spaces in the midst of crises, collective healing practices and processes and spaces for critical analysis of crises.
  • A people-centered approach: At UAF-Africa, we see crisis response not as a set of tools, strategies or mechanisms, but as a people-centered initiative. We invest in activists’ crucial roles as the first and last at the frontlines.

Evidence to the invisibilization of community-led responses is apparent across the philanthrophic and humanitarian response ecosystem, and in the media whose role in highlighting certain crises over others validates the fact that it is influenced by the same racialized and partriachal norms that perpetuate the existing systems of inequality and injustice. It is unfortunate that funding streams tend to follow these trends. So far, the international response to the Sudan crisis has been underwhelming; a recent humanitarian response report by OCHA has estimated the total need for funding for Sudan at about 2.6bn USD[10], meanwhile EU funding thus far pledged only 123mn Euros in comparison to over 50bn to Ukraine.[11] Subsequently, countries including the US, Canada and the UK have mobilized millions to support those fleeing the war in Ukraine as well as providing resources for humanitarian aid in the country[12]. For example, Ukrainian refugees were offered extended evacuation services, resettlement allowances, and facilitation of immigration statuses in several European countries, while evacuations in Sudan was afforded only to expatriate staff and non-Sudansese members of diplomatic missions. This reality is situated within a broader discriminatory and inequitable power structure, where donor agendas and funding practices are contrary to the feminist realities of Sudanese womn. People of color and womn are at the receiving end of the different manifestations of gendered and racialized funding practices which prefer specific types of organizational structures and English-speaking organizations. While this is done under the guise of ‘professionalism’, this supposed neutrality and ‘color-blindness leaves black feminists with very little support.[13]

Can these Challenges Translate into Stronger Actions Required to Resource Feminist Movements?

Drawing from the above analysis, there are a number of challenges facing current response efforts:

  • Firstly, the voices of womn at the frontlines and those who have the best knowledge of the situation on the ground are still limited. Media coverage as well as political discussions are still taking place between the political elite who are mostly men and mostly from privileged backgrounds. This therefore leads to an incomplete and perhaps distorted view of the priorities as well as ignoring the many voices of womn’s rights defenders at the margins.
  • Secondly, there is not enough focus on elements of healing, wellbeing and psychosocial resilience, especially for womn’s rights defenders who are carrying out response work. This is especially problematic because they are the ones who are exposed to the daily difficulties of working in precarious conditions and have little to no tools to help them navigate the personal and professional traumas imposed by this war. 
  • Thirdly, the crisis in Sudan is part of a broader global dynamic of proxy wars and governance as well as unequal dynamics which have rendered certain peoples ‘less deserving’ of support. Unless there is a direct interrogation of the humanitarian sector in ways that focus on accountability and self-reflection, the responses will always be subpar to the needs of many communities.
  • Fourthly, feminist visions of peacebuilding and responses to crisis are not taken seriously amongst larger donor and philanthropic institutions, contrary to feminist concerns around the war which are about ending the violence and responding to the gendered needs of womn and vulnerable populations, and building lasting peace. Unfortunately due to limited funding and the fact that womn’s rights defenders are scattered in neighboring countries or are busy responding to immediate needs of providing water, shelter and medicine, they are not able to effectively convene or speak to each other or build networks of solidarity.

Recommendations: Defining Core, Flexible, Big and Multi-Year Funding to Feminist Organizations Responding to the Sudan Crisis

  • Begin by reaching out to a diverse and broad-based pool of Sudanese WHRDs and organizations to understand the different positions womn are in and the subsequently different needs of the womn and their communities.
  • Learn from feminist insights gained from previous interventions in post-revolution Sudan, especially around issues of investing in womn and systemically including their perspectives and voices.
  • Advocate for and offer sustained flexible financial support to grassroots feminist organisations by providing big, core, flexible and long-term funding that enables them to effectively operate and respond to the different and emergent needs, while ensuring wholistic protection, safety and wellbeing of WHRDs.
  • Capitalize on trust-based partnerships with experienced and capable organizations that can provide the necessary tailored support to meet the specific needs of communities while moving away from the strictly bureaucratic mainstream funding and programming which is unfit for the current crisis.[14]
  • Support feminists and feminist organizations to build coalitions nationally and regionally and provide resources so they can meaningfully engage in political meetings and dialogues being held on the Sudan crisis. This is especially important in ensuring feminist responses are not only focused on band-aid solutions but are also part of longer-term peace-building solutions, while encouraging intellectual efforts to formulate feminist political agendas for Sudan.
  • Prioritize expedited financial, psychosocial, and health support to survivors of sexual violence and ensure that feminist demands for justice from perpetrators are at the heart of efforts to end the war. 
  • Express feminist solidarity through flexible feminist funding while embracing trust-based collaborations. It is important to find ways to build robust, longstanding relationships with activists so that there can be learning and sharing from the different perspectives and realities they are experiencing and ensuring it feeds into the ways WHRDs are receiving funding and accompaniment. This also means a shift where WHRDs funding priorities are taken into consideration because they know the situation that they are grappling with best and how to address it. Thus the support should be flexible to ensure that it integrates collective care and healing to attend to the impact of trauma, stress and the intersecting systems of oppression, marginalisation and constant crisis on WHRDs’ mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.

[1] At the Fund, the use of womn is a simple act of challenging and replacing traditional ideas of what and who a womn is and can be and the links of women to a system of patriarchy where womn are, in effect, subject to men or a sub-category of men. Additionally, womn’ for us also includes lesbian, bisexual womn and transwomn. Further, womn includes those who are non-binaried, identifying with neither gender.

[2] “10,000 reported killed in one West Darfur city, as ethnic violence ravages Sudanese region”. CNN. 26 July 2023. Retrieved 11 September

[3] “DTM Sudan – Weekly Displacement Snapshot”. IOM. Retrieved 11 September




[7] Ibid.  








Atieno Odhiambo
Atieno Odhiambo

Board Chair (Kenya)

Atieno is a professional with international legal experience advocating for rights of marginalized populations through policy and legal reform. She is currently the Director – Legal Empowerment Fund at The Fund for Global Human Rights. She is the past Chief of Party (Kenya) for Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG) a global pro bono law firm 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.

Nancy Photo jpeg
Nancy Chitiza

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 9 years, where she worked with the UN Agency UNWomen (then UNIFEM) in Liberia in her early career, she joined UNDPKO with the UN Mission in Liberia- (UNMIL), and later joined The 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. She has attained several professional courses in line with her area of expertise and is very excited about the endless possibilities at UAF-Africa. Nancy is passionate Pan-African Feminist who within her field of Human Resources Administration and Management pushes boundaries in support of feminist values, principles and work cultures in all aspects of her work. She has worked in the HR field for over 17 years and has gained extensive experience and professional expertise to successfully lead the UAF-Africa Team. Nancy works from Harare, Zimbabwe.

Njoki Njoroge Njehu

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.

Ndanatsei Bofu-Tawamba

Chief Executive Officer

Ndana Bofu-Tawamba is the CEO for 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, environmental and climate injustices.

Ndana is a staunch feminist voice for enhanced womn’s rights investments. She has leveraged over USD200 million towards strengthening African feminist and womn’s rights movements. She is a published writer and public speaker on Pan-African and Feminist Philanthropies, African Womn’s Leadership, and the Power of Social Movements in Africa.

Ndana is an alumnus of Harvard Kennedy School of Government in the USA, University of Stellenbosch Business School, South Africa, and INSEAD Business Schools,  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 civil society 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 girls’ realities throughout the world.

Amel Gorani

Member (Sudan)

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.

Chiedza Muchena

Executive Officer

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.

Edmond Mugisha

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!

Joanne Mahinda

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.

Nyasha Chibanda

Office Assistant

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

Rosettee Nanyanjo

MEAL Officer

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.

Jean k
Jean Kemitare

Programmes Director

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.

Faith Macheke
Faye Macheke

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.

Sharon Ngeno

Finance Associate

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.

Pamela Mudhune

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.

Hiwot Tedla

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.

Zanele Mbugua

Feminist Republik Champion

Zanele Mbugua is an intersectional feminist who is passionate about womn’s rights advocacy, with a focus on lbtiqa+ rights and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). She holds a Bachelor’s 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.

She attributes her sense of feminism to her Pan-African roots having lived and schooled in South Africa. Through her lived experiences, Zanele has always found herself drawn towards womn’s, queer and gender non-conforming advocacy spaces; and continues to discover herself and her passion through these spaces. 

In her spare time, Zanele enjoys reading, hiking, and cooking.

Miriam Wanjira
Miriam Wanjira

Office Assistant

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.

Daphne Jena

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.

Melissa Photo
Melissa Wainaina

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.

Carol Werunga

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.

Melizah portrait
Melizah Memena

Grantmaking Programme Assistant

A Malagasy national living in Benin, Melizah is a pan-African human rights activist in various parts of Africa. 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 Jeux de la Francophonie 2017 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. 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 womn’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, hence 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.

Mukuku Francoise
Francoise Mukuku​

Board Member (DRC)

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.