Using Violence and Mobilising Anxiety: Repressing Feminist Activism Online

Posted on: June 21, 2018 Posted by: Comments: 0

Using Violence and Mobilising Anxiety: Repressing Feminist Activism Online

At Urgent Action Fund-Africa (UAF-Africa), we work to support women’s human rights defenders (WHRDs) who face incredible odds in doing their work. From emergencies related to their security, the security of their groups and organizations, or emergencies involving their loved ones who are targeted because of the activism of WHRDs; to unexpected events that arise during times of political, social and economic crises and upheavals.
We know that social change takes brave actions and people who are willing to stand up for justice. And so we work to support the brave African women activists and activist organisations that are standing up for women’s rights, always in the face of great hostility and violence.

The violence that WHRDs face changes with the kind of activism they do, the tools they use, and certainly, where they operate. One of the tools WHRDs use to disseminate information, advocate, mobilise, organise and advance women’s human rights is the internet. And they face an especially daunting environment there. The nature of violations continuously evolves, from trolling to stalking; “revenge pornography” and image manipulation to receiving online threats; and the constant usage of new tools for surveillance and censorship.

absence of a feminist lens of online harm and the inability of WHRDs to influence strategies for internet governance and regulation; coupled with a lack of awareness of how much private and sensitive information WHRDs give out using the internet, including social networking sites in particular, have meant that we are being ever more affected by online forms of violence and harm. In addition to its very real effects on our ability to organise, mobilise, and stay safe, online violence also causes us to censor ourselves or refrain from speaking up at all. This ultimately hinders our momentum in the various movements and communities we are part of.

We have been tracking the forms of violence that WHRDs report to us through grant reports and during convenings we organise. From their input, we gathered that there are two major areas of work that warrant our attention when thinking about online activism and violence: 1. Violence against WHRDs, which can take many forms, including cyberstalking, image manipulation, trolling, harassment, threats, and blackmail that are used to punish WHRDs who occupy the online public space and use it to advocate for, mobilise, and organise for women’s rights; and 2. Creating moral anxieties to obstruct women’s ability to organise online. Culture and morality are constantly being used to control women’s bodies and behaviours. They are used to justify state interventions that restrict the rights to privacy and freedom of access to information. In September, 2017, for example, Egyptian authorities carried out a large scale campaign to arrest LGBT individuals and activists, after news of concert attendees raising the rainbow flag circulated. Authorities targeted individuals who published online content that ties them to the concert, building an atmosphere of moral outrage to mobilise support for persecution that aims to protect the country’s moral and religious values.

The strategies of violence that WHRDs report to us have grown more complex over the years, from receiving threatening messages on Facebook, to the usage of governments of various tactics to mass produce their own content to distort the digital landscape in their favour without making the sponsored nature of the content explicit.
In July 2017, we organised a convening, with our Urgent Action Fund sister funds, on the closure of civil society space. 60 WHRDs from across the regions in which we fund came together to discuss the manners in which they are experiencing the closure of civic space. The North African activists in the room spoke at length about the internet as an important avenue for mobilising and sharing their ideas. They also spoke about the grave dangers they experience on the internet, and the very real “offline” threats they are facing because of their online activism.

They expressed the need for resources to be available in Arabic (including trainings, research, and manuals) that would enable them to be safer online. They also expressed the need for platforms and spaces where they can share their experiences, and learn, about the different ways in which they are being monitored, threatened and manipulated online. They also want to speak about internet governance issues and spaces that they need to be engaged with to influence the manner in which the internet is experienced by feminist activists. Most importantly, they want these spaces to be Arabic-speaking ones. No instantaneous translators present, or the need to translate often complicated manuals to Arabic.

We found the opportunity to provide Arabic-speaking spaces through the support of the African Women’s Development Fund Leading from the South grants, a funding initiative created to resource women’s rights activism in the global South over 4 years. Through this grant, UAF-Africa will be will be working with WHRDs from Tunisia and Egypt to explore their experiences with online activism. How are they using the internet in the promotion, and their own, exercise of their rights and what are the possible implications of online content regulation measures on this ability? Is the internet still a transformative public and political space? What tactics have they used to avoid surveillance of their activities and from the real risks and dangers that they can face online? How can we develop trust and a greater sense of certainty when using ephemeral technology to create content, interact with others, grow trusted networks, and create safe spaces for ourselves?

Check back here regularly to read – in Arabic and English- about the experiences of WHRDs in resisting online violence.

As feminists who are active users of the internet for our personal use and activism, this project will work with the following principle from the Feminist Principles of the Internet in mind: “The attacks, threats, intimidation and policing experienced by women and queers are real, harmful and alarming, and are part of the broader issue of gender-based violence. It is our collective responsibility to address and end this.” Our struggle for safe online spaces is one that forms part of a continuum for our resistance in other spaces, public, private and in-between.

استخدام العنف وحشد القلق قمع النشاط النسوي على الإنترنت

في 2017، نشرت منظمة فريدوم هاوس تقرير الحرية على الإنترنت، والذي وثق أداء 65 بلدا فيما يتعلق بالحريات الإلكترونية، مما يغطي وضع 87 في المئة من مستخدمي الإنترنت في العالم. جائت نتائج التقرير مخيبة للآمال – ما يقرب من نصف البلدان الـ 65 التي تم تقييمها 2017 شهدت انخفاضاً في الحريات الرقمية خلال فترة التغطية، في حين حققت 13 فقط مكاسب، معظمها طفيفة؛ في حين زاد عدد البلدان التي شهدت أعمالا انتقامية جسدية عقابا على كتابات على عبر الإنترنت بنسبة 50 في المائة في الفترة من 2016-2017؛ وفي ثمانية بلدان، تم قتل أفراد بسبب تعبيرهم على الإنترنت.

تواجة المدافعات عن حقوق المرأة تحديات خاصة عبر الإنترنت. وبما أن الإنترنت أداة مهمة للمدافعات عن حقوق المرأة لنشر المعلومات، القيام بأعمال المناصرة، والحشد والتنظيم، فهم يواجهون انتهاكات مستمرة عبر الإنترنت. تتنوع هذة الانتهاكات من التصيد (التروللينج)، التتبع، التلاعب بالصور، حتى تلقي تهديدات مباشرة عبر الإنترنت؛ ويضاف إلى هذا التطور الدائم في أدوات للمراقبة والرقابة. ومع تضاعف أدوات الانتهاكات عبر الإنترنت وزيادة تعقيدها، هناك عوامل من بينها غياب العدسة النسوية لمفهوم الضرر الرقمي وعدم قدرة المدافعات عن حقوق المرأة في التأثير في استراتيجيات إدارة الإنترنت وتنظيمها؛ إلى جانب نقص الوعي بالمعلومات الخاصة والحساسة التي تشاركها المدافعات عن حقوق المرأة عن طريق الإنترنت- خاصة عبر مواقع التواصل الاجتماعي- يعني أننا أكثر عرضة لأشكال مختلفة من العنف والأذى عبر الإنترنت. بالإضافة إلى آثاره الكبيرة على قدرتنا على التنظيم والحشد، والبقاء آمنات، يسبب لنا العنف عبر الانترنت أيضا في مراقبتنا لأنفسنا أو امتناعنا عن التحدث على الإطلاق، مما وهذا يعيق، في نهاية المطاف، زخمنا في مختلف حركاتنا.

من خلال عمل صندوق التحرك العاجل لحقوق المرأة في أفريقيا مع المدافعات عن حقوق المرأة، وجدنا أن هناك مجالين رئيسيين يستدعيان اهتمامنا عند التفكير في النشاط والعنف على الإنترنت:

  1. العنف ضد المدافعات عن حقوق المرأة، والذي يمكن أن يتخذ أشكالا عديدة، بما في ذلك الملاحقة الاكترونية، والتلاعب بالصور، والتصيد، والتحرش، والتهديدات، والابتزاز. كل الأمثلة السابفة هي أشكال لمعاقبة المدافعات اللاتي يشغلن المساحة العامة على الإنترنت ويستخدمونها للدفاع عن، والحشد، لحقوق المرأة. ويمكن أن يرتكب هذا العنف مواطنون متحفظون، أو حكومات.
  2. خلق المخاوف الأخلاقية لعرقلة قدرة المدافعات على التنظيم عبر الانترنت. يتم استخدام الأسباب الثقافية والأخلاقية باستمرار للسيطرة على أجساد النساء وسلوكياتهن ولتبرير تدخلات الدولة التي تقيد الحق في الخصوصية وحرية الوصول إلى المعلومات. ففي أيلول / سبتمبر 2017، على سبيل المثال، قامت السلطات المصرية بحملة واسعة النطاق لإلقاء القبض على الأفراد مغايري الهوية الجنسية بعد تداول أخبارعن علم القوس القزح في حفلة غنائية. من بين الذين تم استهدافهم من قبل السلطات كانوا الأفراد الذين نشروا محتوى عبر الإنترنت يربطهم بالحفل، حيث تم خلق حالة من الغضب والهلع الأخلاقي لحشد التأييد للاضطهاد الذي يهدف إلى حماية القيم الأخلاقية والدينية للبلد. يتم يستخدم الهلع الشعبي أيضا لدعم الحظر الاكتروني. في كانون الأول / ديسمبر 2016، على سبيل المثال، ادعت وزارة الداخلية المصرية أنها أغلقت 163 صفحة على الفيسبوك واعتقلت 14 من المسؤولين عن إدارة الصفحات بتهمة “التحريض على ارتكاب أعمال التخريب ضد مؤسسات الدولة والمواطنين”.

ازدادت الاستراتيجيات المستخدمة لتنفيذ مظاهر العنف عبر الإنترنت المشار إليها أعلاه تعقيدا على مر السنين. وأصبحت الحكومات الآن قادرة على استخدام أساليب مختلفة لانتاج المحتوى الخاص بها لتشويه المشهد الرقمي لصالحها دون جعل طبيعة الرعاية الجكومية للمضمون واضحة. ويتم إجراء هذه التشوهات من قبل معلقين مدعومين ماديا من الحكومات، أو عبر توظيف موظفين متفرغين للتعامل مع المحتوى الرقمي. كما تستخدم الجهات الفاعلة الحكومية وغير الحكومية أيضا الحسابات الآلية على وسائل التواصل الاجتماعي للتأثير على الخطاب السياسي عبر الإنترنت. فمن الممكن الآن خلق الآف من الحسابات الوهمية التي يتم برمجتها لاستهداف أشخاص بعينهم، أو كلمات مفتاحية محددة، لإسكات الأصوات المعارضة أو إعاقة محاولات العمل الجماعي عبر الانترنت.

في مصر،[1] قامت السلطات بحجب أكثر من 100 موقع على شبكة الإنترنت، بما في ذلك موقع قناة الجزيرة الإخبارية القطرية، الموقع الإخباري المستقل مدى مصر، ومنصة التدوين “ميديام”. وبحلول تشرين الأول / أكتوبر 2017، ارتفع عدد المواقع الالكترونية المحجوبة إلى 434. كما حجبت السلطات المواقع الإلكترونية لمختلف الأدوات التي تساعد على التحايل على الرقابة، بما في ذلك تور وتونلبير وسيبيرغوست وهوتسبوت شيلد وتيجيرفي بي إن، وشبكات افتراضية خاصة أخرى (VPN) وخدمات بروكسي. كما تم استهداف ناشطين في سبع منظمات حقوق إنسان في حملة واسعة من قبل هاكرز في عام 2017. وفي الوقت نفسه، يقوم البرلمان بمراجعة مشروع قانون الجرائم الاكترونية الذي يمكن أن يقوض حرية الأفراد على الإنترنت، واقترح المشرعون بشكل منفصل إجبار مستخدمي وسائل الإعلام الاجتماعية على التسجيل لدى الحكومة ودفع رسوم شهرية.

في تونس،[2] تواصل الحكومة استخدام أحكام التشهير الجنائي في قانون العقوبات لمحاكمة المواطنين لانتقاد النظام عبر الانترنت. لا يزال التشهير بزعماء الدولة والمؤسسات العامة جريمة جنائية. وعلى الرغم من حماية حرية التعبير في دستور ما بعد الثورة، فإنه حتى منتصف عام 2017 لم تكن هناك مقترحات لتعديل أو إلغاء هذا التشريع وغيره من التشريعات المثيرة للجدل والتي ورثتها البلد من نظام حكم الرئيس المخلوع زين العابدين بن علي. ومع أن الرقابة ليست شديدة في تونس، حيث يتم استخدام أدوات التواصل الاجتماعي الشائعة مثل فاسيبوك ويوتوب وتويتر وخدمات استضافة المدونات بحرية نسبية، إلا أن القوانين القمعية لنظام بن علي لا تزال تشكل أكبر تهديد لحرية الإنترنت. على سبيل المثال، تنص المادة 86 من قانون الاتصالات السلكية واللاسلكية على أن أي شخص يثبت إدانته بـ “استخدام شبكات الاتصالات العامة لإهانة الآخرين أو إزعاجهم” يمكن أن يقضي مدة تصل إلى سنتين في السجن ومن الممكن أن يطالَب بدفع غرامة. وتنص المادة 121 (3) على عقوبة قصوى بالسجن لمدة خمس سنوات على المدانين بنشر محتوى “من شأنه أن يلحق ضررا بالنظام العام أو الآداب العامة”. وفي حين أن خطط إدخال قانون الجرائم الإلكترونية لم تتحقق، إلا أن لجنة تتألف من أعضاء وزارتي تكنولوجيا المعلومات والاتصالات ووزارة العدل تشكلت لإعداد مشروع لعرضه على مجلس الوزراء للموافقة عليه قبل اعتماده من قبل البرلمان. وشمل مشروع قانون سابق، تم تسريبه في عام 2014، أحكاما اشكالية تنطوي على تجرم التشهير الجنائي عبر وسائط الإعلام الرقمية.

يدرك صندوق التحرك العاجل لحقوق المرأة في أفريقيا حقيقة الاستخدام الواسع للأدوات والمنابر الإلكترونية للإوقاع بالمدافعات عن حقوق المرأة، ويدرك أيضا نقص الموارد باللغة العربية التي تتضمن تفاصيل تجارب هؤلاء الناشطات، أو المعلومات باللغة العربية حول كيفية تجنب العنف الرقمي الذي تقوم به جهات حكومية وغير حكومية. سيعمل صندوق التحرك العاجل لحقوق المرأة في أفريقيا من خلال هذا المشروع مع المدافعات عن حقوق الإنسان في تونس ومصر لاستكشاف خبراتهن مع النشاط اإللكتروني. كيف يستخدمون الإنترنت في الترويج لأفكارهن، وممارسة حقوقهن وما هي الآثار المحتملة لتدابير تنظيم المحتوى عبر الإنترنت على هذه القدرة؟ ما هي التكتيكات التي يستخدموها لتجنب مراقبة أنشطتهم ومن المخاطر والأخطار الحقيقية التي قد يواجهونها عبر الإنترنت؟ كيف يمكننا تطوير الثقة وإحساس أكبر باليقين عند استخدام التكنولوجيا سريعة الزوال لإنشاء المحتوى، والتفاعل مع الآخرين، وتنمية شبكات يمكننا الوثوق بها، وخلق مساحات آمنة لأنفسنا؟

كنسويات مستخدمات للإنترنت من أجل استخدامنا الشخصي ونشاطنا النسوي، يستلهم هذا المشروع عملة من المبدأ التالي من المبادئ النسوية للإنترنت: “إن الهجمات والتهديدات والترهيب التي تتعرض لها النساء والمغايرين جنسيا حقيقية ومضرة ومثيرة للقلق، وهي جزء من قضية العنف الجنساني الأوسع نطاقا. ومن مسؤوليتنا الجماعية أن نتناول هذة الظاهرة وأن ننهيها”.



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.