Connie Nawaigo- Zhuwarara
Strategic Programmes Manager
Connie is a Ugandan national. Prior to joining UAF-Africa, she worked at Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights as the Project Manager for Institutional Reform and Accountability programme. Before that she was the Programmes Manager for the Human Rights Training and Public Education at the same organisation.
Over the years she has amassed considerable working experience in human rights and women’s law specifically legal advice, lobbying & advocacy and research. Her area of specialty include women’s law, governance and democracy, business and human rights, legal based human rights education and natural resources law. She also has a keen interest in changing the status quo especially with regard to the challenges faced by women in the criminal and transitional justice system and how key reform, of rule of law institutions can make sure that the rights of women are protected.
Connie obtained her LLM – Masters in Women’s Law from the University of Zimbabwe and her LLB- Bachelor of Laws from Makerere University, Uganda. She is deeply invested in various community development initiatives where she is a strong advocate for the development and enhancement of women’s social entrepreneurship with the aim of improving women’s rural livelihoods. She enjoys having conversations with thought leaders especially on issues that focus on the emancipation of Africa.
Learning & Innovations Programme Officer
Masa is an Egyptian national. Masa has a passion for women’s human rights and is particularly interested in women’s economic rights, and strengthening the protection mechanisms and effective responses to women human rights defenders (WHRDs) at risk, with special focus on WHRDs in North Africa.
Prior to joining UAF-Africa, Masa worked with Nazra for Feminist Studies, as a researcher for the Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs) Program. Masa has experience in the documentation of violations faced by women human rights defenders and conducting advocacy at the Human Rights Council and African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Masa holds a Master’s degree in International Human Rights Law from the American University in Cairo (AUC), Arab Republic of Egypt, the focus of her thesis being on the manner in which violations of the right to social security contribute to poverty among women in Egypt; and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations, with a minor in philosophy, from the American University of Sharjah (AUS), United Arab Emirates.
In her spare time, Masa enjoys diving, baking, and sometimes Zumba dancing!
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.
CEO & Executive Director
She is a proud African citizen and Zimbabwean national. Ndana brings to the women’s movement, a sophisticated appreciation of the global philanthropy architecture, multi-faceted narratives of women’s leadership successes and struggles and a lived reality characterized by gender injustice, grit and hard work.
Prior to joining UAF-Africa, Ndana oversaw the UN Women office in Zimbabwe, where she led the execution of multi-million dollars funded EC, DFID and DANIDA Gender Support Programme. She has lectured at the Women’s University in Africa, been invited as guest lecturer and speaker at several institutions to speak about African Women’s Leadership, New Frontiers of Philanthropy, the nexus between HIV & AIDS, Ebola, Gender & Conflict; Psychology of Women as an intellectual discipline as well as on Women, Peace, Security & Justice.
Ndana is an Executive Education on Leadership alumnus of INSEAD Business School, both in France and Singapore. She earned her Master’s degree in Women’s Studies from Lancaster University, UK; Bachelor of Science Honors degree in Social Psychology from University of Zimbabwe and a diploma in Personnel Management. Ndana sits on the board of PROSPERA (The International Network of Women’s Funds) in Mexico. She serves on the Advisory Committee: Advancing Human Rights Initiative at The International Human Rights Funders Group in NYC-USA. Her work with UAF-Africa, the global women’s movement, the UN, academia, philanthropy institutions and regional consultancy assignments has meant extensive travels across Africa and the globe, thereby allowing her to combine her commitment to social justice with an opportunity to further explore women and girl’s realities throughout the world.
In her spare time, Ndana enjoys telling inspiring stories of women & transformation, trying out different cuisines and keeping up to date on international politics.
Francophone Assistant Grantmaking Officer
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 translation of English materials to French and vice versa and this enables the Fund reach out to Francophone grantees, advisors and partners and thus support the advancement of women’s human rights across the continent. He plays a major role in organizing UAF-Africa’s conferences in 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.
In his spare time, Edmond enjoys reading novels, jogging, watching detective and spy movies, making new friends, and of course learning new languages!
Shinaz Rehema Ali
Anglophone Assistant Grantmaking Officer
Prior to joining UAF-Africa, Shinaz worked as a social worker, theatre trainer and a project officer within different projects of AMREF’s Children In Need Programme. Shinaz possesses extensive experience and expertise in women’s rights, development and implementation of legal policies and community oriented capacity development on psychosocial issues.
She is passionate about women’s human rights and keen on the intersectionalities between women’s rights and religion with emphasis on fundamentalisms, women and natural resources governance, policy reforms and has specific interest on Young Women and Girls in Africa.
Shinaz’s rare skills set in legal, social work and the arts has been greatly valued at UAF-Africa’s grant making portfolio where intersectional strategies in the provision of grants is of huge priority. Her analytical, inquisitive and curious nature has afforded her the opportunity to conduct instructive grant making due diligence thereby ensuring provision of sound and innovative grants that have gone on to change women’s realities on the ground.
She holds an LLB from the University of Nairobi School of Law and Diplomas in Project Management and Social Work and Development. She is currently completing her studies in French and finalizing her Master of Arts Degree in International Relations and Political Science from the University of Nairobi. She enjoys fashion, art, reading, sewing, cooking and working out during her spare time.
Grant making Attaché
Grâce is a Rwandan National. She has worked with various community-based organisations across East Africa including the Rwandan Girl Guide Association, an NGO working to end violence against women and girls. She has also worked as a translator providing services in English, French, Kinyarwanda and Kiswahili to several organisations in Kenya.
As a vibrant, charismatic leader, she has held many leadership positions including the Commissioner of the Youth Girl Guide Association, as the outgoing President of the Rwanda Student Association in Kenya and Secretary/Treasurer of Ibuka in Kenya. Grâce graduated from Daystar University in with a Degree in Integrated Community Development where she is currently pursuing a Master of Arts Degree in Child and Youth Development. She is passionate about the relationships between the youth and the role the family plays in moulding the youth to become better leaders.
In her spare time, Grâce enjoys watching thought-provoking movies, reading novels, cooking, listening to music, visiting new places, and most of all, networking and making new friends.
Partnerships & Development Manager
Prior to joining UAF-Africa, Tariro lectured in Gender, HIV&AIDS and the Law at Great Zimbabwe University. She worked at Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association (ZWLA) as the Transformative Justice Manager as well as at Plan International and Musasa Project in various coordination and advisory capacities.
Her core expertise is in the areas of gender based violence, human rights and the law as it impacts on women. Tariro is a seasoned gender legal researcher and analyst who has spearheaded several cutting edge women-centred partnership initiatives in Zimbabwe and within Africa. Tariro holds a Master’s degree in Women’s Law (MSWL) attained from Southern and East African Regional Centre for Women’s Law (University of Zimbabwe), a Bachelor of Laws Honours Degree (LLBS) from the University of Zimbabwe and an Executive Certificate in Community Development and Humanitarian Project Management.She recently participated in the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) in the US. In 2015 she was nominated for the Female Youth Human Rights Defender Zimbabwe Award.
Tariro enjoys mentoring young women leaders. She is an avid legal and social justice journals reader and a keen blogger who writes about socio-political, legal and gender justice issues. Tariro is a fitness-cum-wellness enthusiast; a runner who has actively participated in the 2 Oceans (56 Km) Marathon in South Africa.
Laura Damaris Opande
Laura is a Kenyan national with a background in Accounting. While her strength is in accounting, Laura contributes across all portfolios at UAF-Africa. Apart from her contribution within our finance department, she helps to update our website, a skill she borrows from her passion as a blogger.
Previously, she worked at Stanbic Bank (Kenya) as a clerk as well as a service consultant. Laura also has a burning passion for the girl child. She has volunteered at New Life Home Trust and participated in local ‘voluntours’ with the Kenya Scouts Association for community outreach programs.
Laura is a budding short story writer who likes reading classic books and biographies and enjoys listening to soulful and acoustic music. In her spare time, she engages in travelling as a novice portrait/lifestyle photographer and loves participating in outdoor sports activities. She also has a growing passion for culinary arts and likes collecting antiques for interior decor.
Laura holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) degree from Strathmore Business School in Kenya. She is also proficient in German (intermediate user) and is currently pursuing French courses at Alliance Française, Nairobi.
Grantmaking Programmes Officer
Caroline, a Kenyan national, has been with the Fund since 2010. She has a wealth of experience and interest in women’s rights and conflict management.Caroline’s strength in critical analysis of women’s priorities and concerns within conflict and post conflict settings has been of phenomenal importance to the grant making programme.
She is committed towards promoting and defending the rights of women and girls across the continent and has been doing so especially through documentation and writing opinion pieces about her experiences interacting with marginalized communities in Kenya and Angola.
Caroline’s enthusiastic engagement with communications has also been of critical essence within the grant making portfolio. In this regard she has advanced the fundamental need to highlight grantees’ experiences through strategic use of multi-media platforms including i-stories in showcasing the impact that women’s work has on the sustainable development of their communities.
Caroline ardently believes in women’s agency and uses her skills in conflict analysis and communication to support and profile the lives and work of African women. She is an expert resource in organizing convenings across the globe. In this regard, Caroline organizes spaces that facilitate regional and nuanced intergenerational knowledge, skills, strategies and tactics exchange. She has facilitated meetings on peace, security and justice and spoken extensively on women’s rights issues at high-level human rights gatherings including during UN organized convenings.
Caroline holds a Master of Arts Degree in International Conflict Management from the University of Nairobi, Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology and Communications and a Diploma in French. She is a member and past director of the Rotaract Club of Nairobi Central.
In her spare time, Caroline enjoys baking, traveling and reading political journals.
Miriam Wanjira Gichuhi
Miriam is a Kenyan national. She who works as a hospitality point person in the Kenyan office where she runs the day to day office errands. She has a keen eye for detail and is eager to grow with the organisation.
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.
Human Resources Manager/Executive Assistant
Nancy has worked in conflict and post-conflict African countries with the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations, (UNDPKO). Her career with the UN spans for 8 years, where she worked with the UN Mission in Liberia, UNMIL, and UN Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).
Nancy holds a BA in Sociology and Economics from Africa University, Zimbabwe. She is currently completing her MBA at University of Zimbabwe. Nancy loves the field of Human Resources Administration and Management and is very excited about the endless possibilities at UAF-Africa. Nancy works from Harare, Zimbabwe.
Communications & Knowledge Management Officer
Onyinyechi Okechukwu is a Nigerian national, a communication for development specialist with over 15 years’ experience of developing and implementing programmes that promote human rights in Africa with a strong interest in women’s rights.
She has worked in several international development organisations including Alliances for Africa, Media for Development Nigeria, WaterAid and ActionAid leading communications, advocacy and campaigns initiatives across Africa and Europe.
She has a strong media relations experience having worked as a radio and television producer and managed media networks in west and other parts of Africa with a passion for campaigns and policy influencing on women’s rights issues.
Onyinyechi is using her work to create innovative digital and traditional media activities that influence policies, attitudes and public behaviour towards advancing women’s rights across the world.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Lagos State University, a Masters’ degree in Humanitarian and Refugee Studies as well as certificate in Communications in Emergency
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.