Dr TadiaHilda M. Tadria

Dr Hilda Tadria is Ugandan, and a co-founder of the AWDF. She has a degree in Sociology from Makerere University, an MA in Social Anthropology from Newham College, Cambridge, UK and a Doctorate in Social Anthropology from the University of Minnesota, USA.

She has been a consultant on Gender and Development, institutional management development and social development research at the World Bank, UNDP, UNIFEM, the Ugandan government and other international agencies such as the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and NOVIB. She was an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at Makerere University, and was a Senior Consultant, Women in Development at the Eastern and Southern Management Institute based in Tanzania; she also served as the country resident representative in Zimbabwe for the Institute. In the early 90s she was a Programme Officer with the African Capacity Building Foundation.

She was a private consultant for five years till her appointment as the Special Advisor on Gender to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. While she was lecturing at Makerere University she founded the women’s NGO known as Action for Development (ACFODE). She has extensive field research experience in participatory and qualitative research methodologies both at rural community level and corporate organisational level. She has published a number of papers on Gender and Development.

Joana, a co-founder of the AWDF Joana Foster

Joana Foster, a co-founder of the AWDF, has been a social activist for over thirty years. She became a member of the Campaign against Nuclear Disarmament at 17. All through her life she has been involved in founding organisations and supporting initiatives for social justice.

Joana is a qualified lawyer in the UK and in Ghana, the country of her birth. She has practiced in both countries for many years, concentrating on Civil and Political Rights in Ghana, and Immigration and Women’s Rights in the UK.

In her spare time, she has been involved in activism around poverty, race equality and women’s rights. She gave legal advice voluntarily to the Preschool Playgroup Association of England and Wales for three years as their honorary legal adviser. She provided the same pro bono service to various women’s centres and black organisations in the UK.

Joana’s experience includes being a Trustee of the Child Poverty Action Group of the UK and in the 1990s entering the NGO sector full time first as the Country Director of CUSO, Ghana, a Canadian Non-Profit organisation committed to social justice around the world. She was also the Regional Coordinator of Women in law and Development in Africa, a leading women’s rights network in Africa, a post she held for four years. WILDAF is a pan-African network of organisations and individuals dedicated to promoting and strengthening strategies that link law and development to increase the capacity of women to enjoy all their human rights. She is also one of the founders of the Gender and Human Rights Documentation Centre based in Accra, Ghana.

BAf at AFF 2008_newBisi Adeleye-Fayemi

Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi is a co-founder of the AWDF. With an academic background in History, Cultural Anthropology and Gender studies, she has acquired professional experience as a social change philanthropist, social entrepreneur, journalist, fundraiser, trainer, and organizational development specialist.

Bisi was the former Director of Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA), an international development organisation for African women based in London,  UK, with an Africa regional office in Kampala, Uganda, from 1991-2001.  While she was the Director of AMwA, she established the African Women’s Leadership Institute (AWLI), a training and networking forum for young African women.  The leadership institute she developed has become such a powerful legacy that today, the AWLI has trained over 5,000 women across Africa, and most of these women are now in senior decision making positions as Ministers, MPs, academics, civil society leaders, and employees of international organizations.

Bisi has been Co-Chair International Network of Women’s Funds (2004-2006), Honorary President, Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) (2003-2005) and Trustee, Comic Relief (UK.  She has also served as a resource person to UN agencies such as UNIFEM, UNDP, UN/ECA (Addis Ababa) and several other regional and international bodies. She is currently an Adviser to Global Fund for Women (USA), an Editorial Board Member of Alliance Magazine (UK), a board member of Resource Alliance (UK), an Advisory Board member of Realising Rights – The Ethical Globalisation Initiative, a member of the African Feminist Forum Working Group, a board member of the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf Market Women’s Fund, a board member of the Women’s Funding Network (USA), and Co-Chair of the newly established African Grantmakers Network. A talented writer, Bisi is also a Contributing Editor for The News magazine, Nigeria.

Bisi is a leading voice not only in the African women’s movement and civil society, but in the global women’s movement as well. She has also become a key figure in the world of philanthropy, particularly in the global South. She is in very high demand across the world as a resource person, strategist, guest speaker, trainer, events host and process manager.

In 2006, she received the Distinguished Alumni award from the Faculty of Arts, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, as well as an Achievers Award given by the African International Media Summit (2006) for promoting a positive image of Africa. She is a 2007 recipient of the prestigious `Changing the face of Philanthropy’ award from the Women’s Funding Network, USA, a Synergos Senior Fellow, as well as the 2000/2001 holder of the Dame Nita Barrow Distinguished Visitorship at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) University of Toronto. She also holds the  honorary chieftaincy title of ‘Ochiorah’ (People’s Leader) of Imezi Owa, Ezeagwu Local Government, Enugu State, Nigeria, in recognition of her support for women in that community. In April 2009, Mrs Fayemi was named by New Africa Magazine as one of the 20 most influential African women on the continent.

Elizabeth Lwanga

Elizabeth Lwanga has over thirty years experience in development work with a focus on programme development including policy formulation, project and programme design, implementation and evaluation. Experience includes working with national governments, non-governmental organizations and with the United Nations. Special areas of interest and expertise include policy dialogue with government, institutional development, management of development in crisis or special circumstances, humanitarian and relief work, partnership building with civil society and donor community, personnel management, inter-agency coordination, programme analysis, development support communication, information and communication, media production, gender analysis, and the advancement of women in development. More recently a special interest and focus on innovation and transformation in development.


Currently working as a Consultant focusing on innovations in development approaches, with special interest in leadership development and local level investment in Africa.

Currently involved in the setting up of two new organizations focusing on Africa’s development. These are: Africa Development Alternatives (ADA), which is focusing on transforming people’s lives through interventions in the areas of governance, social and economic development, management, communications and advocacy; and African Capacity Matters (ACM), whose objective is to develop and strengthen capacities for Africa’s development.

Served as United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative and Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator of the UN System Operational Activities in Kenya until June 30th 2008.  Served as Deputy Regional Director, UNDP Africa Bureau from 2004 to October 2006. Formerly, UNDP Resident Representative and Coordinator of United Nations System in Swaziland for over four years. Served for almost five years as Resident Representative, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sierra Leone between 1994 / 99 ; and Manager of the UNDP Gender in Development Programme in New York from 1992 to 1994, after a fourteen month posting as UNDP Deputy Representative in the Gambia.

Prior to joining UNDP, served as Africa Director for OXFAM America between 1989 and 1990. For three years between 1985 / 88 worked as a consultant to United Nations Development Fund for Women  (UNIFEM), United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), United Nations International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), the World Bank, the World Council of Churches, and the African Women Task Force on the International Decade for Women. Previous positions include work as Director for Communications for the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) and Director of the AACC Training Centre, television producer/director and script writer in Nairobi, Kenya and Kampala, Uganda.

Other professional activities undertaken between 1984 and 1989 include: Founder member of the Kenya School of Professional Studies (SPS), a private training institution in management, accountancy, insurance and banking, Information and Communication Technology;

President of the African Council on Communication Education (ACCE), Correspondent for Radio Netherlands Afro-Scene Programme; founder member of Women in Development Consultancy Services (WDCS) and  Africa Development Assistance (ADA) and Project Director and Editor of African Women Link, a newsletter on women’s development in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Bachelor of Arts Degree in Linguistics, Diploma in Broadcasting and short term professional training in management, negotiations, gender analysis, development and communication.

Professor Sesae Felicity Mpuchane

Professor Sesae Felicity Mpuchane is South African. She has a BS degree from Columbia University, MS degree in Medical Microbiology from Ohio University and a PhD in Food Microbiology.

Professor Mpuchane served as the coordinator of the University of Botswana “Women in Science” project. The team  was involved in various activities including conducting visits to schools to encourage girls to pursue science careers, organizing science clinics  at UB that brought girls from schools all over the country to be exposed to instrumentation and to be mentored, participation in career fairs, job shadowing activities and the production of seven booklets for schools ( Careers in Computing; Careers in Science; Careers in Mathematics; Careers in Engineering; Careers in Agriculture; Encourage your daughter to do Science and profiles of some Batswana women Scientists). A documentary on the lives of six Botswana women scientists was produced and screened on the local BTV. In 2005, the US Embassy gave her an award, the “Botswana Vanguard Women Leaders” for her work. She has been involved in a number of fundraising activities at UB and in other organizations.

She is a member of the Third World Organization of Women in Science (TWOWS), and the International Association of Milk, Food and Environmental Sanitarians (IAMFES).

Mary Wandia

Mary Wandia is an African feminist whose feminist journeys started at the African Women’s Development and Communications Network (FEMNET) in 1999 where she worked as a Programme Officer leading on advocacy around gender mainstreaming in the transition from the Organisation of African Unity to the African Union (AU), as well as trade and financing for development.  She previously worked as the Women’s Rights Coordinator at the Africa Secretariat of Action Aid International in Nairobi, and the Pan Africa Gender Justice and Governance Lead at Oxfam’s Pan Africa Programme. Currently, she works for the Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa (OSIEA) as Regional Programme Officer, East Africa Community (EAC)/AfriMAP


For the past ten years Mary has contributed to women’s rights advocacy work at the national, sub-regional and regional levels in Africa. She is one of the co-founding members of the Solidarity for African Women’s Rights (SOAWR) that advocates for the implementation of the AU Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa. Mary is a member of the African Feminist Forum Working Group and an alumni of, and member of the training faculty of the African Women’s Leadership Institute (AWLI). Mary is the Interim Chair of the Board of Directors of the Centre for Citizens’ participation on the African UNION (CCP-AU).


Mary is very optimistic that the African Union is a viable institution for promoting and advancing women’s rights. In her opinion it is still male dominated and its ways of working very patriarchal, however women have begun to challenge this. In her own words, ‘there is a lot of work in the years ahead that will demand our creativity, passion and commitment as African feminists to ensure that our issues are entrenched in all the AU’s processes, protocols and practices. I am delighted to be part of that struggle.”

January Nozipho-Bardill

Nozipho January-Bardill was formerly the MTN Group Executive: Corporate Affairs and MTN Group Spokesperson. She joined MTN from the Department of Foreign Affairs where she was the Deputy Director-General and Head of Human Resources in the Foreign Service Institute.


She served as South Africa’s Ambassador to Switzerland, from 2001 to 2005. In January 2000 Nozipho was appointed to and served as one of 18 members of the United Nations Expert Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) until March 2004. She has been active in the women’s movement in South Africa having worked as lead officer with the Office on the Status of Women in the Presidency in the drafting of the current National Policy on Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality.


Nozipho’s experience cuts across the public, private, education and voluntary services with varied experiences which includes serving as Commissioner on the Black Empowerment Commission, serving on the Council of the University of Cape Town and serving on the boards/being a founding member of several NGOS including the Gender Education and Training Network, the African Gender Institute at University of Cape Town and the Institute for Democratic Alternatives in South Africa


  Abena Amoah

Abena is an accomplished investment banker, leading as originator, financial advisor or stockbroker to many landmark transactions on the Ghanaian capital markets in the last 13 years.

She recently left the Renaissance Group, where she was CEO of NewWorld Renaissance Securities and Head of Investment Banking and Finance of Renaissance Capital, Ghana.  Prior to joining the Renaissance Group, she was Executive Director at Strategic African Securities. Abena is currently setting up her own financial services firm and she plans to raise capital to invest in Ghanaian and African businesses as an equity partner.

Abena has served on several boards as a director, including those of the Ghana Stock Exchange, the Ghana Venture Capital Trust Fund, Pioneer Aluminium Factory (a GSE-listed company), NewWorld Renaissance Securities, Strategic African Securities and the Ghana Securities Industry Association. She was a Governor on the Millennium Excellence Awards 2005, at which Kofi Annan received the highest award. She also hosted Investment Digest, a TV programme to educate the public on investments for several seasons.

She currently serves on the boards of the African Women’s Development Fund, a philanthropist organisation that promotes African Women’s causes, the AFS Intercultural Exchange Programme Ghana, a philanthropy promoting intercultural learning and The Challenge Season 3, a TV Reality Show to develop youth leadership promoted by the British Council.  She is also an Assessor (Capital Markets Expert) of the High Courts of Ghana.

She attended the University of Denver, Colorado, USA and University of Ghana Business School, where she graduated at the top of her School with a First Class B. Sc. Administration (Accounting & Finance) Degree.  She is also an Authorised Dealing Officer of the Ghana Stock Exchange.


Ndeye Sow

Ndeye Sow is Senior Adviser at international Alert, a peace building NGO based in London, United Kingdom. She has nearly 20 years experience in developing, implementing, managing and evaluating programs in the field of gender and development, conflict transformation and peace building. She is particularly interested in the integration of Gender into the theory and practice of conflict transformation and peace building.

She joined International Alert in 1995 and developed and managed a program to help promote and strengthen women’s leadership in conflict transformation, peace building and human rights in the Great Lakes region of Africa. She has also coordinated and undertaken research looking at the role of women in political processes in countries emerging from conflict, sexual violence in conflict situations, and on assumptions and theories of change underpinning peace-building programming.

Prior to joining International Alert in 1995, Ndeye Sow was the Executive Secretary of the Association of African Women for Research and Development (AAWORD). She is a founding member of Abantu for Development, a non-governmental organization whose aim is to strengthen the capacity of African women and enhance their representation at all levels of developmental processes. She is also a member of the African Feminist Forum, a platform to reflect and deliberate on the advancement of women’s rights in Africa. She holds a M.A. in History from the University of Sorbonne in France and has further professional qualification in the design of Conflict Resolution Training from the Eastern Mennonite University in the USA, and expertise in facilitation, gender training and teambuilding.