Our Team Bios

Our Advisory Board

The Advocacy Accelerator seeks to contribute to strengthened advocacy capacity and impact by addressing the expressed needs of country-based advocates and their supporters.

Kanini Mutooni, is a UK chartered accountant and has worked at director and board level positions at Merrill Lynch Bank of America, KPMG, Ernst and Young and Kleinwort Benson Bank over the past 15 years in Wealth Management and Investment Banking across three continents. Her core experience covers senior level positions in internal and external audit, accounting and governance in UK and USA. She is currently the Director for Investment at the East Africa Trade and Investment Hub in Nairobi, an eight-country initiative created to increase and attract patient capital investments into the East African region. Ms Mutooni is the Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee of the Global Innovation Fund, a UK and Washington based $250 million multi-donor innovation fund that supports investment in innovations in emerging markets. She also serves as the Chair of Finance and Audit Committee of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, a UK based institution that works with communities in over 34 countries to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS. She previously served as an independent director and alternate Chair of Finance and Audit Committee for Shelter Afrique, a development finance institution present in 43 African countries. Ms Mutooni is an Investment Committee member of the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) a $220 million impact fund that provides grants and financing to the agriculture sector in sub-Saharan Africa. She was recognised by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader in 2014 for her contribution to business and was named as one of the most influential business women in East Africa by the Business Week magazine in 2013. In 2010, she was nominated in London as a ‘Woman of the City Future Leader.’ Ms Mutooni has an MBA from Cass Business School, City University UK and is also a Harvard Kennedy School alumnus.

Kanini Mutooni

Michael Asudi is an innovative youth leader with over six years of experience working with youth in Kenya and East Africa. He is the Country Coordinator and the Secretary of International Affairs at the Organisation of Africa Youth. Mr Asudi is the Convener and Founder of Kenya Adolescents and Youth SRHR/HIV Network and was this year’s Head of Delegation of the Kenya Adolescents and Youth SRHR/HIV Network Youth Delegation to Africa Union Summit. Previously, he was a Volunteer Trainer and Resource Mobilization Officer/Treasurer at the Organisation of Africa Youth-Kenya. Between March and July, he led #Jiactivate social movement to collect over 100,000 inputs from youth across Kenya that formed the 2017 Youth Declaration that has been endorsed by five Presidential Candidates. Mr Asudi has an MBA in Finance and a Diploma in Youth Development Work/Commonwealth Youth Program from the University of Nairobi, Kenya.

Michael Asudi

Marie Ba is an experienced programme manager currently working with the Ouagadougou Partnership Coordination Unit in mobilising donors and additional resources to intensify funding in the sub-region striving to increase access to family planning and sexual reproductive health. Ms Ba has over 10 years of experience in West and Central Africa in health programme management, including communication, advocacy and relations with donors and technical/financial partners. She is skilled in advocacy and communications, strategic planning, program design and implementation, capacity building and institutional development. She is the Regional Program Manager, Advocacy and External Relations, Intrahealth International in Dakar, Senegal. Ms Ba previously worked in Programme Management at Population Services International in Washington, DC and in the field and has covered countries ranging from Rwanda, Burundi Senegal, DRC, Mali in West and Central Africa Region. Ms Ba holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences from the University of Maryland-College Park, USA and an MA in International Development and Peace/Conflict Resolution (focused on Africa) from the School of International Service at American University in Washington, DC, USA.

Marie T. BA

Althea D. Anderson is a Programme Officer in Global Development and Population at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Althea is a social scientist with expertise in examining the intersection of gender, inequality, and health. She is responsible for grants to support research, advocacy and programming that aim to expand women’s reproductive choices, economic opportunities, and social well-being. Before joining the foundation, Althea conducted social and behavioral science research in the fields of sexual and reproductive health and rights, women’s empowerment, male engagement in gender equality, and youth development in the U.S. and several African countries. Most recently, she served as the Research, Monitoring, and Evaluation Unit Manager for Sonke Gender Justice, an advocacy organization working to promote gender equality and human rights, and prevent gender-based violence and HIV/AIDS throughout Africa. In this role, she provided strategic direction in strengthening synergies across the organization’s research, policy advocacy, and programmatic work by fostering a cross-discipline action/learning approach to knowledge mobilization. Althea has published and lectured on gender and sexuality, social norms change, intersectional approaches to the study of inequality, and qualitative research methods. She holds a bachelor’s degree in social welfare from the University of California Berkeley, a master’s degree in public health from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and a doctorate degree in sociomedical sciences from Columbia University.

Althea D. Anderson

Dr Gitahi Githinji is the Group CEO of Amref Health Africa. He has a passion to strengthen the capacity of Africans to advocate for health. Dr Githinji’s goal is to see Amref Health Africa develop self-funding programmes that create social change and social enterprise. Prior to his appointment in 2015, he was the Vice President and Regional Director for Africa, Smile Train International, where he successfully established partnerships for long-term sustainability with various African governments. Dr Githinji previously worked with the Nation Media Group as the Managing Director for Monitor Publications in Uganda and General Manager for Marketing and Circulation in East Africa. He also held progressively senior positions at GlaxoSmithKline, Avenue Group and the insurance industry. Dr Gitahi has a Medical degree from the University of Nairobi and an MBA in Marketing from United States International University, Nairobi, Kenya.

Dr. Gitahi Githinji

Lorna Irungu-Macharia is a communication strategist and experienced campaign manager on social impact issues relating to women in leadership, health and development. She supports and promotes visibility of an assortment of brands. Ms Macharia is the Founder and Director of SIWA Communications, an agency that offers innovative communications solutions to organisations specialising on below the line campaigns, event management, experiential and strategic positioning. She has previously worked as a Media Consultant Women in the Red Awards, a global campaign led by a consortium of women focused organisations under the umbrella “Women and Girls Lead Global.” She was a presenter for the Nation Media Group and worked with Oxfam East Africa as the Campaign Manager for Africans Act for Africa. Ms Macharia is an Eisenhower Multi Nation Fellow and an Archbishop Tutu Fellow under the African Leadership Institute. She holds a BA in Communications from Daystar University, Nairobi, Kenya.

Lorna Irungu

Ruth Koshal is a strategic and visionary leader with 16 years of experience in senior management in innovative regional policy and advocacy. This has included work in the areas of child rights, fundraising, building partnerships, networking and advocating for change with donors, governments, civil society and regional bodies such as the African Union and East African Community. Mrs Koshal is the Senior Africa Engagement Officer at Girls Not Brides the Global Partnership to End Child Marriage, based in Nairobi, Kenya. Prior to joining Girls Not Brides, she was the Director of Social Enterprise at Africa Centre for Entrepreneurship and Leadership in Kenya. Ruth previously worked with Save the Children International as a Senior Manager and World Vision International as a Senior Policy and Advocacy Advisor. She has lived and worked in Tanzania, Kenya and the USA. Mrs Koshal has an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Massachusetts, USA.

Ruth Koshal

Caroline Kwamboka N. is an expert in fostering dialogue among and between state and non-state actors aimed at improving investments in health, welfare, and recognition of sexual health and reproductive rights. She is the Head of External Relations, Advocacy and Communications at the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) Africa Region. Ms Kwamboka currently coordinates advocacy work in over 40 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa; and has previously served as the International Team Manager for Advocacy at Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevoelkerung (DSW). Ms Kwamboka is trained in Anthropology (BA) and International Relations and Political Science (MA). She also holds professional credentials on Strategic Management, Health Economics and Fertility Transition from the Harvard Kennedy School, World Bank Institute e-institute and The Oxford University, respectively.

Caroline Kwamboka

Brenda W Kariuki is a seasoned strategist and implementer in advocacy, public and social policy, communications and government relations. With over 14 years of experience, Ms Kariuki has managed programmes and raised the profile of issues affecting women and children at the global, regional and national levels, including maternal health, gender equity and rights of women, HIV/AIDS and broader child protection issues. She is the Regional Director of Advocacy and Campaigns for East Africa at World Vision. Prior to joining the World Vision, Ms Kariuki was the Head of Advocacy, Campaigns, Media and Communications at Save the Children International. Ms Kariuki has an MSc in Health Economics and Policy and Management from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Policy and Management from the University of York (UK).

Brenda Kariuki

Dr Aminu Magashi Garba is the civil societies’ representative of the Global Financing Facility Investors Group and a member of the UHC2030 CSOs Pre Advisory Group. He founded and coordinates the Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN), à Pan African group that uses budget advocacy to influence adequate health sector finances, transparency and accountability. He is a co-convener of the PMNCH Steering Group on accountability, a founding member of the Global Financing Facility (GFF) Civil Societies Coordinating Group. In the past, he has facilitated the emergence of many national and subnational accountability mechanisms in Nigeria focusing on SRMNCAH. He writes a newspaper health column with a Nigerian Newspaper ‘Daily Trust’ for over 14 years and the publisher of an online newspaper ‘Health Reporters – www.healthreporters.info. Dr Garba has an MSc in Public Health and a diploma from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He is a 2006/7 British Chevening Scholar.

Dr. Aminu M. Garba

Yves Niyiragira is an organisational leader with more than 12 years of experience in policy analysis, organisational development, change processes, advocacy and management of multi-country campaigns focusing on the African Union legal instruments. He is the Executive Director of Fahamu, an organisation that works on social justice issues in Africa, with offices in Nairobi, Kenya and Dakar, Senegal. As an independent consultant, Mr Niyiragira has worked on policy development and advised civil society players on policies, governance and democratisation processes in Africa. He is a board member of Open Hands Studios, an American not-for-profit organisation that works to preserve the culture, values and civilisation of minority groups in developing countries. Mr Niyiragira has a Master’s degree in International Relations from the United States International University-Africa, Kenya.

Yves Niyiragira

Moses Dombo is an experienced development practitioner, manager and technical advisor with over 30 years of experience in national and international socio-economic and community development work across sectors. He currently serves as PATH’s Chief of Party for the Advocacy for Better Health Project in Uganda, where he manages a partnership with 21 national non-government organisations working in 35 districts. Mr Dombo is the Founder and President of MOJES Consult and Enterprises LLC and the Global Institute of Development Research and Training (GIDRAT). He has previously been the Senior Director of Operation at World Vision East Africa and Executive Director of Hope for African Children Initiative. Mr Dombo has an MBA in Economic Development (Leadership and Management) from the Eastern University in Pennsylvania, USA and an MSc in Social and Economic Development Studies from the University of Wales, UK.

Moses J. M. Dombo

Dr Rose N Oronje is a development policy and health systems researcher with over 12 years of experience in evidence-into-policy communications and health systems research. She is the Director of Science Communications and Evidence Update at the African Institute for Development Policy in Nairobi, Kenya. Dr Oronje has previously headed the Policy Engagement and Communications Unit at the African Population and Health Research Center. She is a member of the Commission Advisory Group for the Guttmacher-LANCET Commission on “Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Post-2015 World.” Dr Oronje has a PhD in Development Studies from the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, UK and an MA in Communications Studies from the University of Nairobi, Kenya.

Dr. Rose N. Oronj

Pamella Sittoni is an experienced Managing Editor of a respected regional newspaper in East Africa – The East African. As a Managing Editor she shapes the news agenda to inform and educate readers in East Africa and contributes to regional integration and socio-economic development. With 17 years of experience as a journalist, she has a wide network of key local and international media contacts and a deep understanding of the media industry. Before joining The East African, Ms Sittoni was the Communication Specialist at UNICEF Kenya. Ms Sittoni has a Master’s degree in Communications, Democracy and Governance from the University of Leicester, UK.

Pamela Sittoni

John Whalen is the CEO and President of Kito, Inc, based in Boston, New York, Seattle and Nairobi. Kito has three integrated companies helping to invest capital while concurrently bringing capacity building services to seed-stage start-ups in East Africa. Kito focuses on social enterprises that use data and technology to scale within their respective verticals (having successfully invested in companies in financial services; agriculture, health and education). Prior to joining Kito, Mr Whalen served as the President of Pact Institute from 2010 to 2016, broadening Pact’s donor base to include foundations and corporations while growing revenues ten-fold over five years. He helped secure a major Rockefeller Foundation grant to invest in starting a Knowledge Management practice that was instrumental in transforming Pact’s use of technology, data and knowledge. Mr Whalen has an MSFS degree in International Business Diplomacy and International Trade Policy from Georgetown University, Washington, USA.

John Whalen

Sarah Whitmarsh is a leader in advocacy communication and media advocacy at the global and country level. She is the Communication Manager for the Advance Family Planning initiative at the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Ms Whitmarsh previously served as the Senior Communication Program Officer for Advance Family Planning. Ms Whitmarsh has an MA in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA.

Sarah E. Whitmarsh

Our Advocacy Accelerator Staff

The Advocacy Accelerator is supported by a dedicated staff of experienced professionals based in Nairobi, Kenya.

Wanjiku Kamau is a public health specialist with significant experience of global health policy and a particular interest in adolescent sexual reproductive health and rights. Much of her career has been dedicated to the issue of HIV prevention working with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and the International Partnership for Microbicides where she contributed to critical policy work to increase political and financial support for new HIV preventive technologies including HIV vaccines and microbicides. Wanjiku is a passionate campaigner and advocacy strategist with experience in changing government policies and practices in the interest of the most vulnerable people in society. Prior to her appointment at the Advocacy Accelerator, Wanjiku was the Policy & Advocacy Lead in a Dutch-funded programme called the Partnership to Inspire, Transform and Connect the HIV Response (PITCH) at the International HIV/AIDS Alliance. She has designed and delivered successful advocacy strategies for policy-change projects and campaigns that have been implemented in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe. Wanjiku is recognised as a highly successful fundraiser, with expertise in European Union and European bilateral funding for health in Africa having raised over $200m for various non-profits. In her role as Executive Director, Wanjiku provides strategic leadership and guidance across all programme and partnership activities. To contact Wanjiku, email: [email protected]

Wanjiku Kamau
- Executive Director

Claire Mathonsi is an African feminist with extensive experience in women’s rights and gender equality in a global context with direct experience across Asia, Anglophone and Francophone Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America & the Caribbean. Throughout her career, she has worked in diverse sectors at national, regional and global level. Claire has comprehensive insight and practical exposure across gender in the context of SRHR, HIV, governance, economic transformation and all forms of gender based violence (GBV) and its linkages to key issues related to gender equality. She has worked as the Global Technical Advisor: Gender & Gender Based Violence Advisor at the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, was a founding member of the African Women’s Rights Collective (AWRC), was the co-Chair of the United Kingdom DFID PPA Learning Group on Gender, was on the Steering Committee Member for Women4GlobalFund and is currently the Chairperson of Access Chapter 2. To contact Claire, email: [email protected]

Claire Mathons
- Deputy Executive Director

Diana Muoka has over five years of experience in programmes and business administration. As the Programmes & Operations Lead, Diana provides leadership and management for daily programme implementation and the operational activities of the Advocacy Accelerator. Prior to joining the Advocacy Accelerator team, Diana served as the Events Manager for the Great Grevy’s Rally – the first ever national census of the endangered Grevy’s Zebra that was held across Kenya. She has experience working with start-ups in business development and served as an Administrative and Research Assistant at the University College Dublin (UCD) Centre for Humanitarian Action in Dublin, Ireland where she assisted in launching the then Department for Humanitarian Action into a full-fledged center and hub for humanitarian action in Ireland, the first of its kind. Diana supports the principles of humanitarianism, and is driven by the desire to promote positive and sustainable socio-economic change for the most vulnerable in society. To contact Diana, email: [email protected]

Diana Muoka
- Programmes & Operations Lead

Jodi Keyserling has almost 15 years of experience working to advance public health and advocacy programming, with a focus capacity strengthening and on sexual, reproductive and maternal health issues (SRMH). As the Content & Training Specialist, Jodi is coordinating the development of a youth-friendly advocacy curriculum to support youth advocacy efforts in Kenya and beyond. Prior to joining the Advocacy Accelerator, Jodi worked as an Independent Consultant providing strategic guidance and support to clients in the areas of advocacy capacity strengthening, training and technical assistance; strategic planning and partnership development; and organizational gender and diversity. She also served as a Senior Policy Analyst for CARE primarily focused on coordinating the development, implementation and evaluation of CARE International’s first sexual, reproductive and maternal health global advocacy strategy. Jodi passionate about creating safe spaces for dialogue, where people can have hard discussions, challenge each other and challenge their own believes. She believes that these hard conversations are what will ultimately lead to progress and growth. To contact Jodi, email: [email protected]

Jodi Keyserling
- Content & Training Specialist

Jane Nyambura has more than three years of experience providing programmatic and administrative support to various organisations. As the Executive Assistant, Jane provides programmatic and operational support to the Executive Director. She coordinates various functions including the Advisory Board’s meetings, external relations and supports strategic initiatives that promote the Accelerator’s vision and mission. Before joining the Advocacy Accelerator, Jane was the Office Assistant at the Institute of Capacity Development in Amref Health Africa. She also served as a Procurement and Supply Chain Assistant in the County Government of Nyandarua where she participated in various stages of public participation in the procurement cycle in line with the Public Procurement Disposal Act. Jane has a long standing interest in the principles of knowledge sharing and advocacy marketing. She believes in giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalised groups to overcome inequalities and build peaceful, just and inclusive societies. To contact Jane, email: [email protected]

Jane Nyambura
- Executive Assistant

Ellyjoy Kithure Masila is an expert with over 14 years of experience in gender and development, sexual and reproductive health, maternal and child health, governance, sustainable peace and conflict management, socio economic development and women and child protection. As the Advocacy Accelerator’s Content and Training Manager, she provides technical leadership on the design, implementation, evaluation and enhancement of a responsive advocacy training programme at the Accelerator. Ellyjoy has worked with various development agencies at national and global levels in transformative programming and project management, monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning. She also worked as a consultant in research, facilitation, curriculum, content development and design with the Advocacy Accelerator, Global Affairs Canada, Women in Health Education and Rule of Law, PLAN International and UNWomen, among others. Ellyjoy is passionate about making change happen with the purpose of improving the well-being of humanity targeting the most vulnerable in society. She is also a passionate advocate of human rights and has participated in various campaign initiatives including safer cities for women and girls and recognition, reduction and redistribution of unpaid care work. To contact Ellyjoy, email: [email protected]

Ellyjoy Masila
- Content and Training Manager

Titus Mung’ou is a communications, advocacy and knowledge management expert with over 13 years of experience in development, humanitarian, health, nutrition and media sectors. As the Communications Lead, Titus guides and coordinates the implementation of strategic communications activities across the Advocacy Accelerator’s projects. Titus has experience working with NGOs, the media, humanitarian agencies, the United Nations and national and regional government institutions. He has spearheaded the establishment of advocacy and communications units in organisations, developed advocacy and communications strategies, and built capacity in advocacy and communications. Titus is committed to improving the health and well-being of all people, especially the most marginalised. Under the umbrella of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement, he lobbied decision-makers to prioritise nutrition as part of the development agenda and provided leadership to civil society organisations working on these issues in Kenya. In November 2017, Titus was recognised as a SUN Champion during the SUN Global Gathering in Abidjan, Cote d’ivoire. To contact Titus, email: [email protected]

Titus Mung'ou
- Communications Lead

Patricia Wasunna is a creative young professional with more than three years of experience in social media and website management. In her role as the Advocacy Communications Officer, Patricia manages the organisation’s online platforms and supports the knowledge management function for the organisation. Prior to joining the Advocacy Accelerator, Patricia worked with Amref Health Africa and IntraHealth International as a Communications Research Assistant. She also worked with Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Authority of Kenya as an Open Data & Social Media Engagement Fellow embedded at the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA). Patricia has a passion for minority groups in Africa and Kenya in particular. As a volunteer at LVCT Health in Nairobi, she worked with the deaf community in Kenya to promote HIV/AIDS awareness and uptake of reproductive health services. To contact Patricia, email: [email protected]

Patricia Wasunna
- Advocacy Communications Officer

Joy Korio has more than three years of experience in communications with a strong academic background in human rights. As the Communications Assistant, Joy is responsible for maintenance of the website and social media platforms and event planning and coordination. Prior to joining the Advocacy Accelerator, Joy worked with AIESEC Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien (WU) in Vienna, Austria on a global education project that promoted education and fostered cultural awareness in Viennese primary schools. She worked for three years in the External Relations and Fundraising department at the United States International University Africa (USIU) supporting public relations and fundraising activities. Joy coordinated major fundraising events such as the USIU Africa Annual Fun Run/ Walk of 2015, USIU Africa Touch Rugby Tournament Project and Freida Brown Day. She was the ambassador for the Fundraising and External Relations Office for two years. Joy is driven by a passion for community development which is demonstrated in her service experience with different organisations. She was recognised for this commitment by USIU in 2016. To contact Joy, email: [email protected]

Joy Korio
- Communications Assistant

Cameline Wanjiru has two years of experience in administrative work. As the Programmes & Operations Assistant, Cameline ensures the effective and efficient running of the organisation so as to achieve its goals and objectives. Before joining the Advocacy Accelerator, Cameline served as the Office Assistant at the Institute of Capacity Development at Amref Health Africa. She has also worked as the Social Development Officer Assistant in the Ministry of East African Community, Labour and Social Protection where she engaged in capacity building work. She assisted in mobilising the older persons cash transfer programme as part of Inua Jamii project implemented by the Kenyan Government. Cameline was an Assistant Consultant at Hope Rollers Day Care in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania where she offered support to stakeholders in the organisation. She is passionate about serving the community and building a society that accommodates all. To contact Cameline, email: [email protected]

Cameline Wanjiru
- Programmes & Operations Assistant