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Transformative Data: How Research Can Improve the Participation of African Women in Public Governance Panelists

ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF / Get Involved / Transformative Data: How Research Can Improve the Participation of African Women in Public Governance Panelists

Transformative Data: How Research Can Improve the Participation of African Women in Public Governance Panelists

18 May 2022 | 13:00 – 15:00 GMT

To join us for this special event at 1300 GMT on 18 May 2022, please register your attendance here.

Learn more about each of the panelists below. 

Professor J. Jarpa Dawuni is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Howard University, Washington D.C and founding Director of the Howard University Center for Women, Gender, and Global Leadership.

A qualified Barrister-at-Law before the Ghanaian Superior Courts, she is a Fellow at the Center for Democratic Development (CDD) Ghana and a visiting Professor on the UNESCO Peace Masters Program at the University of Jaume 1 in Castellon, Spain.

Prior to these engagements, she was Global Scholar at the Wilson Center Women in Public Service Project, and served on the board of the West Africa Research Association (WARA) and the African Research Academies for Women (ARA-W). She was also a visiting scholar at Queens University, Kingston, Canada, and the University of Copenhagen iCourts Program in Denmark.

In 2020, she received the Women in Law Academia International Award from the Women in Law Initiative, Austria, and in 2018 was made a Fulbright Specialist Scholar in Ghana, where she designed a Center for Research in African Union Law.

In 2016, she was awarded the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship to undertake a project on graduate student mentoring and research at the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana. That same year, she received the White House Presidential Award from President Barack Obama for her service on the Board of ARA-W.

Professor Jarpa Dawuni holds a Doctorate in Political Science from Georgia State University. Her primary areas of research include judicial politics, women in the legal professions, gender and the law, international human rights, women’s civil society organizing, and democratization. She wrote several books on gender and the judiciary in Africa.  books include Gender, Judging and the Courts in Africa: Selected Studies (Routledge, 2021); International Courts and the African Woman Judge: Unveiled Narratives (Routledge, 2018), co-edited with Judge Akua Kuenyehia; And Gender and the Judiciary in Africa: From Obscurity to Parity? (Routledge, 2016), co-edited with Gretchen Bauer.

Professor Jarpa Dawuni is the founder and Executive Director of the non-profit Institute for African Women in Law (IAWL), which focuses on enhancing the capacity of women in the legal professions in Africa and the Diaspora.

Ebere Ifendu is a Lawyer, Chartered Mediator, Conciliator, and Gender Advocate. She is a member of the Governing Council of the Federal Polythenic Daura, Katsina State; Director of the Centre for Gender Education and Rights, Gregory University, Uturu Abia State; and a Senior Special Adviser to the Senate Minority Leader on Gender and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Ms. Ifendu served as a member of the Presidential Constitution and Electoral Reform Committee. She was the National Women’s Leader of the Labour Party, Nigeria before becoming the first woman to be elected as the Party’s National Publicity Secretary—a position reserved for men.

She is currently a  member of the Technical Committee of the Hon.  Minister of Women’s Affairs on the private sector and a member of the Women Political Participation Technical Working Group.

Ms. Ifendu is a renowned party management strategist and is the President of the Women in Politics Forum (WIPF), a non–partisan Organization with a United Nations Economic and Social Council Status (ECOSOC). Furthermore, she is a member of the African Women Leaders Network (AWLN)—a global network initiated by the UN Women—and the Executive Director of the Women’s Democracy Network (WDN).

Ms. Ifendu is a member of several professional bodies and NGOs, namely: the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC); the Institute of Corporate Administration; the International Bar Association (IBA); the African Bar Association (AFBA); the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA); the Global Association of Female Lawyers, (GAFA); and the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA). She is also a proud member of the UN women’s Consultative Group and a member of the Nigeria 100 Women Lobby group.

In addition to her advocacy work, Ms Ifendu is the principal partner of E A IFENDU & Co.; Executive Director of Imperial Finance and Securities Ltd, Lagos; Director of Wall Worth Nigeria Limited; and an Executive Director at Lush Ovens Limited.

She is a recipient of many Awards for her work in supporting women’s political participation, including the inaugural 2022 International Women’s Day Awards on Excellence in Political Leadership and Governance.

Linet Miriti-Otieno is an international gender and social development professional with over 20 years of experience with various organizations including governments, national and international NGOs, bilateral donors, the United Nations, and Multilateral Development Banks.

She is an advocate for institutional transformation and evidence-based programming that promotes equality for men women, girls, and boys. Currently, she works as a Chief Gender Officer for the African Development Bank where she coordinates the Bank’s gender equality work in East and Southern Africa.

Her role includes oversight for mainstreaming gender equality across the various investments of the African Development Bank. Ms. Miriti-Otieno has championed the development of a Gender Marker System for the Bank, which systematizes gender mainstreaming and ensures the measurement of gender results. Prior to joining the Bank, Ms. Miriti-Otieno worked with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (UNWOMEN) and its predecessor UNIFEM for a period of nine years in the East African Regional Office as well as Headquarters in New York.

Rumbidzai Chisenga is the Director of Programs at the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development (EJS Center). In this role, she leads the Amujae Initiative, the EJS Center’s flagship program, which prepares women to unapologetically take up roles in the highest echelons of public leadership.

She is one of 12 globally identified civic innovators who were part of the inaugural class of the Obama Foundation Scholars Program (2018 -2019)— through which she completed a leadership development residency at Columbia University in New York City.

Prior to this, she was a Program Manager at the Mandela Institute for Development Studies (MINDS)—a pan-African think tank that advocates for the adoption of Afrocentric approaches in addressing the continent’s socio-economic development challenges.

Ms. Chisenga was instrumental in setting up and developing the MINDS Scholarship Program for Leadership Development. She also coordinated an alumni network spread across 53 African countries in her role as a leader of the MINDS Youth Program on Elections and Governance—a civic education initiative that equips African youth for meaningful participation in governance.

A founder of a social enterprise, Ms. Chisenga has extensive experience working as a management consultant in the private sector.

Ms. Chisenga is a member of the Global Advisory Board of WomenLift Health. She is also an alumna of the Emerging African Leaders Programme (hosted by the University of Cape Town, South Africa), and the Atlantic Dialogues Emerging Leaders Program (hosted by the Policy Center for the New South, Morocco).

She holds a bachelor’s degree in Commerce (Economics and Accounting) from Rhodes University, South Africa, and a master’s degree in Management (Entrepreneurship) from Wits Business School, South Africa.

Joseph Asunka is the CEO of Afrobarometer. He was previously Program Officer at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation where he managed a portfolio of grants that support efforts to increase transparency and accountability in fiscal governance and foster citizen participation to improve public services in developing countries.

Before joining the Hewlett Foundation, Joseph was a lecturer in political science at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he taught courses on African politics, the political economy of development, research methods, and data analysis. Prior to that, he was Program Officer at the Ghana Center for Democratic Development, where he served as a data manager for the Afrobarometer Network.

Joseph has published in journals such as the British Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Modern African Studies, Research and Politics, Population Research and Policy Review, and Social Science and Medicine. His research interests include distributive politics, elections, electoral processes, and migration. Joseph holds first and second degrees in Statistics & Computer Science and Economics from the University of Ghana, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California.

Additional Speakers Include:

Michelle Milford Morse is the United Nations Foundation’s Vice President for Girls and Women Strategy. She leads the Foundation’s organization-wide efforts to promote gender equality and the rights and agency of all girls and women, working in collaboration with the United Nations and its partners.

Michelle has worked on global health and development issues with a range of UN, private sector, and civil society partners, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, LIVESTRONG, UNICEF USA, Sesame Workshop, the UBS Optimus Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, mothers2mothers, amFAR, ICRW, and the University of Texas. Through her work she has helped organizations define strategic paths and advance specific global development causes – including on child development, regulatory action on HIV treatment, maternal mortality, mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and violence against children. She previously advised the UN Foundation and led a range of projects related to gender equality, including serving as the Foundation’s co-convener on the Girl Declaration. Michelle was also the press secretary and communications director for U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett.

Michelle earned a Master of International Affairs and a Master of Public Health at Columbia University, and pursued her graduate research at the Rakai Health Sciences Program in Kalisizo, Uganda. She is a proud graduate of the University of Texas (Hook ’em!). Michelle lives in Austin, Texas, where she is the past chair of the board of directors of the Ann Richards School Foundation, and serves on the board of directors for the LIVESTRONG Foundation and the Global Advisory Council of the Miracle Foundation.