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Emerging Public Leaders appoints Abigail Kajumba as new Executive Director

Kajumba is a highly experienced leader of non-governmental organisations in Africa and internationally, most recently as executive director of Raising Voices, which works to prevent violence against women and children throughout the global south

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NAIROBI, Kenya, September 13, 2023/ — The board of directors of Emerging Public Leaders, the fastest-growing network of young professionals in Africa committed to strengthening governance and improving public services for all, today announced the appointment of Abigail Kajumba as its new Executive Director.

Kajumba is a highly experienced leader of non-governmental organisations in Africa and internationally, most recently as executive director of Raising Voices, which works to prevent violence against women and children throughout the global south. Over two decades in international development, she has overseen country offices and programs across more than 20 countries in Africa. Kajumba is also a social entrepreneur, having cofounded and led a super-fruit tree-planting non-profit with family and peers.

“The board is excited to welcome Abigail to our organisation,” said EPL board chair and co-founder Betsy Williams. “She impressed the selection committee with her depth of knowledge and experience, and she demonstrated a powerful strategic vision that aligns with our mission of supporting good governance and the people and institutions of public service.”

Emerging Public Leaders currently operates in Ghana, Kenya and Liberia, where cohorts of fellows committed to government service receive the training, mentorship and support to apply their talents and integrity to positions in the civil service of their home countries. Today, nearly 400 young fellows and program alumni are making a difference across the full range of sectors vital to Africa’s prosperity, including public health, education, youth development, and gender and climate justice.

“With a new strategic plan to guide our work through to 2025 and an exceptional team of directors in post to support our new executive director, we are extremely excited about the possibilities for growth and impact under Abigail’s leadership,” Williams said.

Kajumba’s appointment continues the momentum that has been building within the Emerging Public Leaders family in the last 18 months – including the launch of Kenya’s program, new intakes of young leaders in Liberia and Ghana, alumni advancing in their government responsibilities and impact, and a major new partnership with Mastercard Foundation to expand into more countries.

Kajumba said, “Leading Emerging Public Leaders at this moment is an exciting opportunity, as we pursue our mission of achieving a prosperous and equitable Africa, fostered by good governance. I am inspired by EPL’s unique approach of working closely with government and local partners, so we create incredible opportunities for young leaders, especially women, to realise their ambitions to serve their communities as true public servants who are focused on equity and social impact.”

Working with Africa-based executive recruiters Move me back, Kajumba’s hiring follows a six-month process led by a committee of the board and involving senior leaders across the EPL family.  She will continue to live and work in Kampala, Uganda and lead a remote team in Ghana, Kenya, the UK, and the US. Kajumba takes over from Caren Wakoli, who served over the last year as interim ED and achieved huge growth and transformation, as she helped EPL expand into Kenya, build an incredible team, and set new goals and targets for the years ahead. Wakoli will continue to be a crucial part of the Emerging Public Leaders family as founder and leader of Emerging Public Leaders’s Kenya partner, ELF-Africa.

Appointed Executive Director in 2023, Abigail is a deeply experienced leader of non-governmental organizations in Africa and internationally. Passionate about social and economic justice, human rights and women’s leadership, she has overseen country offices and programs across more than 20 countries in Africa. She has worked with and within governments, as well as with a wide range of institutional funders. Strengthening organizations, strategically guiding them toward greater impact, and creating and managing partnerships have been Abigail’s specialities during her two-decade career.

Prior to joining Emerging Public Leaders, Abigail was executive director of an Africa-based global NGO dedicated to preventing violence against women and children throughout the global south. Earlier in her career, she worked on government policy, advocacy and community development across the United Kingdom, before completing a master’s degree in international development at SOAS, University of London. She then moved back to Uganda to work in progressively senior global development leadership roles. After growing the Queen of Buganda’s NGO, she expanded the impact of Samaritan’s Purse International Relief while working in co-leadership for the Uganda office. Abigail then developed into roles leading regional and global teams, managing both staff and directing organizational strategies for more than a decade.

Abigail is also a social entrepreneur, having co-founded TriTrees, a super-fruit tree-planting NGO, with family and peers. She is active on governance boards and has spearheaded several businesses. Abigail lives with her family in Uganda.

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