Executive Director/ Co-Founder
Monica Nyiraguhabwa serves as the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Girl Up Initiative Uganda. Monica has over ten years of experience in the areas of girls’ education and social empowerment. She is skilled in fundraising, leading and organizing trainings and educational campaigns, community mobilization, human relations, and facilitation. Monica holds an MA in Education, Gender and International Development from the University College of London and a BA in Adult and Community Education from Makerere University. She is an Obama Africa Leader Fellow, Perennial Fellow, Cordes Fellow, and African Visionary Fellow.
Deputy Executive Director/ Co-Founder
Kimberly has been working to promote gender equality and the rights of women and girls, specifically in sub-Saharan Africa, for the past ten years. She is an experienced fundraiser, grant-writer, program planner and communications manager. Kimberly has dedicated herself to improving the well-being of girls and women in sub-Saharan Africa through establishing Girl Up Initiative Uganda and through her work with other organizations such as the Global Fund for Women, the Norwegian Refugee Council and the World Bank. Kimberly holds an MPhil in International and Comparative Education from the University of Oslo, an MPhil in African Studies from the University of Cape Town, and a BA in International Development Studies from the University of California Berkeley.
Director of Programs
Clare is a passionate community worker and a graduate in Adult and Community Education from Makerere University. She has devoted her life to inspiring people. For nine years, Clare has been reaching out to people in different communities in Uganda and changing their lives. She previously worked at the Maendeleo Foundation and the AIDS Information Center before joining Bead for Life as Membership Officer where she worked for the past seven years. Having a stutter in her speech at a tender age never discouraged her from achieving her dream of public speaking and guiding and counseling individuals.
Finance and Administration Officer
Jane has studied Accounting and Finance both at the Diploma and Bachelors level from Kyambogo University Kampala. She is currently pursuing a Professional Accounting Course (CPA) from the Institute of Certified Public Accountants (ICPAU). Jane previously worked with M-Lisada Children’s Centre as an Accounts Assistant for two years after her Diploma and has been working with Girl Up Initiative Uganda for the last five years in the same field after finalizing her Bachelors. She is also passionate about helping the needy, working with youth, and encouraging young girls to stay in school no matter what they are going through since she was helped by organizations dedicated to supporting her to excel. Therefore, Jane is very excited to work with the GUIU team to help the organization realise its mission and vision for young girls and women.
Teopista previously worked with Spectrum at Labonita as an Accounts Assistant for one year. She holds a diploma in accounting and finance from Makerere University Business School (MUBS) as well as a Bachelor’s degree in the same field from Kyambogo University. Teopista is self-motivated, hardworking, goal-orientated, and passionate about work that benefits her community. She is proud to work with the team at Girl Up Initiative Uganda.
Allan Denis Zziwa
Program Officer, Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning
Allan is currently enrolled in a Master in Management Studies (MMS) at Uganda Management Institute and a graduate from Makerere University with a BA in Adult and Community Education. He has skills in monitoring and evaluation, data analysis, leadership, facilitation, community mobilization, and human relations among others. He is an advocate for women's rights and youth sexual and reproductive health and rights on a regional and national level. Allan has received a number of leadership certificates from high school and university, and he currently serves as a leader for the men’s fellowship (MOV). Allan is also passionate about human rights, community work, research, music, family and positive parenting.
Grants and Partnerships Officer
Nastassja has been working with NGOs and the UN for four years, mostly in the MENA region. For the past year, she worked in Reporting, Project Development and Donor Liaison for the UN Migration Agency in Libya and continues this work remotely, having recently moved to Kampala. She is passionate about gender issues and supporting women and girls. Nastassja is a great believer in inclusive and community-based action. She has an LLB in Law and an LLM in Public International Law. She is very excited to lend as much support as possible to the Girl Up team.
Program Officer, Adolescent Girls Program
Marion graduated from Makerere University with a Bachelor’s degree in Adult and Community Education. She has experience volunteering with the Uganda Red Cross and volunteered with GUIU before being hired full-time. Marion is passionate about working with young people and is very dedicated to everything that she does. She is a professional trainer in re-useable pads making and has passed on the skill to many within Uganda. Marion enjoys sharing the word of God during her free time and enjoys traveling and watching movies.
Program Officer, Adolescent Girls Program
Hajara is a trained and experienced Registered Nurse who worked under the Ministry of Health in Eastern Uganda before joining Girl Up Initiative Uganda. She has extensive hands-on experience and knowledge in the various fields of medicine, especially around issues of sexual and reproductive health and community work. Hajara previously supported World Vision in the implementation of a maternal and child health project in the districts of Butaleja and Hoima as a national trainer. She is passionate about promoting good health and well-being in communities, especially among young people. In addition to her role as the Program Officer at Girl Up Initiative Uganda, Hajara is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health and Health Promotion at Uganda Martyr’s University.
Abel Moses Mwesigwa
Program Officer, Boy Champions Project
Abel is a passionate gender rights advocate who has devoted his life to inspiring disadvantaged youth, and empowering boys as agents for positive social change. He is a graduate in Vocational Studies in Art and Design with Education from Kyambogo University and Gender and Local Economic Development from Makerere University. For the past five years, Abel has been reaching out to youth in Kampala where he has implemented life-changing projects. He began his advocacy as far back as high school (Naalya S.S Namugongo), where he started a Child Rights Club because of the corporal punishments that students were being subjected to; the Club is still operational. Abel is passionate about art, learning, traveling, and changing lives.
Program Officer, Big Sister Network
Joan is a graduate of Makerere University with a Bachelor’s degree in Adult and Community Education. She is passionate about girls’ and women’s rights and uses her voice as a tool for advocacy. She also believes that through education and mentorship, great change will be created. Joan is a trained facilitator and an excellent team player. She enjoys sharing information and knowledge through her facilitations and podcasts. Joan is passionate about digital storytelling, counseling, reading, writing, and singing.
Ivan Kenneth Opio
Media and Communication Officer
Ivan is commonly referred to as “Ivan Visual”. He is the Media and Communication Officer at Girl Up Initiative Uganda. Ivan is a visual data developer passionate about using digital platforms to influence positive social change, particularly focusing on sexual and reproductive health, gender-based violence prevention, and human rights. His role has helped strengthen the organizations’ online presence by creating social media content, such as storytelling videos, podcasts, vlogs, graphics, and photographs. He participated in the wiki loves monuments Africa photography competition where his photograph came in third place, and in 2020 he was selected as one of the juries in the Wiki Loves Africa photography competition. He believes social media is a great influencing tool in this digital era because new technologies are always coming on board, and we should learn to embrace them. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Adult and Community Education from Makerere University.
Program Officer, Ni-Yetu Youth Program
Shallon holds a Bachelor’s degree in Adult and Community Education from Makerere University. She is passionate about empowering youth with accurate knowledge and information on sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence prevention. She believes when youth are empowered with correct information, they can transform their own lives and those around them. Shallon has a calm personality and is a huge lover of children.
Clare is a flexible and motivated team player who is very passionate about community work, business acumen, and creating hope among children and teenage mothers. For the past two years, she worked with young and teenage mothers in the slum communities of Nakawa where she led business trainings to create a generation of strong female entrepreneurs. Clare has had the opportunity to contribute to all of GUIU’s programs with her insightful and fast-thinking abilities. She holds a Bachelor’s degree of Management Science in Project Management from Kyambogo University and a Diploma in Business Studies from YMCA Kampala.
Program Assistant, Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning
Dorothy is a graduate of Makerere University with a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce. She has a great interest for numerics but also works well with data. Prior to becoming an MEL Assistant, she volunteered in the MEL Department at Girl Up Initiative Uganda and developed a passion for MEL. Understanding that communities need to create positive change and attitudes towards girls’ involvement in different activities gives Dorothy the drive to advocate for girls’ rights. When not working at GUIU, Dorothy likes traveling, spending time with loved ones, and doing things that challenge her.
Development and Communications Coordinator
During her undergraduate career, Mia studied Biology, Neuroscience, and Psychology and spent six months studying Public Health at the University of Botswana. Since graduating, she has supported the work of various NGOs and is passionate about incorporating the use of trauma-informed care into organizations. She is a fierce champion for the equality of all genders and bodies, as well as the use of personal identity and sexuality as a form of empowerment. Mia also (loudly) advocates for a future where globalization and international affairs are more focused on grass-roots and community-based projects. She loves hiking, cooking (and then eating it all), and is a proud doggy foster mamma.
Grants & Partnerships Intern
Stephanie is a graduate of History and English and is passionate about using her career to empower girls to reach their full potential and use storytelling for social good. She first came to Uganda in 2015, when she spent a year volunteering with an NGO supporting families in urban slum communities, and has spent the last four years travelling back and forth to Kampala working with programs aiming to foster a more gender equal world. She strongly believes in the power of community-based organizations to create sustainable change. Alongside her role with GUIU, she works as International Support Officer for an HIV/AIDs charity that provides grants to grassroots organizations. Stephanie is excited to support GUIU to put girls and women at the center of development.
Senior Seamstress, Mazuri Designs
Annet is a full time Seamstress at Mazuri Designs Hub. She is a seamstress by profession with eight years of sewing experience. In the past, Annet worked for a prominent fashion designer in Uganda. She is passionate about her work and believes that developing the skills and creativity of young women will enable them to become economically independent. Annet enjoys passing on tailoring skills to others and enjoys listening to music.
Senior Seamstress, Mazuri Designs
Innocent is a dynamic seamstress who has over 18 years of tailoring experience with various designers and brands in Uganda. She holds a certificate in tailoring. Innocent enjoys innovating and creating designs as well as teaching and inspiring other girls and women to gain a skill which brings about beauty and economic independence. Innocent is a big lover of children and music.
Seamstress, Mazuri Designs
Miriam joined our team as a trainee in the Sewing Our Futures Project (now Mazuri Designs Hub) where she learned how to make different products and was later hired as a Seamstress at Mazuri Designs. She comes to Mazuri with experience in different fields; before joining us, she worked as a receptionist, caterer, and accountant for five years. Miriam is passionate about her work and enjoys seeing and making people happy.
Seamstress, Mazuri Designs
Annah is a young talented fashion designer. After studying tailoring at Ruhanro Vocational School in Mbarara, she came to Kampala and started working for different fashion companies where she has been able to gain more experience in tailoring. She’s so excited to work with Mazuri Designs. What motivates her is the love for fashion and integrating more fashion ideas into the social enterprise.
Seamstress, Mazuri Designs
Susan became part of Girl Up Initiative Uganda as a student in the first cohort of trainees in the Sewing Our Futures Project (now Mazuri Designs Hub) where she gained skills in tailoring and fashion design. She completed and later joined the team as a full-time Seamstress at Mazuri Designs Hub. Susan loves to sing during her free time and hopes to one day become a musician.
Seamstress, Mazuri Designs
Jackie joined Girl Up Initiative Uganda as a student in the Sewing Our Futures Project where she learned the skill of tailoring and fashion design. Because of her love for fashion and her ability to learn fast, she was hired by Mazuri Designs as a full-time seamstress. She is motivated by the good working relationship she has with her fellow seamstresses and the joy of passing on the skill of tailoring to other young women in the community.
Michael is our Security Officer at Girl Up Initiative Uganda. Before joining GUIU, he worked for four years with Securex Security Organisation, one of the leading security companies in Uganda. He is passionate about safety and providing good custody of peoples’ lives and property. Michael loves reading inspirational books, an activity that accompanies him in his free time. To him, GUIU is like a home away from home where he feels he should stay forever. He loves seeing that GUIU provides the platform for the voices of the voiceless to be heard. Michael encourages all individuals to embrace the rise and empowerment of adolescent girls.
Isaac has 5 years of experience driving for various clients, including 3 years’ experience within the NGO field in Uganda. He is a self-motivated and creative person with excellent attention and a willingness to learn. Isaac enjoys working as a team, especially with people from different cultures, tribes and customs.
Our US Board
Sofie is an Information Officer with USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) where she monitors and reports on complex humanitarian emergencies, natural disasters, and response activities in the Asia and Pacific region. Sofie joined USAID/OFDA with more than four years’ experience in research, policy, and U.S immigration law. While at Simmons & Ungar, a full-service immigration law firm in San Francisco, CA, Sofie managed a large caseload of employment, family-based, and humanitarian cases. Outside of work, she volunteered with newly resettled refugee women and girls to promote capacity-building and self-sufficiency through mentorship, language training, and resettlement support. Sofie holds a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley and an M.A. in Law and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School at Tufts University where she specialized in forced migration and development economics and was Co-Chair of the Journal of Humanitarian Assistance. As part of her master’s thesis, she conducted desk and field-based research on the humanitarian response to the Syrian refugee crisis in Jordan, with a particular focus on gender-based protection issues. She speaks Swedish and French.
Vice President/ Board Member
With extensive travel experience and a passion for social justice and global health, Hilary is excited to be involved with Girl Up Initiative. While currently in medical school at the University of California, Davis, Hilary most recently worked as a Senior Program Analyst for Dimagi, a social corporation that finds innovative ways to use mobile technology to strengthen health systems. This experience included spending a year living in Mozambique and nine months in India, working primarily with community health workers in rural communities. Prior to that, she spent almost three years living in Managua, Nicaragua, where she coordinated a 3800-member pediatric cohort study on Dengue Fever and Influenza in collaboration with UC Berkeley and the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health. Hilary received her B.A. in Molecular Biology and Public Health from UC Berkeley in 2009. She is at her happiest in the great outdoors and is endlessly fascinated by human ingenuity in unlikely places.
Secretary/ Board Member
Harvey is an attorney specializing in business, real estate and construction transactions and litigation. His law office has been based in Santa Barbara, California for over 30 years. He was instrumental in guiding Girl Up through its incorporation and in obtaining its 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. He received his B.A. from the University of California at Santa Barbara and his J.D. from the University of San Francisco. A fun fact about Harvey is that he is the proud father of Kim, and he is an avid bicyclist.
Connie Viveros is Co-Founder of The Inspired Heart Foundation and currently serves as its President. Connie has more than a decade of non-profit leadership experience across numerous charitable causes – all of them working for social justice. Prior to joining IHF, Connie’s non-profit leadership career included roles as Managing Director of The Unstoppable Foundation, President of The Collective Heart Foundation, and Co-Founder and President of the 100 Women Charitable Foundation. Connie’s interest in working for underserved women dates back nearly a decade to a humanitarian trip she made to rural East Africa. Visiting dozens of communities in both Kenya and Uganda, she was struck by the lack of educational opportunities and infrastructure for children, especially girls. She made it her life’s mission to give to organizations that provide education, mentorship, support programs and opportunities for underserved women. A fun fact about Connie is that she met Monica Nyiraguhabwa, GUIU’s Executive Director in Uganda back in 2010 and has been an investor in GUIU since its inception.
Our Uganda Board
James Oromait has over 15 years of experience in the education, social and the private sector fields. He is the Founder and Executive Director of the Livelihoods Empowerment Foundation (LIFE-UGANDA) which supports marginalized rural women and youth in Eastern Uganda. In addition, he is the CEO and Founder of the Land Bank Ltd –a private real estate consultancy firm which sources investment finance for local small, medium and large enterprises as well as linking investors to vast investment opportunities in Uganda’s real estate, industrial and commercial agribusiness. James holds an MA Degree in Educational Planning, Economics & International Development from University College London (UK) and a BA in Education and Economics from Makerere University. His life philosophy is anchored in his belief in helping people to live their true potential. This is why is a passionate Board President for Girl Up Initiative Uganda.
Board Member/ Co-Founder
Saidi is an Organisational Development and Human Resource Specialist. He assists Girl Up by providing financial and management oversight and strategic support. He has previously worked as a Director and HR Manager at Milvik Uganda Limited and as Lead Consultant at Start Point Consulting, which brings with him broad and tested experience in successfully introducing and managing change initiatives. Saidi has worked as a consultant at South West Water and as a Human Resource Administrator at Oxfam International. Saidi graduated with a double degree in International Business from London South Bank University and American Inter-Continental University London. Saidi enjoys his work with Girl Up as he is passionate about working with young people and transforming communities.
Enid is a consultant in law, human rights, and gender providing consultancy services to various entities including a current assignment with the Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agencies. She is a budding entrepreneur and trainee farmer. She has a wealth of experience in private law practice, corporate, multinational and non-government agencies. Enid was trained as a lawyer at Makerere University School of Law and Postgraduate degrees in Governance and LLM in human rights from the University of Leeds in the UK. She is a Ford Scholar and a graduate of the leadership development Program of the Female Future Program.
Enid has served on various boards for both companies and non-profit organizations, including the Rotary Club of Kampala, where she provides legal expertise and has held various leadership positions. She is passionate about the promotion of girls’ rights and therefore pleased to be on the GUIU board.
An experienced Accountant, Joseph Okwenje has accumulated over 18 years of experience in several reputable organizations, both for profit and non-profit. He currently serves as the Managing Director at Delique Industrial Coating Limited where he oversees and manages daily operations to ensure production and distribution of high quality paint. Prior to joining Delique Industrial Coating Limited, he held the position of Senior Auditor at Knick – WAKS & Co. Certified Public Accountants, Senior Audit Supervisor with FELBright and Co, Certified Public Accountants, and Country Office Accountant at Plan International Uganda. Joseph holds a BSc. Finance and Accounting from Kyambogo University and is qualified by The Association of Chartered Certified Accountant UK.
Hawa Kagoya is a sociologist presently coordinating a girl engagement and empowerment project in Uganda. She has an inclination towards community development, particularly with girls’ and women’s empowerment. For the last 13 years, she has implemented, managed, and coordinated social development projects in the areas of capacity building, advocacy, reproductive health, renewable energy promotion, social and economic empowerment, gender analysis, entrepreneurship, and girls, women and youth empowerment. Hawa holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Development Studies from Uganda Martyrs University, Nkozi, Uganda in 2003; and a Master of Science in Rural Development from the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom in 2004. Over the years, Hawa has learnt and urges that for holistic and sustainable development, the people and communities directly impacted by any project should be actively involved in the development process.
Brian Sekayombya is a pharmaceutical supply chain specialist with experience of over 12 years in both local and international markets coupled with a special interest in quality assurance. Brian has also been transformed into a humanitarian pharmacist supporting public health emergency preparedness programs. Brian is very passionate about global health and the quality of healthcare the public receives.
Brian has experience in both local and international non-government organisations and their working linkage with the private and public sectors and government management. He has expertise in lobbying, stakeholder engagement, fundraising and project management and a strong passion for project financial management. Brian fronts excellence, integrity, honesty, accountability, openness and professionalism in everything he does.