A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
Winnie Byanyima is Executive Director of Oxfam International. She is a leader on women’s rights, democratic governance and peace building. She served eleven years in the Ugandan Parliament, and has served at the African Union Commission and as Director of Gender and Development at the United Nations Development Program. She co-founded the 60-member Global Gender and Climate Alliance and chaired a UN task force on gender aspects of the Millennium Development Goals, and on climate change.
Born in Uganda, Ms. Byanyima was elected for three terms and served eleven years in the Ugandan Parliament. She led Uganda's first parliamentary women’s caucus, championing ground-breaking gender equality provisions in the county's 1995 post-conflict constitution. A world recognized expert on women's rights, she founded the still-thriving civil society organization Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE). She has served at the African Union Commission and as Director of Gender and Development at the United Nations Development Program.
Ms. Byanyima is a signatory to her country’s 1985 peace agreement and has helped to broker and support women’s participation in peace processes in Rwanda, South Africa, Burundi, Sudan and other countries emerging from conflict.
She co-founded a 60-member Global Gender and Climate Alliance of civil society, bilateral and multilateral organizations and chaired a UN-wide task force on gender aspects of the Millennium Development Goals, and on climate change. She has served on numerous global boards and commissions including the African Capacity Building Foundation and the International Centre for Research on Women.
She holds a M.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering in Energy Conservation and the Environment (University of Cranfield), and a B.Sc. in Aeronautical Engineering (University of Manchester).
She began a five-year term leading Oxfam International on May 1 2013.
“Oxfam is part of challenging and changing times. We must seize every opportunity to support poor people to claim their rights, and to finally escape poverty, hunger and injustice. I believe the world needs a strong civil society now more than ever before."