Meet our newest Board members!
Thank you to all members who participated in the process of nominating our new Board members. Your engagement was crucial in identifying committed and brilliant feminists who will play a vital role in AWID’s governance, provide organizational oversight, and help guide our strategic direction.
Welcome to Ȃurea Mouzinho and Leila Hessini as our newest Board members!
Ȃurea Mouzinho is a feminist economic justice organizer and advocate from Luanda, Angola. Rooted by a pan-African, socialist and decolonial feminist politics and practice, in 2016 she co-founded and has since been a co-coordinator of Ondjango Feminista, a feminist collective working to advance a transformative women’s rights and gender justice agenda in Angola through consciousness-raising, mobilisation and advocacy. Her 10-year work history encompasses roles in research, project-management, grant-making, advocacy and movement-building primarily on issues at the intersection of women's rights, economic policies and social justice. She has written on the history and challenges for women's organising in Angola, the interplay between extractivism, militarisation and violence against women in Mozambique, and the contemporary economic liberatory practices of African peoples worldwide. Currently, Ȃurea works as policy advocacy and campaigns coordinator at the Global Alliance for Tax Justice (GATJ), leading the alliance's work on tax and gender. Ȃurea is a strategic advisor for Eyala, an alumni and regular contributor to FEMNET's African Feminist Macroeconomics Academy (AFMA) and has previously served as advisor for Sub-Saharan Africa for FRIDA-The Young Feminist Fund. She is trained in economics (University of Cape Town, Monash University) and has a Masters in Development Studies from SOAS, University of London. Ȃurea has a loud laugh, is a proud house-plant caretaker, and enjoys strolling the beaches of the Angolan Atlantic coast followed by slow evenings laying on her carpet. She occasionally tweets on @kitondowe.
Leila is a transnational feminist leader, advocate and advisor with over 25 years of experience advancing human rights, gender equality, and sexual and reproductive health, rights and justice locally and globally. Leila was born in Algeria and educated in the U.S., France, and Morocco; over her professional career, she has lived and worked in Africa, Europe and the United States.
She held the position as Vice-President of Programs at Global Fund for Women for over five years where she oversaw its strategic grantmaking, movement-strengthening, global advocacy and philanthropic collaborations. At GFW, she doubled its grantmaking to over $17 million, launched its feminist and gender-based movements and crises work, created an adolescent girls program led by a girls’ advisory council and led its philanthropic advocacy work. Prior to that she served on the senior leadership team of Ipas from 2002 to 2016 where she published extensively on abortion rights and justice, lead global advocacy efforts and partnered with feminist groups working on self-management, community mobilization and stigma reduction around bodily integrity and sexual and reproductive rights. She co-founded an intersectional feminist consulting firm Strategic Analysis for Gender Equality (SAGE) while based in North Africa that worked on the intersections of economic, gender and sexual and reproductive rights and led the Ford Foundation Cairo office’s national, regional and global gender work for 5 years.
Leila has extensive popular education, advocacy, non-profit organizational, board development, philanthropic and monitoring and evaluation experience. She is a skilled communicator committed to using an intersectional approach to centering and amplifying the voices and experiences of the most marginalized. She was a recipient of the Ford Foundation’s Op-ed Public Voices Fellowship and was a Fulbright Scholar in Morocco. Her publications cover a wide range of topics including feminist and decolonial approaches to philanthropy, advancing women’s human rights in majority-Muslim contexts, feminist strategies to promote reproductive justice, advancing women’s use of self-managed abortions and tackling stigma and discrimination.
Leila currently serves as Co-Chair of the Center for Constitutional Rights board and Member of Highlander Research and Education board. She also serves on the accountability council of the Numun Feminist Technology Fund and on the advisory committee of the African Women’s Human Rights Defenders Platform. She has previously served on the boards of SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights, Global Fund for Women, Safe Abortion Access Fund and the Reproductive Health Technologies Project. She was elected as Treasurer and Executive Committee member of Prospera’s Board of Directors and to the Fenomenal Funds Steering Committee for four years. Leila holds an MPH in public health and a MA in Middle Eastern and North African Studies, studied Islamic law in Morocco and pursued doctoral studies in sociology in France. She has studied Arabic and German and speaks French and English fluently.
The years ahead will see us through the launch of our new strategic plan and the next AWID Forum - a critical process for board engagement and direction, especially in such a rapidly evolving context. We are excited to benefit from the wealth of skills, insights and experiences that Ȃurea and Leila will bring to our work.
We would also like to express our appreciation for the contributions of our departing Board members who have served AWID over the past several years.
Nidhi Goyal and Diakhoumba Gassama helped oversee the implementation of our current strategic plan and AWID’s transition to co-leadership. They supported our navigation through our recent leadership transition and contributed to deepening our Board learning and development.
Please continue to follow their work, and join us in thanking them for their leadership and support. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with them to support feminist movements around the world.