Grounded in Education, Propelled by Change

Global Fund for Women’s new CEO, Dr. Musimbi Kanyoro, talks about her childhood, change, and the fire of the women’s movement.


Dr. Musimbi Kanyoro hit the ground running as our new President and CEO. During her first meeting with the full staff, she honored and offered deep appreciation for the nearly 25-year legacy of the Global Fund for Women: its grantees, donors, board, staff and the leadership of her predecessors, Anne Firth Murray and Kavita N. Ramdas.

Musimbi embarks on a journey to listen and learn about the work of Global Fund through various stakeholders. This drive for understanding reflects her upbringing and value for learning.

Legacy of Learning

Though her mother gave up a career as a midwife to care for her family, Musimbi remembers hearing her overplayed record about education and faith.

“Mum told us that education is the only significant inheritance for girls in our society," Musimbi said. “She enforced hard work, honesty and faith in God,” teachings that she values to this day.

As the middle child, Musimbi grew up looking to her six self-confident and determined sisters as models.

“Mentoring happened in a protected family area where I felt it was safe to be a woman and it was OK to have an opinion of my own,” said Musimbi.


With more than 20 years in the women’s movement, Musimbi has witnessed the power of women transforming social structures.

“I seek to understand the implications of the changes that occur in our world everyday,” said Musimbi.

As CEO of the Global Fund, Musimbi joins an organization with strong roots in human rights. She is determined to amplify women’s voices for greater justice in our world.

Fire from Within

A vision of justice relies on a strong women’s movement that is not just supported by a single organization. Musimbi explains that in order to build a movement, many different voices must get behind a cause and pass down through generations what she calls the “fire from within.”

“If you really want to build a movement you have to see yourself passing the torch to the next generation, and the Global Fund give us that opportunity,” said Musimbi. “When you’re pursuing a vision, it’s not something you can achieve on your own. [The Global Fund] gives you a chance to contribute something to a bigger cause, a cause that’s bigger than one person’s life.”


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