March 14, 2017–Global Fund for Women is pleased to announce the appointment of Leila Hessini as its new Head of Strategic Grantmaking and Movement Building. Hessini will join the organization, one of the world’s leading foundations for gender equality, in early April 2017 to lead its critical grantmaking and movement building activities as part of an integrated Programmatic strategy to use grantmaking and advocacy to propel global movements for women’s rights.
“I could not be more thrilled to welcome Leila to the staff of Global Fund for Women,” said Musimbi Kanyoro, President and CEO of Global Fund for Women. “We know that we will greatly benefit from her deep expertise in women’s rights around the world, strategic grantmaking, organizing, and work strengthening grassroots women’s movements as we aim to make even greater strides for gender equality around the world in the coming years.”
Leila Hessini is a global feminist leader and activist with over twenty years of advocacy, grantmaking, and organizing experience. Over the past two decades, she has worked in partnership with feminist and women’s networks, community-based organizations, government officials, and UN representatives across five continents to promote women’s human rights. Her global experience is informed by extensive residency in Egypt, Morocco, and the United States.
Beyond her deep expertise in Global Fund for Women’s key focus issues, Hessini is no stranger to the Global Fund for Women: she brings the combined and distinctive vantage points of being a former grantee partner, an advisor, a Board member for nine years, and, most recently, served as Global Fund for Women’s Board Chair for five years through the end of 2015.
“I’m honored to be working with a dynamic team of staff and partners at the Global Fund for Women to advance inclusive, impactful, and responsive grantmaking that will lead to real and lasting change for women,” explained Hessini. “It’s particularly important at this critical juncture that we deepen our commitment to challenge all inequalities and center the experiences and strategies of those who most lack power. As a U.S.-based foundation and key thought leader for women’s rights, Global Fund for Women has a unique role in building bridges of understanding and solidarity across gender and social justice in the U.S. and globally.”
Hessini comes to Global Fund for Women’s staff from her recent tenure at Ipas, a global organization that promotes women’s sexual and reproductive health rights, as Director of Community Engagement and Mobilization. In that role, she oversaw grantmaking, movement building, and advocacy efforts to strengthen women’s reproductive rights, agency, and power in over 20 countries spanning three continents.
Prior to Ipas, she co-founded Strategic Analysis for Gender Equity, promoting gender and economic justice and global equity; worked to support gender, human rights, and women’s organizing at the Ford Foundation’s Cairo office; and documented and analyzed women’s strategies to challenge and mitigate gender-based violence in Algeria and Egypt with the Population Council and former United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).
Leila currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Center for Constitutional Right’s board and Secretariat of the board of the Reproductive Health Technologies Project. Her previous board experience includes: the Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights, the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice coalition and the Safe Abortion Action Fund. She was an advisor committee member of the Urgent Action Fund and the Center for Women’s Global Leadership’s 16 days of action against gender-based violence. Leila has published widely on feminist organizing in North Africa and the Middle East, women’s reproductive rights, and the impact of stigma and discrimination on women’s choices and rights. She has an MPH and MA from the University of Michigan, studied Islamic law in Morocco, and pursued doctoral studies in sociology in France.
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About Global Fund for Women
Global Fund for Women is one of the world’s leading foundations for gender equality, standing up for the human rights of women and girls. We campaign for zero violence, economic and political empowerment, and sexual and reproductive health and rights. Our vision is that every woman and girl is strong, safe, powerful, and heard. No exceptions.
We fund and partner with women-led groups who are courageously fighting for justice in their own communities. This rights-based approach gets to the root of gender inequality and is the most effective way to create permanent social change.
We’re a public foundation and rely on the generosity of our donors to support our critical work in the fight for gender equality. We use our powerful network to rally advocates, raise money, and get support to where it’s most urgently needed.
We’re an unstoppable global community of over 20,000 donors, 2,000 advisors, and 650,000 advocates. Since 1987, Global Fund for Women has invested in nearly 5,000 grass-roots organizations in 175 countries, helping to win rights for millions of women and girls.