Rufaro Kangai [she/her/hers] is the Director, Emerging Movements & Opportunities at Global Fund for Women.
Rufaro is a recognized leader in supporting movement building and grantmaking, with over ten years of experience developing, managing, and implementing programs that promote women’s and girls’ rights globally. She is a seasoned cross-cultural communicator, bridging global funders and local networks of civil society organizations and policy leaders, with extensive frontline experience implementing programs that advance the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls.
Rufaro earned a bachelor’s degree in media communications from San Francisco State University and holds a master’s degree in leadership and management from the University of Zimbabwe. Having lost 22 female relatives to the HIV and AIDS epidemic, Rufaro made the decision to join the fight against HIV and AIDS by volunteering at the Berkeley Free Clinic. There, she was also involved in efforts to advocate for and provide sexual and reproductive health services to young people and marginalized populations in the Bay Area.
Rufaro’s training ground on global women’s and girls’ rights was at the International Child Resource Institute (ICRI), an international nonprofit that works to improve the lives of children and families around the world. Rufaro was selected to become first country director for the Child Resource Institute, Zimbabwe (CRIZ). Under her leadership, the organization grew to a staff of 20. In this role, she supported 20,000 leaders and 150 grassroots organizations in evidence-based grantmaking for advocacy projects that successfully advocated for the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls. In Zimbabwe, Rufaro collaborated with Global Fund for Women and the Young African Women Leadership Initiative to convene the first ever regional summit for Africa young women and girls. Rufaro was also a member of the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe where she was involved in the constitution-making process in Zimbabwe that led to the nation adopting a new constitution that promoted the empowerment of girls and marginalized groups.
Prior to joining Global Fund for Women, Rufaro worked as the Rise Up program manager at the Public Health Institute (PHI). In this role, Rufaro launched the Champions for Change (C4C) initiative, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Ford Foundation, and AstraZeneca, to build a movement of change advocates in the sub-Saharan Africa region to improve reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health outcomes. Strategies in this movement involved increasing the capacity of civil society organizations in financial management, monitoring, evaluation, and proposal development. Rufaro successfully launched the Champions for Change initiative in Nigeria and Kenya with new partnerships of24 collaborating advocacy organizations, and co-trained an inaugural group of 66 advocates from 24 CSOs and the African entertainment industry, advocating for the implementation of 19 laws andpolicies that impact 67 million girls, youth, and women. Furthermore, Rufaro played an instrumental role in mobilizing resources to support the production and dissemination of the feature film Zahra, with messaging to address the sexual and reproductive health challenges of women and girls in internally displaced person camps in Nigeria. She has been an invited speaker at conferences such as the Commission on the Status of Women 59: Beijing +20, Women Deliver, Denmark and Nigeria Summit on Reproductive Maternal Newborn Child and Adolescent Health.