Kenya: Litha Musyimi-Ogana

You cannot have sustainable development without peace in Africa.

— Litha Musyimi-Ogana

Litha Musyimi-Ogana, a 45-year-old Kenyan mother of three, is currently the gender advisor of New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad) in South Africa. Previously, she worked as the regional director of the African Centre for Empowerment, Gender and Advocacy (Acega) based in Nairobi, Kenya. In that capacity, she successfully organized the women peace train from Kampala (Uganda) to Johannesburg (South Africa) to the World Summit for Sustainable Development in 2002.

The peace torch traversed the continent on the women peace train. Women handed it over to other women six times from Kampala to Johannesburg. In between, ceremonies took place in transit towns across Africa. Litha Musyimi-Ogana took her smallest child along. The initiative, whose theme was “You cannot have sustainable development without peace in Africa,” was a success. More than 10,000 participants benefited from the train’s journey in different ways. Since women bear the major burden of war and conflict in Africa, they saw the World Summit as a good opportunity to campaign for the end of wars. They used the peace train and the peace torch to pass this message to the people on the continent and the rest of the world. Litha was identified as the perfect candidate to take care of the advocacy project. In her 20 years as an activist and lobbyist, she has organized and participated in peaceful street demonstrations, drafted, endorsed and circulated petitions and criticized the government on gender discriminative policies and practices. She has been involved in influencing policy decisions at global, regional and national levels. Litha Musyimi-Ogana holds a bachelor of commerce degree and an MA of economics degree, both from the University of Nairobi. She has recently become the gender advisor for the Nepad in South Africa. Litha has published two books, one on lobbying and one on monitoring United Nations commitments at national level.

New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad)