Winnie Byanyima appointed to lead Oxfam International

January 15th, 2013 by admin Posted in Pan Africa, Uganda
Winnie Byanyima. Photo: Oxfam

Winnie Byanyima

Winifred (Winnie) Byanyima, a grass-roots activist, human rights advocate, senior international public servant, and world recognized expert on women’s rights, has been appointed Executive Director of Oxfam International – a role that provides strategic direction and coordination for the worldwide confederation of Oxfam affiliates.

Ms Byanyima has held roles that reinforced the governance of the African Union, and she influenced the international agenda at the United Nations and through her leadership in many coalitions of civil society organizations. She is recognized for extensive work in peace-building, budget and electoral reform, and building social coalitions. She is an authority on the gender dimension of climate change, economic policymaking, and social and economic equality. In her earlier career, she founded a still-thriving NGO in Uganda and served three terms as a member of the Ugandan parliament.

From April, Ms Byanyima will lead Oxfam International, which offers strategic guidance, support, expertise and coordination across Oxfam. Oxfam works with people in 94 countries to find effective ways to end the injustice of poverty. Through its 17 affiliates, Oxfam provides humanitarian relief in crisis, empowers poor and marginalized people to gain social and economic equality, and campaigns for a more just world.

Ms Byanyima was selected after a global search, led by the Chair of Oxfam International, Keith Johnston, with the help of an international executive search firm. “In an outstanding field of candidates, Winnie stood out as exemplifying Oxfam’s values and ambitions,” he said. “She brings clear vision fired by her commitment to social justice, the toughness of an able negotiator and campaigner, and leadership based on her capacity to inspire and convene, in many circles, cultures and levels.”

Winnie Byanyima said:

“The world is witnessing a shift in global development, growing inequality, volatility on many levels, and mounting aspirations and impatience for change. Oxfam understands how this changing context means it must be strategic and adaptable in its mission to overcome poverty and reinforce peoples’ rights. I am very proud to be invited to lead such an important organization as Oxfam, with its passionate commitment to social justice.”

Ms Byanyima earned engineering degrees in aeronautics and in energy conservation and the environment in the United Kingdom, where she went as a refugee student during the repressive regime of Idi Amin in her native Uganda.

She was an engineer for Uganda Airlines before being appointed to the diplomatic service in 1989, where she represented Uganda in France and at UNESCO in Paris. She returned to Uganda in 1994 and served as a member of parliament until 2004, actively representing a poor urban constituency and developing expertise in parliamentary process and practice as well as forming the first parliamentary all-party women’s caucus. In that same period, she founded and led the Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE), a national NGO in Uganda to champion women’s equal participation in decision-making.

From 2004 until 2006, she established and directed a unit for women, gender and development at the African Union Commission as part of a mandate to improve the institution’s governance and equality. In 2006, she moved to the global stage as director of the gender team of the United Nations Development Program, working on crucial issues of development, climate change and economic policy through the prism of gender considerations.  In that role, she also co-founded a 60-member Global Gender and Climate Alliance of civil society, bilateral and multilateral organizations; and chairs UN-wide task forces on gender aspects of the Millennium Development Goals, and of climate change.

Ms Byanyima will replace Jeremy Hobbs who decided last year to step down after serving as Executive Director of Oxfam International since 2001.  Under his leadership, Oxfam has become an ever more respected and effective global enterprise that has increased its impact through the closer coordination of its affiliates and its programs.

  1. 65 Responses to “Winnie Byanyima appointed to lead Oxfam International”

  2. By Eblasto Abel on Jan 15, 2013

    Congs upon your appointment.We the Ugandan’s are proud…

  3. By Bryan Taremwa... on Jan 15, 2013

    This is very good……….she’s d 1st lady ov UG

  4. By Nakazi rosie on Jan 15, 2013

    Congragulations MISS!! I honestly admire u, wellwishes lady!!!!

  5. By Mbabazi Edwin on Jan 15, 2013

    Congratulations Hon. Madam Winnie Byanyima. Uganda is proud of you.

  6. By Nakazi rosie on Jan 15, 2013

    Congragulations Ms Winnie!!! U r my idol now, well wishes frm me!

  7. By John Bosco Agaba on Jan 15, 2013

    My sincere congratulations to Winnie Byanyima upon her appointment. This is a vote of confidence in her work. I am hopeful that she will steer Oxfam International to greater heights.

  8. By Gerald Katabazi on Jan 15, 2013

    Let the sky be the limit.

  9. By Grace on Jan 15, 2013

    am very happy for her, congs ma dear

  10. By Mohammad KK on Jan 15, 2013

    This is to welcome You to the Oxfam Family Winnie!

    You will be an energiser (decisive,visionery,commited,braverly, pationate & Inteligent)

    You can still go up the heights!

  11. By TWESIGYE on Jan 15, 2013

    very, very happy. Go, go higher our winnie, you are indeed a winner. the sky is the limit. despite all the huddles back home you are surely making it and surely Col Besigye and Anslem will all be smiles just as many Ugandans who have their country at heart and acknowledge your contribution will indeed celebrate. this puts my new year in a great hope and inspiration. Congs and may God protect you in your daily activities.

  12. By Muramira Kenneth on Jan 15, 2013

    Congs Mama FDC.

  13. By Katebera Tadeo on Jan 15, 2013

    Dear Winnie, congragulation and thanks for putting our country Uganda on the Map.

    All the best in your new appointment and I pray to almight God to guid you in all your daily endavoures.



  14. By Levi Zakye on Jan 15, 2013

    Congratulations!!!!! So happy for you. Youve really achieved alot!

    Levi Zakye
    Kampala, Uganda

  15. By Edmund on Jan 15, 2013

    Hongera sana Ms Win Byanyima kwa kuteuliwa kuongoza OI.

  16. By Andrew Osiany on Jan 15, 2013

    Congratulations a million Winnie on this prime assignment.I know you’ll inject new learning perspectives into Oxfam and make use of your talent to take the organization to another level. Pongezi dada;Am thrilled to hear this

  17. By Besiime on Jan 15, 2013

    Congratulations WINNIE. May the Almigty God keep you healthy and your family.

  18. By Eyecon Uganda on Jan 15, 2013

    You are a winner and you deserve every success. Congs.

  19. By Steven Odongkara on Jan 15, 2013

    We are so proud of you, Winnie. You surely deserve it and more! Most welcome.

  20. By Tibasima Bamugera on Jan 15, 2013

    A male with 33 years of age,muhema by the triable,congolese by nationality,graduete in Public Admnistratio and Management, with 3 years of working experience in publc and private sectors.i speack;french,englesh,kiswahili,lingala and luganda.I here by congratulate Ms Winnie Byanyima for being promoted and selected as a top leader of OI.for the benefit of the entere world and more especially for the 94 countries regestered.May the almighty uses you for this great responsabilities given to you.

  21. By Vincent on Jan 15, 2013

    Congratulations. You make us proud to be from Uganda, more so during such very trying times. Hongera sana, Kulika nnyo nyini

  22. By bum on Jan 15, 2013

    congs winnie

  23. By Thomas Mayende on Jan 15, 2013

    Congratulations, Winnie. Carry the Ugandan and East African flag high.

  24. By william on Jan 15, 2013

    Kare mwana ogumizemu nemirimo yawe. congratulations

  25. By Viola Muhangi Kuhaisa on Jan 15, 2013

    Congratulations Winnie Byanyima Besigye. You have always been my role model and i am thrilled by your success. Best wishes in the new position. May the Good Lord guide and protect you.

  26. By Oryema Moses on Jan 15, 2013

    Postive publicity for the pearl of Africa, God bless winnie to do your good will to the world.

  27. By Moses Mutaasa on Jan 15, 2013

    Congratulations Ms Winnie Byanyima. You have indeed made it! Every blessing

  28. By William Lomonyang on Jan 15, 2013

    I congratulate the Leadership of Oxfam upon the appointment of ms Winnie Byanyima. May you show the world a new order in fighting for the growing ineguality,poverty and ignorace.

  29. By ALLEN ERIC on Jan 15, 2013

    Bravo to Winnie for taking such great post many women in your country are suffering its high time you cab the situation may God bless you

  30. By Omony ceaserior Patrick on Jan 15, 2013

    That is a positive publicity of Uganda, unlike the negative publicity caused by the misappropriation of the donor funds. Bravo Winnie

  31. By Jacob Mpaka on Jan 15, 2013

    I am happy for you, the daughter of the soil. Go spread your wings as you make us proud. Bravo

  32. By GERALDS SEGAWA on Jan 15, 2013

    congs her execellency,our first lady.WISH YOU SUCCESS IN YOUR NEW ROLE

  33. By Bernardette Awor Opoti on Jan 15, 2013

    Go go g Hon. Winnie. we remember u as atwin to our late sister,Hon. Esther Dhugira Opoti. Best wishes in your new appointment.
    Berna Opoti

  34. By Odomaro Mubangizi on Jan 15, 2013

    The appointment of Winnie Byanyima to lead Oxfam International is solid demonstration that Oxfam is indeed responsive to global social justice demands. It is evident from Winnie’s profile that she is the face of what can be termed “global solidarity for social justice.” She has exemplified the value of solidarity with those who suffer injustice even when she could have enjoyed the fruits of her high professional qualifications and international stature. No doubt Oxfam will benefit from her excellent international skills in diplomacy, advocacy and governance. I can only wish her success in doing what she enjoys most: promoting social justice in a global context.

  35. By Oscar on Jan 15, 2013

    This is awesome, Our Today’s Parliament has no people like Winnie. Winnie we treasure you, Mum lead Oxfam and improve the power people’s lives.

  36. By Fred (Focolare Movement) on Jan 15, 2013

    Congs Hon Winnie, all the best, you have always made it, once again you make us proud your young brothers and sisters. May God bless you.

  37. By Gideon on Jan 15, 2013

    Congs Madam Bya. Winnie what achievement! What a woman, we are proud of you

  38. By John Sande kaNyarubona on Jan 15, 2013

    Ms Winnie Byanyima is an eminently qualified–and passionate–development professional, activist, and leader. Nobody doubts that she’s learnt her craft the hard way and paid her dues. Oxfam is very lucky indeed to have “found” such a leader for the five years or so ahead–when a substantial segment of the world’s population will be facing unprecedented challenges (exacerbated by climate change)and potential opportunities (in the burgeoning small business sector).


    (from one Old Makererean to another)

  39. By LUZINDANA ADAM BUYINZA on Jan 15, 2013

    As a Leader/CEO of Public Opinions Inc (, iam indeed proud of Mrs Winnie and her work geared towards global development.. she has indeed done alot at a Global Level and i now pray that with that new assignment, she must now use it to transparently focus towards supporting projevts in Uganda that focus towards social-economic transformation of our country… I salute you and wish you all the best.

    Luzindana Adam Buyinza
    Team Leader/CEO
    Public Opinions Inc
    P.o Box 35297
    tel:+256 712 936 206

  40. By Yeka William on Jan 16, 2013

    Congs madam Winnie, wish you all the best.

  41. By James Bamanya on Jan 16, 2013

    Congs Winnie, this is an indication that the world is opening up for us people from the third world so long as we show that we have capacity to move things. You have always been known as very intelligent.These achievements show that indeed you are a force to reckon with. All the best form all of us who love you. Cheers Winnie our lady.

  42. By vincent tusabe mugisa on Jan 16, 2013

    With your commitment and persistent show of cause for social justice, i believe the world will benefit from your selfless efforts. Congratulations and thanks to OXFAM to have seen results in you. May God guide you as you lead to reach humanity needs.

  43. By Reagan on Jan 16, 2013

    Hon Winnie will always be No. 1 at Uganda’s heart. Conglats upon your new appointment. Thanks for being an honest person, very hardworking.GBU.

  44. By Mbabazi Jonas on Jan 16, 2013

    Congs Winnie. Your efforts at local and international level for social justice have been fruitful but the task ahead is enormous.

  45. By rick kisa on Jan 16, 2013

    this is one individual that shows that politics is not the end of life

  46. By Jax on Jan 16, 2013

    Wishing you the very best

  47. By Wycliffe Nsheka on Jan 16, 2013

    OXFAM will continue to shine and to be on top of the global development and humanitarian assistance agenda under Winnie’s leadership!Congratulations Winnie, we have no doubt in you! We tested your leadership, OXFAM made the right choice. God’s blessings as you take on this new challenging role. Congs again.

  48. By Richard Obedi on Jan 16, 2013

    Hon. Winnie,

    Congs! The sky is the limit for you…..and as Ugandans, we are so proud of you! You make us walk with our heads high!

    Once again, congratulation!

  49. By Bwambale Nelson on Jan 16, 2013

    Congs, Uganda now on a world map…

  50. By Ambrose Etigu on Jan 16, 2013

    Congratulations Winnie, I strongly believe you will lead this change, and with the great talent scale will take leads us to the pinnacle. God bless you.

  51. By Ambrose Etigu on Jan 16, 2013

    Congratulations Winnie, I strongly believe you will lead this change, and with the great talent scale you will leads us to the pinnacle. God bless you.

  52. By murungi ceasar on Jan 16, 2013

    winnie you are winner. the whole world looks to the great contribution you going to foster in Oxfam. this promotion surely i believe is an appreciation to you for the great works already a accomplished. may you live to serve the africa and the world. congs

  53. By Grace Agili on Jan 16, 2013

    We are celebrating you globally for all those achievements. You are a great lady!

  54. By burini kevin on Jan 16, 2013

    yea i love that and her earlier efforts are promising on what to expect from her

  55. By Nivie on Jan 16, 2013

    All wisdom and leadership come from God.I believe its all from God congs.

  56. By Caesar K. on Jan 16, 2013

    That’s what Uganda offers best; Women of character, energy, passion and reason! Congs Winnie!!!!

  57. By Mpamizo Peter on Jan 16, 2013

    We need women like Byanyima whose personality can give a different future to this country.Otherwise we are in a dilemma of bribery, threatening and demotions among others to change our ideological positions.
    We love you Mrs. Besigye.

  58. By John Mubbale on Jan 16, 2013

    she can handle any responsibility on earth, i have doubt in her she will move that organization forward with all its visions well met. go on Winnie, we r behind ur back.

  59. By Izidoro Sunday on Jan 18, 2013

    soar to the highest possible with your impartiality,integrity and passion for the marginalized in the lead.

    “Never be weary of well doing”

    Congratulations Winnie!

  60. By Bateeze. H on Jan 19, 2013

    Ug iz agreat nation with such great people. Am very happy, hav safe journey lead of oxfam

  61. By Ndungo Nelson sande on Jan 19, 2013

    Congratulations Winnie; Your contribution to the rural poor through Change Agent Uganda is still fresh in the minds of Ugandans. We believe the rest of the world will continue to benefit from your expertise. We wish you all the best.

  62. By Arthur on Jan 20, 2013

    Congs mamma Winnie,

    Hardworking people deserve positions that enable offer their opportunities.

  63. By Mwine mukono Alex on Jan 23, 2013


  64. By francis Losike on Jan 31, 2013

    Congs Madam Winnie,and we are proud here in the only forgotten Land of Karamoja where Oxfam stage her foots from twenty years ago.
    Wel-come to OI as afamily.

  65. By Tonnie Tiberondwa Okwaput on May 29, 2013

    Congratulations Dear Mama Winnie, I love it that way.
    God bless you grossly!!!

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