By Abdul Noormohamed , Stan Getui , Wendy Trott and Toyin Akinniyi

Celebrating the women leaders we work with in Africa

In commemoration of this year’s International Women’s Day, the Luminate Africa team would like to specially celebrate the amazing women leaders in our portfolio who have demonstrated determination, skill, and empathy in building and leading organisations that make our societies more just and fair. The work of these women has enabled people to better participate in the decisions that affect their lives, and to bravely hold governments accountable to the people. Today, we thank them for their service, and celebrate all that is yet to come from these stellar leaders.


Nkem Ilo, PPDC

Nkem has been Chief Executive Officer of the Public Private Development Centre (PPDC) since 2018. PPDC works to enable the public to have more effective oversight over the spending of public resources and improved service delivery through open procurement and broader transparency measures.

PPDC has worked with multiple Ministries, Departments, and Agencies of the Nigerian government to develop open procurement portals that publish contracting information for the public to scrutinise. PPDC also collaborated with the Bureau of Public Procurement on NOCOPO, the national open contracting platform of the Nigerian government. They simultaneously also collaborate with citizen monitors who analyse the information and share it with communities so they can participate in following through on contracts in their areas.

Christine Nkonge, Katiba Institute

Christine was appointed Executive Director of Katiba Institute in June 2019, and since then has proven her mettle in the difficult field of strategic litigation in Kenya. Katiba provides a wide range of services both for the public and for civil society in Kenya, for example by conducting public interest litigation, supporting access to information requests, and educating communities about their rights protected by the new Kenyan constitution.

Katiba’s mission is to build a culture and practice of constitutionalism in Kenya, and Christine leads a sterling – and growing - team of lawyers, activists and programme specialists who do just that.

Mariam Azeem, Rhize

Mariam is Director of Movement Support & Learning at Rhize. Mariam became Director in 2020 and leads Rhize in their mission to build a global community driving people-powered societies around the world. Through Rhize’s flagship programme, the Global Coaching Fellowship, Mariam and the amazing team at Rhize have coached movements, trained organizations, and connected change-makers to a global ecosystem of movement support.

Mariam is a renowned civil resistance trainer whose work focuses on transformational leadership, human rights education, nonviolent conflict, and creating participatory and accountable citizenship and democracy. Her background and passion for working on issues related to youth, women, gender, and sexual minorities, as well as her human rights education, have reflected in her work. Rhize has grown to become a strategically positioned and impactful organisation empowering movement-builders with the capacity to take collective action.

Koketso Moeti,

Koketso is the inimitable founder and Executive Director of, a civic tech tool that enables effective collective action by anyone, anywhere, regardless of the technology they have at their disposal. Koketso is a fierce advocate for Black women in South Africa (and beyond), and the tools she and her team have built are creating opportunities for women and people from low-income communities to have their say, hold government accountable, and challenge rights abuses through innovative online and offline advocacy campaigns.

Koketso has built into a force to be reckoned with, representing almost one million members who have taken action on issues ranging from environmental protection to vaccine access and social grants.

Geci Karuri-Sabina, Civic Tech Innovation Network

Geci is the National Coordinator of the Civic Tech Innovation Network, a community of practice for those working on using technology to advance civic participation in South Africa and the rest of Africa. CTIN conducts research, hosts convenings, and builds community among civic tech practitioners to advance the field and ensure more effective deployment of civic technologies across the continent.

Geci is a highly experienced author, researcher, and practitioner with expertise in urban futures, smart cities, and governance and development. Together with a small but effective team at the University of the Witwatersrand, Geci is building a community of civic tech practitioners who are finding innovative ways to use technology more effectively to enable people to participate in the decisions that affect their lives.

Seehaam Samaai, Women’s Legal Centre

Seehaam is the Director of the Women’s Legal Centre, a public interest non-profit that works to advance the rights of women and people identifying as women through provision of free legal services, litigation, training, and advocacy for law reform around issues affecting women and their rights. 

Seehaam is an attorney, gender rights advocate, and speaker, serves on various boards, and has won awards including the COVID-19 Legal Philanthropist & COVID-19 Gender-Based Violence Champion. Seehaam’s passion for women’s human rights in South Africa especially in the areas of access to justice, land, and housing as well as the dedication of her team have contributed immensely to the advancement of women’s rights in South Africa.

Avani Singh, ALT Advisory

Avani is a Director at ALT Advisory, a digital rights advisory firm, and Power Singh, a public interest litigation firm, in South Africa. Avani is a renowned digital rights lawyer and activist on issues regarding the use of technology, information rights, freedom of expression, and privacy. She has worked extensively in South Africa and beyond on the continent, and co-leads a team of dynamic young lawyers and activists who use litigation, research, and advisory services to advance the protection of human rights in the digital sphere across Africa.

Moky Makura, Africa No Filter

Moky is the Executive Director of Africa No Filter, an innovative new collaborative initiative that seeks to change the narrative about and within Africa to one that is more nuanced, authentic, and locally driven. Moky works with researchers, the media, and artists to interrogate how narrative is used in Africa, and how to empower storytellers to create more authentic narratives.

Moky took on this challenging task in early 2020, just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but has still managed to build a team, a brand, and a strategy for ANF despite these challenging times. However, she is certainly just getting started, and we look forward to seeing what other great things she and the ANF team will achieve in the coming months.

Jane Duncan, Media Policy and Democracy Project

Jane is a Professor in Journalism, Film and Television at the University of Johannesburg and co-founder of the MPDP, an inter-university collaborative research project that aims to promote participatory media and communications policy-making in the public interest. MPDP has been instrumental in uncovering the extent of public communications surveillance in South Africa, and has now expanded their work to other countries in South Africa to gain a better understanding of the risks and challenges in regulating state-driven surveillance, particularly as it relates to the media.

MPDP also works to bring together researchers and journalists to bridge the academic divide, and to ensure that research outputs reach the public so that they are able to use that information to hold government and the private sector accountable for wrongdoing, where appropriate. Jane’s research has been foundational in catalysing litigation, policy change, and security sector reform in South Africa.

To all these women leaders, and the many others that we at Luminate have worked with in the past and in other ways, we salute you and recognise the significant contributions you have made to your respective fields. Luminate continues to support women and organisations working to break existing barriers to gender parity and to building more inclusive societies.