Irene Ovonji-Odida

Chief Executive Office, The Uganda Association of Women Lawyers (FIDA-Uganda)

Irene Ovonji-Odida is the CEO of The Uganda Association of Women Lawyers (FIDA-Uganda) since 2013 to date. FIDA-Uganda is one of the leading women’s rights organisations in Uganda and the pioneer of legal aid and public legal education in sub-Saharan Africa.

Ovonji-Odida was the Chairperson of the International Board of ActionAid International and before that was Chair of the International Board Committee. She has served in a voluntary governance capacity in various human rights and development NGOs since 1989. She has also been a member of or headed, various national and regional government-appointed bodies set up to formulate policies, design programs or fact-find. She was appointed to a UN High-Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa.

Ovonji-Odida was an elected member, East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) from 2001-2006. Her key contributions as a legislator included spearheading initiatives to increase transparency and accountability of the EALA to marginalised constituencies, increasing active participation of African legislators in international trade negotiations, including chairing a daily coordination forum in Cancun WTO Ministerial; leading an EALA conflict resolution investigation on fishing disputes. She participated in election monitoring for the EAC in Uganda in 2005 and Commonwealth Observer missions in Tanzania in 2010.

Previously Ovonji-Odida worked as Director, Legal, Directorate of Ethics and Integrity, Office of the President, Uganda; and before that in the Uganda Law Reform, and the Uganda Constituent Assembly Commission, which managed the 1995 constitution-making process in Uganda. Her professional experience includes lecturing, training and mentoring, research and advocacy. She has authored or contributed to publications on women’s land rights in Uganda, constitutionalism and East African regional integration.

Ovonji-Odida is a Stanford fellow 2015 and was a Mbeki Panel member (2012-2015), and she is an ACCORD Assembly member (2013 to date)

Ovonji-Odida has a Bachelor of Law degree and Master’s in comparative jurisprudence, specialising in international human rights law and international law. She also has training in gender and development, advocacy and training, as well as other areas of law. Her personal belief is that development needs a human face to be sustainable and relevant.

More Members of the Africa Policy Advisory Board

Acha Leke

Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company

Aidan Eyakuze

Executive Director, Twaweza East Africa

Amadou Mahtar Ba

Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, AllAfrica Global Media, Inc.

Angélique Kidjo

Three-time Grammy Award-winning Artist and Activist

Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane

Founder and President of African Monitor

Arunma Oteh

Vice President and Treasurer, The World Bank

Bunmi Makinwa

Chief Executive Officer, AUNIQUEI

ChiChi Aniagolu-Okoye

Country Director, WaterAid

Chikwe Ihekweazu

Chief Executive Officer/ National Coordinator, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control

Chose Choeu

Managing Director Corporate Affairs, Eskom

David Barnard

South African Development Expert

Eleni Z. Gabre-Madhin

Co-Founder and Chief Executive, Eleni LLC

Erik Charas

Founding and Managing Director, Charas LDA

Jacqueline Chimhanzi

Chief Executive Officer, African Leadership Institute

John Githongo

Chief Executive Officer, Inuka Kenya Trust

John Ulanga

Country Director, TradeMark East Africa

Jon Lomøy

Director, Development Co-operation Directorate

Lai Yahaya


Li Xiaoyun

Chief Senior Advisor, International Poverty Reduction Center in China

Mandla Sibeko

Founder and Chairman, Seed Capital Ventures

Melvin Ayogu

Adjunct Professor at the Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town

Mike Dada

President and Executive Producer, All Africa Music Awards

Mpule Kwelagobe

Head, QuesS Capital's Africa Investments

Neville Gabriel

Chief Executive Officer, The Other Foundation

Nic Dawes

Deputy Executive Director for Media, Human Rights Watch

Oluseun Onigbinde

Co-Founder and CEO, BudgIT

Owen Barder

Vice President, Center for Global Development

Paul Collier

Professor of Economics and Public Policy, Blavatnik School of Government

Richard Mkandawire

Africa Director, Alliance for African Partnership Secretariat

Romy Chevallier

Senior Researcher and Project Leader - Governance of Africa’s Resources, South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA)

Ruge Mutahaba

Director: Strategy and Programs Development, Clouds Media Group

Russell Wildeman

Social Policy Specialist, UNICEF South Africa

Susan Mashibe

President and CEO, VIA Aviation Limited

Warren Krafchik

Director, International Budget Partnership (IBP)

Zohra Dawood

Director, Centre for Unity in Diversity