Happy Mwende Kinyili has been working for Mama Cash since 2014, first as Senior Program Officer for the Body Portfolio and since July 2017 as director of the Programmes team.
Happy comes to Mama Cash from UHAI – the East African Sexual Health and Rights Initiative, an indigenous, activist fund supporting East African LGBTI and sex worker movements. Happy joined UHAI in 2009 and served as the Director of Programmes from 2013. In addition to supporting the activist-led peer grantmaking process each year, Happy led in crafting skills and knowledge strengthening programmes for UHAI as well as guiding co-creation processes with activists in the region to host three of Africa’s then largest conferences bringing together sex workers and LGBTI activists and donors.
Why do you like working for Mama Cash?
“Because it’s a space where I can work to make my feminist visions real, and work with other feminists to collectively build and give space to strong, resilient, vibrant feminist movements.”
What makes Mama Cash stand out?
“Mama Cash focuses explicitly on creating space for people who normally remain unseen and unheard, and gives support that enables them to get a seat at the table and make their voices heard. The other thing that makes Mama Cash unique is the guiding principle of self-determination: the emphasis on the fact that each person has agency and the right to determine their own future.”
What is the point on the horizon you’re working towards?
“I want to get to the place where feminists from all parts of the world and from all kinds of movements – whether it be environmental rights movements, trade unions or LGBTI rights movements – get together to strategise, celebrate and break bread together, as part of their own paths of liberation and change. I want to be part of nurturing the spaces where these meetings can take place.”