Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, a Zimbabwean is a human rights lawyer with over 25 years in development and human rights work. She is the founder of Rozaria Memorial Trust. In 2014, she was appointed African Union Goodwill Ambassador for the Campaign to End Child Marriage.
Gumbonzvanda,is current General Secretary/CEO of the World YWCA, since 2007. Present in 120 countries and reaching 25 million women and girls, the World YWCA develops the leadership of women and girls for collective action towards peace, justice, freedom, health and care for the environment.
She has over 10 years of experience with the United Nations, where she served as Regional Director for the United Nations Development Fund for Women (now part of UN Women) in Eastern and Horn of Africa covering 13 countries. She had previously worked as a human rights officer with UNICEF in Liberia and Zimbabwe. She is a trained human rights lawyer with extensive experience in conflict resolution and mediation. Under her leadership, the World YWCA has developed and delivered global and community impactful programmes on women and children’s rights, violence against women, sexual and reproductive health and HIV. She a sort after thought leader and public speaker on rights, health, girls and development issues.
Gumbonzvanda has also raised and leveraged the voice of women and girls in communities, advocating for rights and empowerment the implementation of key global commitments on women, young women and girls’ rights through CEDAW mechanisms, the Commission on the Status of Women, the Human Rights Council and the International Conference on Population and Development, engaging the movement and partners in these processes. She was involved in the development of the Maputo Protocol on Women’s Rights in Africa; and has led the World YWCA delegation to the African Union, the UN Commission on the Status of Women, the UN General Assembly, and other foras.
Gumbonzvanda served on various boards of development organisations such as Action Aid International and Save the Children UK, Girls Not Brides and is current chair of CIVICUS. She is the first President from the global south to serve as President of the NGO Committee on the Status of Women – Geneva. She was appointed a member of the High Level Group on HIV Prevention and Sexual Health for Young People in Eastern and Southern Africa by the United Nations; following her service as a member of the UN Commission on Information and Accountability on Women and Children’s Health. She is also a member of the Advisory Group on Ebola to World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General.
She believes in creating and unleashing potential of girls and women in resource poor communities as well as scaling up their innovations.