Melizsa Mugyenyi
Who We Are

Melizsa Mugyenyi

CEO, Graça Machel Trust Board Member
Disruptive and systemic realignments in development, that shift power to Africa's visionaries are desperately needed. We can no longer talk of 'meaningful partnerships', 'localization', or 'locally owned solutions' while perpetuating outdated and inequitable models of development. The tide must turn."

Melizsa Mugyenyi is the Chief Executive Officer of the Graça Machel Trust. In this role, she provides leadership for the expansion of the organization’s Pan African programming, to take its work of social and economic transformation to greater scale and impact. 

Melizsa is a daughter of Africa, originally from Uganda and currently residing in Kenya. She is passionate about strengthening development outcomes for marginalized groups on the continent and has intentionally built her career to contribute to these efforts across multiple sectors. Specifically, Melizsa has designed, managed, or fundraised for high impact initiatives while working within philanthropic, intergovernmental, and implementing organizations. She brings strategic, executive level experience to the Graça Machel Trust, most recently as the Country Representative - East Africa at global nonprofit IREX; and prior to that as Head of Partnerships - East Africa at the Aga Khan Foundation. 

Melizsa is a dedicated board member for a number of African rooted organizations, that are driving change in priority sectors. This includes Lwala Community Alliance, a leading Kenyan nonprofit that is building the capacity of rural communities to advance their own wellbeing; the African Venture Philanthropy Alliance, an ecosystem player committed to increasing the flow of capital into African social investment; and the African Visionary Fund, a sector disruptor that is tackling inequities and righting the power imbalances in philanthropy. 

Melizsa holds a BA in Politics and International Relations from the University of Sheffield, and an MA in Law, Globalization, and Development from the University of London (SOAS).