Achieng Akena joined IRRI as Executive Director in May 2019, bringing with her a wealth of experience and knowledge in strategic leadership, institutional resource management and advocacy networks in the UN and AU. A passionate and committed human rights and democracy advocate, Achieng has over 22 years’ experience in the promotion and protection of human rights of marginalised people and democratic governance across Africa.
Prior to joining IRRI, she was Executive Director of the Centre for Citizens Participation in the African Union (CCPAU)/The Pan African Citizens Network (PACIN). She has, among other engagements, served with the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA), Afghanistan, as a Human Rights Officer (2008) and with the African-led Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA), as Human Rights Observer (2013). Achieng holds a Masters in International Human Rights Law from Oxford University in the UK.
Achieng is not a stranger to IRRI, having served in 2006-7 as Project Coordinator for the International Justice in Africa Programme.