Jessica Horn is the regional director in the foundation’s office for East Africa. She oversees all of the foundation's grantmaking in the region and leads the Nairobi-based team.
She has dedicated the past two decades of her professional life to the process of advancing justice, challenging inequalities, and building both the knowledge base and practice towards inclusive democracies—with women’s rights as a focal commitment—primarily in Africa. She began her career serving as coordinator for Amanitare, the first Africa feminist network on sexual and reproductive health and rights. Over the past 16 years, she has worked in the philanthropic sector. At Sigrid Rausing Trust, she grew grantmaking across both women’s rights and minority rights portfolios including work on refugee and disability rights.
Most recently, for five years as director of programs for the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF), Jessica provided thought leadership, program direction, and management oversight of AWDF’s programmatic work and 15-member program team, which included staff focused on grants, capacity building, knowledge management, and catalytic initiatives. At AWDF, she oversaw a four-fold increase in grantmaking and pioneered several large initiatives, including Futures (an African feminist foresight initiative) and Flourish (feminist care and intergenerational movement building initiative). She is also co-founder of Our Africa (which profiles African feminists on open Democracy) and, in East Africa, specifically led a donor collaborative in the process of creating UHAI-the East African Sexual Health and Rights initiative.
Jessica has served on the boards of Mama Cash and Urgent Action Fund Africa and as an advisor to initiatives advancing innovation in social movement organizing and resourcing. Her research and analysis on gender and social movements, African feminist organizing, and women’s health and body politics has been published in academic and media platforms.
Jessica has a BA in anthropology from Smith College and an MSc in gender and development from the London School of Economics. She is a graduate of the United World College - USA.