NEW YORK, 21 November 2011 — The Ford Foundation today announced the appointment of Maurice Odhiambo Makoloo as representative for East Africa, serving Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
Makoloo will be based in the Ford Foundation’s office in Nairobi, which was established in 1962, and will oversee all of the foundation’s work in the region. Makoloo succeeds Dr. Willy Mutunga, who in June was confirmed by the Kenyan Parliament as the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Kenya.
“As the Ford Foundation prepares to mark 50 years of working for democracy and social justice across East Africa, we couldn’t be prouder to appoint Maurice Makoloo to lead our next generation of work in this vital and vibrant region,” said Luis Ubiñas, president of the Ford Foundation. “Maurice combines tremendous leadership skills with a lifelong commitment to the mission and values that shape our work.”
Makoloo is currently the director of the Institute for Law and Environmental Governance, a nonprofit environmental research and advocacy institution based in Nairobi. In this capacity he has initiated and led a range of research and advocacy campaigns to advance sustainable development and effective governance over natural resources. As a legal practitioner, Makoloo has prosecuted many public interest cases on behalf of local communities and other vulnerable groups.
He recently concluded a six-year term as the secretary to Kenya’s Public Complaints Committee on the Environment, a position to which he was appointed by the minister for environment and mineral resources. In addition, he has served as convener of the Council of the Law Society’s Environmental Law Committee since 2005.
“As a proven leader in Kenyan civil society, Maurice brings a broad array of experience as a skilled manager and effective advocate for low-income and vulnerable communities in East Africa,” said Darren Walker, vice president for Education, Creativity and Free Expression at the foundation. “This deep knowledge and experience in the region, combined with an unwavering commitment to advancing rights and opportunity for all people, make him an ideal match for the work of the Ford Foundation and all of our local partners.”
Makoloo is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, where he is pursuing research on environmental law and its impact on vulnerable communities. He holds bachelor and master of laws degrees from the University of Nairobi.
“It is a tremendous honor to lead the Ford Foundation’s future work in East Africa,” Makoloo said. “This is a moment of incredible promise for the region, and Ford’s invaluable leadership and support for social justice are as important now as ever before. I look forward to guiding the next chapter of the foundation’s remarkable legacy in this region.”
For nearly five decades, the Ford Foundation has worked to lay a foundation for democracy in East Africa by supporting the growth of civil society, developing leaders in key social sectors and strengthening government expertise.
Ford grantees have led the way in expanding access among marginalized communities to education; microfinance and other financial services; natural resources and conservation; and free expression.
Makoloo will begin his new position in January 2012. He was selected after a broad international search.