Throughout her career, Niamani has developed a reputation for her skill in connecting people and ideas.
She joined AGAG in 2001 and has guided its evolution from an idea to a vibrant network, working in partnership with the Steering Committee, members, and other colleagues working at the intersection of philanthropy and Africa.
Before joining AGAG Niamani worked with the African-American Institute (AAI). She worked in various departments including the office of the corporate secretary and conference coordinator and programs focusing on women and African development, education and training, and policy issues.
As Director of Services to the Field for the USAID African Leadership and Advanced Skills project, she managed a grants program to African-based organizations, promoted networking among African professionals working in different sectors. She was editor of two project newsletters and numerous report. In her extensive travel throughout Africa, Niamani worked with stakeholders ranging from government and university officials, international NGOs and civil society organizations.
She has conceptualized and implemented numerous conferences, workshops, and meetings across the African continent and in the United States that brought together professionals from different countries with common interests to learn from each other. Central to her work is a commitment to connecting people and ideas.
Niamani has a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Princeton University and a Master’s degree in Philanthropic Studies from Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
Respected members of the philanthropy community volunteer their expertise and leadership as a member of the Steering Committee. Members support the work of the staff in achieving the mission of the Africa Grantmakers’ Affinity Group.
Rohit Burman joined The Estée Lauder Companies in October 2014, moving from his position as Executive Director for Europe, Africa and the Middle Ease at the M·A·C AIDS Fund (MAF). He has over 14 years of experience in non-profit, public health and corporate philanthropy guiding strategy and overseeing programs. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Philanthropy New York and also serves on the Advisory Board on Aging for Partners for Livable Communities and the Trustee’s Committee on Education at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Rohit graduated from The College of Wooster, Ohio and received his Master’s of Public Policy from Georgetown University.
Shira Gitomer specializes in the sectors of public health and community advocacy and with field experience in China, Kenya, and South Africa. In addition to the creation and design of the slum transformation initiative, she is currently leading two programs on behalf of Geneva Global clients. She has an undergraduate degree from The School of Public Policy and International Studies at University of Denver and MPH from the School of Medicine and Health Sciences from The George Washington University.
Nyeleti has been a Program Officer at the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation since August 2015, having completed an M.A. in International Relations from Boston University last May. Ms. Honwana hails from Mozambique and is a self-proclaimed “suitcase kid” having grown up in South Africa, Senegal, England and the US. She received the Herman Eilts Thesis Award for best graduate thesis for her dissertation, titled ‘Social Movements in Africa: Mozambique and Civil Disorder,’ which examined the role of the state in mitigating the effect of Mozambican popular protests.
Andrea Johnson works with the Higher Education and Libraries in Africa team on the strategy to develop and retain the next generation of African academics. Through the Partnership for Higher Education in Africa, she developed strategies to improve access to Internet connectivity for higher education and research. She earned a B.A. in Economics from the College of William and Mary, a Master of International Affairs degree in economic and political development from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. She is a co-founder of the Africa Grantmakers’ Affinity Group.
William Moses was a key architect in restructuring Kresge’s education programming and leads the education team’s continuum of grant activities from developing program strategy, reviewing preliminary ideas, and helping grantees develop proposals or initiatives, to awarding funding and monitoring existing grants. He was instrumental in developing Kresge’s Green Building Initiative and has spearheaded the foundation’s international grantmaking. Bill was the co-chair of the seven-foundation Partnership for Higher Education in Africa and co-founder the Africa Grantmakers’ Affinity Group.
Nicolette Naylor, Regional Director, Southern Africa, Ford Foundation
Nicolette’s grantmaking focuses on human rights and governance, including realizing the progressive rights enshrined in the region’s constitutions and advancing the human and socioeconomic rights of poor and vulnerable populations, with special emphasis on issues of transparency and accountability. Before joining the Ford Foundation in 2007, Nicolette worked as a lawyer in the equality program at the International Centre for the Legal Protection of Human Rights (Interights) in London, focusing on international human rights and litigation before the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) and the European Court of Human Rights. Previously, she served as a public interest lawyer at the Women’s Legal Centre, based in Cape Town, where she worked to protect and promote women’s rights. Nicolette has been appointed to advisory bodies in South Africa and other parts of the continent, such as the Committee on Gender Equity, established by the South African minister of education, and a Nigerian committee of experts, set up to review draft legislation on violence against women in Nigeria. She has also served as a member of ACHPR’s expert committee for the protection of the rights of people living with, at risk for, or otherwise affected by HIV in Africa.
Vuyiswa Sidzumo is a Program Officer in the Ford Foundation South Africa Office. Before joining Ford, she served as the Director of the C. S. Mott Foundation Office in South Africa. She currently serves as the chair of the U.S.-based Africa Grantmakers Affinity Group and serves on the Construction Industry Development Board in South Africa. Her prior positions include serving as a director at the then National Department of Provincial and Local Government (now Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs), where she served as liaison to the donor community in South Africa. Between 1995 and 2002, she worked at the Sedibeng Centre for Organizational Effectiveness and the United Nations Development Programme. Sidzumo holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Science from Wits University in South Africa.