Evelyne Opondo

Evelyne Opondo, Africa Director, International Center for Research on Women

Evelyne Opondo

Africa Director, International Center for Research on Women

Evelyne Opondo, Africa Director at the International Center for Research on Women, offers over two decades of expertise in human rights, reproductive and gender justice advocacy and international development leadership. Evelyne is an experienced strategist, who collaborates with policy makers, activists, private sector actors and researchers across the globe to promote women’s rights. Previously, as Senior Regional Director for Africa at the Center for Reproductive Rights, she successfully devised and implemented strategies, significantly contributing to improved reproductive justice landscape in Africa. Evelyne's impactful contributions also include her role as Africa Policy Associate at Ipas where she advanced reproductive justice in several African countries and with specific African Union organs. Evelyne has also worked at the Federation of Women Lawyers Kenya and at State Law Office where she advocated for women’s rights. She has written several opinion and issue-oriented articles on women's rights. She holds a law degree from Pune University, and a master's in Gender and Development from the University of Nairobi. Evelyne is an alumnae of WomenLift Health’s East Africa leadership journey- a program that provides the tools, mentorship, and coaching support to help expand the power and influence of women leaders in global health. She is also a member of Kenya’s Family Planning Total Market Approach Implementation Taskforce and actively serves on boards including FP2030 and the Reproductive Health Network – Kenya, reflecting her commitment to advancing reproductive justice. In 2024, she was selected to serve as a member of the WomenLift Health Program Advisory Team for East Africa Thematic leadership Journey in Family Planning and Contraceptive Access.


All Sessions by Evelyne Opondo

2:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Reimagining Leadership in Global Health: What’s Power got to do with it?

Led by: WomenLift Health.

Globally, the emerging discourse on women’s leadership is around redefining narratives and cultures of power grounded in equality and justice. Power has often been considered as a binary, masculine, often synonymous with men in opposition to those who don't hold it, largely women. On the contrary power is not a binary; in fact, it is multi-layered and complex. Incorporated within power are ideas of access to money, people, spaces, and information. Discussions of reimagining leadership in the context of power prompts us to think about the complexity of redistributing power and creating more dissonance in who has access and under what conditions.

This session will convene leaders from organizations that have been walking the talk- of shifting power and creating models of shared leadership with a vision to democratize and achieve higher and sustainable impact. We believe the conversation of reimagining leadership needs to be pegged to important discussions around redistributing power. We want to bring an honest conversation about what it takes to shift power to reimagine leadership as we know it, between those who have reimagined leadership and practiced it in their institutions and participants at the WLH Conference.

The panel will explore these questions: How are organizations restructuring and redistributing assets and opportunities to develop shared leadership models? What does it mean to identify meaningful, contextual objectives for reimagining leadership, and have they been able to allocate resources to achieve these objectives? What are some of the expected outcomes of the process of shifting power, and how effectively are these achieved? What is the role of traditional “HQs” in localization processes? What does localization mean to the diverse stakeholders who are experiencing the change? How do roles and relationships change? What are some of the reflections of this process amongst those who have tried to shift power?

1. Ms. Benter Owour: IPAS Global Network Advisor, Uganda
2. Gunjan Veda, Global Secretary, The Movement for Community-led Development, USA
3. Ms. Joanna Mbakulo: Uganda Country Coordinator, Movement for Community Led Development (MCLD), Uganda
4. Ms. Evelyne Opondo, Director, ICRW Africa, Kenya
5. Dr. Norah Obudho, East Africa Director, WomenLift Health, Kenya

1. Sia Nowrojee, Senior Director, Girls & Women Strategy, United Nations Foundation, USA/KENYA, WLH NA 2020
2. Dr Nandini Oomman, CEO, Samya Ventures, USA/INDIA WLH NA 2020
3. Dr Priya Nanda: Global Health Research and Evaluation Specialist, INDIA, WLH INDIA 2021

2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Transforming Health Leadership Through Mid-Level Providers: RHNK’s Model in Kenya

Led by: Reproductive Health Network Kenya

For gender transformative leadership by health leaders to be realized, all leaders in health must be intentional in nurturing diverse leadership and promoting gender transformative policies as a basis to strengthen the health system. This session seeks to highlight the significant contribution of mid-level providers, particularly women, in health systems. The session will also provide insights into the challenges faced by women mid-level providers in attaining leadership roles in the health sector.

1. Dr Edison Omollo, Program Director, Reproductive Health Network Kenya
2. Nelly Munyasia, Executive Director, Reproductive Health Network Kenya
3. Ms. Beverlyn Polet, Reproductive Health Network kenya
4. Prof. Anne Kihara, President, FIGO
5. Ms. Evelyne Opondo Africa Director, International Center for Research on Women(ICRW)

4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Quiet Quicksand: Caregiving as a key Determinant to Gender Equal Leadership

Led by: WomenLift Health Alumnae.

While the detriments of dependent and/or elder caregiving are increasingly being documented, including diminished mental and physical health, financial security, career prospects, and overall well-being, the complex dynamics of those outcomes are not well studied. The data that is available about those with multiple caregiving responsibilities confirms that it is not easy and it also comes largely from Europe and North America. It comes from wealthy nations, places with formal (albeit broken) welfare systems. This focus on the Global North has shaped the way we think about the consequences of intergenerational transfer. This means we lack a comprehensive understanding of the magnitude, determinants, or impact of the caregiving experience. These individuals are subsidizing entire economies, yet their heavy labor is invisible. Current momentum to measure unpaid work and the global care economy brings recognition to the matter.

How should the lived experience of caregiving be valued and integrated by employers and colleagues? The session will explore questions like: What value does caregiving add? What leadership skills does it lend to the workplace? How can these skills be maximized for impact? What novel systems should be built from the ground up to reflect the profile of the workforce now versus simply adapting anachronistic structures designed for a fraction of the population? How can we, as leaders, advocate for the integration and scaling of such novel systems and policies?

1. Brooke Cutler, Gender Equity and Global Health Consultant
2. Paurvi Bhatt, MPH, President and Chief Impact Officer, Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers
3. Ms. Evelyne Opondo, Africa Director, International Center for Research on Women
4. Dr Olivia Velez, Director of Technical Services, PATH
5. Alison Varco, Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Women in Leadership