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Vanessa Nakate joins Malala Fund’s board

Vanessa Nakate is a 25-year-old climate justice activist from Uganda and founder of the Africa-based Rise Up Movement.

Malala Fund is proud to announce the appointment of Vanessa Nakate to the organisation’s board of directors. As a young activist focused on the intersection of climate change, education and gender equality, Vanessa will help direct our work for girls’ education.

“Like Malala, Vanessa is a fearless young activist who knows the power of her voice and speaks truth to power. To secure a future where all girls can learn and lead, Malala Fund needs young women to inform our approach at every level. Girls know best the challenges they face and what they need to succeed,” says Suzanne Ehlers, Chief Executive Officer of Malala Fund. “We are honoured to have Vanessa join the board. Her experiences and expertise are sure to strengthen this organisation and expand its impact.”

Vanessa Nakate is a 25-year-old climate justice activist from Uganda and founder of the Africa-based Rise Up Movement. Three years ago after seeing droughts and floods devastate communities in Uganda, she decided to go on strike and call for urgent climate action. Vanessa wants world leaders to see how the climate crisis is already exacerbating poverty, conflict and gender inequality. She now campaigns globally for climate solutions, including girls' education. Vanessa also runs a project to install solar panels and eco-friendly stoves in schools in rural communities.

“When you educate and empower a girl, the benefits often cascade into the community and the environment around them — improving lives and reducing carbon emissions. Malala Fund’s recent report on climate and girls’ education demonstrated how crucial education is as a holistic solution for our times. I am so honoured to be able to contribute to that work in the future as a new member of the board,” says Vanessa.

Vanessa joins Malala Fund’s existing board, which includes co-founders Malala and Ziauddin Yousafzai, along with Akhter Mateen, Alaa Murabit, Fayeeza Naqvi, Françoise Moudouthe, Lynn Taliento, Modupe Adefeso-Olateju, Pearl Uzokwe and Susan McCaw.

To learn more about our current board leadership, visit


McKinley Tretler is Director, Public Relations. She works to develop and execute Malala Fund’s messaging and media strategies.

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