Winnie Byanyima to leave Oxfam International for a role with UNAIDS

Byanyima has been executive director of the charity since May 2013 and will replace Gunilla Carlsson as executive director of the UN's programme to eradicate Aids

Winnie Byanyima
Winnie Byanyima

The executive director of Oxfam International, Winnie Byanyima, is to step down to take up a role with the UN’s programme to end the Aids epidemic.

Byanyima, who has led Oxfam International since May 2013, will join UNAIDS and replace the organisation’s current executive director, Gunilla Carlsson.

Byanyima has not yet fixed her departure date, a spokeswoman for Oxfam said, and a recruitment process for her successor was under way.

Byanyima has presided over Oxfam International through a difficult period for the movement, with Oxfam GB heavily criticised by the Charity Commission for its response to allegations of sexual misconduct perpetrated by Oxfam staff in Haiti in 2011.

The commission’s report, which was published in June after a statutory inquiry lasting more than a year, said the charity had broken promises to improve safeguarding and had failed to properly investigate the allegations.

Before taking her role at Oxfam, Byanyima spent seven years as director of gender and development at the UN development programme, and was appointed director of women and development at the African Union Commission in 2004.

She became a member of parliament in the National Assembly of Uganda 30 years ago.

Henrietta Campbell, chair of Oxfam International, said: "On behalf of the Oxfam International secretariat and our global confederation, I thank our international executive director Winnie Byanyima for her leadership, energy and commitment to our mission in tackling poverty and inequality."

Byanyima said: "I am honoured to be joining UNAIDS as the executive director at such a critical time in the response to HIV.

"The end of Aids as a public health threat by 2030 is a goal that is within the world’s reach, but I do not underestimate the scale of the challenge ahead. Working with all its partners, UNAIDS must continue to speak up for the people left behind and champion human rights as the only way to end the epidemic."

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