Today we have the very great honour of introducing you to Dr. Chrisanta Muli, incoming Chief Executive Officer of One Girl!
We sat down with Chrisanta for a ‘quick chat’ to introduce her to you, and find out whose footsteps she follows and what she wants the ones she leaves behind to look like. Hours later, we had to break for food and water because a more perfect match for One Girl there is NOT!
Dr Muli describes herself as a feminist pracademic — she straddles development ‘practice’ and ‘academia’ with a passion for gender justice and women’s rights, with the application of a feminist intersectional lens across all of her work and in her engagement with others. Which is a fancy way of saying ‘it’s not enough to fight for women’s rights — you have to ask which women? Because women from all walks of life have unique lived experiences and cannot be defined by a single identity’. We love her already.
Chrisanta has 15+ years experience delivering research, evaluations and programs across many cultures, contexts and countries around the world. She draws on her own personal lived experience as an African woman as well as her impressive professional experience to elevate and amplify the voices of women and girls everywhere.
We could tell you about her work as an independent consultant for the likes of Oxfam Pan-Africa, Oxfam Horn, East and Central Africa, Oxfam Great Britain, International Women’s Development Agency and the Australian Red Cross, or try to impress you by telling you about her extensive experience as a senior lecturer in international development and gender studies across Melbourne University, Monash University, RMIT University, Canberra University and the University of NSW, but we won’t.
Enough time for the humble brags later — we promised you the juicy stuff.
“The footsteps that brought me to One Girl have been all about reflecting on my identity, acknowledging and embracing the lived experiences of the brave women who have walked this journey before and opened doors of access for me.
“I acknowledge and fully recognise my position of privilege because my mother was educated. Her access to education has, and continues to positively transform the lives of many in her extended family and her community.
“I suppose the journey to One Girl is, in a roundabout way, a day of reckoning, a day of coming full-circle, and a time for me to unapologetically put my feminist values into action.”
We asked Chrisanta who she’d most love to have dinner with, and why. And look, we were mildly disappointed when the answer was not Beyoncé (all hail). But we got the next best answer: Michelle Obama (all hail)!
Chrisanta spoke about being inspired by her resilience and strength as a black woman. Michelle was able to stand in the space of ‘other’ and owned it visibly as a black woman in such a dignified and beautiful way. “Michelle Obama was the first of so many things, she acknowledges the footsteps of those who came before her. She remained visible in her own power, and did not get swallowed into her husband’s identity - she was never the president’s wife. She was always Michelle Obama and because she is self-aware in her identity could not be sucked into the vortex of power around her. I wanna have a drink with that woman!”
She spoke about relating to Michelle Obama’s stories of ‘firsts’ — being herself a first born, the first in her family and clan to earn a PhD — and now the first female CEO in her family and clan!
As soon as Dr Muli starts, we’ll be working our tails off to set up that dinner. Oh, to be a fly on that wall!
“For me engaging with an organisation like One Girl that is truly working towards ‘walking the talk’ in its principles, in its values, and in its engagement within itself makes me truly honored to be a part of such a dynamic organisation.”
“So put me in front of anyone, and I will shout from the mountain tops that the education of a girl can, does, and will continue to change and transform the lives of girls and their community just like it changed my mother’s and has changed mine.”
One Girl are entering an exciting new phase of our young life as a feminist force for change, so there couldn’t be a better time for Chrisanta to join our ranks and lead us onwards and upwards towards that world we’re chasing where every girl has access to education.
The honour and the privilege is ours to present One Girl CEO Dr Chrisanta Muli, for whom education changed everything.
— Méabh Friel, Communications Director
Please contact the One Girl team at firstname.lastname@example.org for interview requests or comments.