Lusako Munyenyembe is a program officer in Ford’s Southern Africa office, where she focuses on Civic Engagement and Government. She has over a decade of experience working with grassroots, intermediary, nonprofit, and governmental organizations to advocate for human rights and democratic principles through structural and policy change.

Prior to joining Ford, Lusako spent seven years as program manager of the Open Society Foundation’s democracy and governance portfolio, concentrating on inclusive participation, accountability, and information democracy. In addition to providing grants and technical advice to state-mandated democratic institutions, civil society, and grassroots movements, she built a coalition of organizations working to increase citizen engagement in political processes and development work. For this, Lusako worked with alternative media and investigative journalists to amplify the voices of historically excluded populations. She also helped community-based organizations and resident associations demand accountable governance. At the regional level, she supported organizations pushing for constitutional change in Zambia, supported electoral reform in Malawi and Zimbabwe, and improved access to information laws.

Earlier in her career, Lusako was the principal human rights officer at the Malawi Human Rights Commission, where she focused on promoting civil and political rights. She also worked for the United Nations Development Programme in Malawi, analyzing and advising on political and human rights issues, supporting governance, and strengthening civil society.

Lusako has a degree in sociology and public policy from the University of Malawi. In 2012, she received a Chevening Scholarship to pursue a masters in applied human rights (politics) from the University of York.