Glanis Changachirere (1983- )

Logo-Institute for Young Women's Development
Logo-Institute for Young Women's Development
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Glanis Changachirere is a Zimbabwean feminist, human rights activist, and scholar. Changachirere is the founding Director of the Institute for Young Women Development (IYWD) and the founding Coordinator of the African Women’s Leader Forum (AWLF). She received a master’s degree in international relations (Gender) and Politics from the University of Birmingham in Great Britain and a master’s degree in public policy and governance from Africa University in Mutare, Zimbabwe.

Born in 1983 in the Mashonaland Central Province of Zimbabwe, she often had difficulties paying her school fees and was also targeted due to her involvement in the country’s ongoing student movement. While enrolled in school, she was the only woman to hold a position in the Student Representatives’ Council. As a young girl who wanted to pursue her schooling, she had to fight against her family’s decision to marry her off and discontinue her education.

Motivated by these experiences, Changachirere, at age 26, founded the Institute for Young Women’s Development (IYWD) in 2009, a grassroots organization that fosters growth and leadership for women and girls. The group is notable for its strong efforts to dismantle gender-based violence, child marriage, and other harmful practices often associated with the patriarchal system across Zimbabwe. The IYWD advocates for women’s participation in public policy and the electoral process, as it has also found ways for women to hold positions in local government through its work.

Changachirere’s extensive work for gender equality and women’s rights has often landed her in dangerous situations. She has received death threats and harassment from individuals who are opposed to her work. Nonetheless, her advocacy work, which mainly centers on marginalized women who come from rural and mining communities, has reached at least 350,000 women through educational campaigns. The group is currently working with both Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA) and the Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC) at the national level to try and introduce the Model Gender Equality Bill (MGEB), which would protect women’s rights and work for equal representation in the county.

Changachirere’s work has been recognized globally, resulting in her receiving awards such as the 30 Under 30 Democracy Award from the National Endowment for Democracy (2013), the Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellowship (2016), the Chevening Scholarship (2018, 2019), and the Communications and Social Media Award from St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, Canada. In 2015, she became a Steering Committee Member of the World Movement for Democracy, an international human rights network. In March 2022, she also joined the Zimbabwean chapter of the Steering Committee, an advisory board to the UN Women-supported African Women Leaders Network.