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Government Relations chief praises Chifamba appointment to Washington Office on Africa

[Episcopal News Service]  “With the appointment of Mhizha Edmund Chifamba as Executive Director of the Washington Office on Africa (WOA), Africa will have a strong new voice in Washington and the Episcopal Church a much-needed partner in its work,” said Maureen Shea, a member of the board of WOA and director of government relations for the Episcopal Church.

Chifamba began work on August 1 and replaces the Rev. Leon Spencer, who left WOA to become the first dean of the School of Ministry in the Diocese of North Carolina.

The Washington Office on Africa is a church-sponsored not-for-profit advocacy organization seeking to articulate and promote a just  American policy toward Africa. WOA – which was founded in 1972 in response to the movement for freedom from white-minority rule in  southern Africa – today monitors and advocates on congressional legislation and executive policy touching a host of issues crucial to Africa.

Chifamba comes to Washington with a powerful combination of life and work experience in his homeland, Zimbabwe, and study and professional work in North America.  He combines a rural background with training as a social worker at the University of Zimbabwe and postgraduate degrees as a Bachelor of Science in Human Services from Springfield College, Mass. and a Master of Arts in International Development Studies, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Canada.

As Chief Executive Officer of the Zimbabwe National Council of YMCAs, Chifamba brought into play skills which will be immensely useful in his work in Washington - building networks, advocacy teams and partnerships between grassroots organizations, the private sector, churches and faith-based organizations.

“Our work on the many issues of importance to our African sisters and brothers, and the Millennium Development Goals in particular, will be greatly enhanced with Mhizah’s expertise and commitment,” Shea added.  She also expressed gratitude to Jennifer Davis, who ably managed the office during the search and selection process.

Chifamba joins the Washington Office on Africa and WOA-PRI from Chicago, where he held senior positions at the Abraham Lincoln Center and the Westside Association for Community Action.

The Rev. Canon Benjamin Musoke-Lubega, who for the past five years has served as staff officer for Africa at the Episcopal Church Center in New York and is now with Trinity Wall Street, is also a WOA board member and served on the search committee for the new executive director.