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The Client

Mama Cash is the oldest international women’s fund in the world. It was founded in 1983 by a group of feminist activists using the money from one women’s inheritance. Mama Cash works to ensure that feminist collective action led by women, girls and trans and intersex people is resourced, supported and connected within and across and social movements.

Key Objectives

Two co-Executive Director positions were created in 2022 to coincide with a leadership transition. The two leaders hold overall strategic and operational responsibility for executing Mama Cash’s vision, and the recruitment provided a unique opportunity for two leaders with a deep commitment to feminist social change to engage in shared leadership. There was already a co-ED for the Global South, so Oxford HR’s engagement was focused on the recruitment for the co-ED based in Amsterdam.


  • Executive Search
  • Co-Leadership appointments
Home Based Women Workers Federation Pakistan

Oxford HR placed Saranel Benjamin into the role. Saranel has nearly thirty years’ experience working to advance gender and racial justice. She began her career in South Africa working in the trade union movement where she launched the first School for Trade Union Women. For the past ten years, she has worked in the United Kingdom in the international NGO (INGO) sector. She has worked at War on Want, Action Aid UK, and, most recently, Oxfam Great Britain as Head of Partnerships.

Saranel says that working for Mama Cash is a ‘long-standing dream come true.’

Saranel’s co-Executive Director, Happy Mwende Kinyili, noted:

I am so excited to begin the journey of leading Mama Cash together with Saranel to bring even more and better money to the feminist movements that we love. Our world today desperately needs feminist visions and realities, and Saranel and I are ready to lead Mama Cash to ensure that resources reach the feminist groups, initiatives, and movements that are making liberatory feminist visions a reality.

Happy Mwende KinyiliCo-Executive Director, Mama Cash

Mama Cash chose a co-leading model to demonstrate the organisation’s globality; illustrating that they have well-integrated colleagues worldwide, including at the organisation’s senior leadership level. Mama Cash’s departing co-ED reflected on the model:

“Our new cross-border co-ED leadership model is an exciting next step in our “share/ing power” journey, and marks an important moment in our organisational evolution, too – just in time for our 40th birthday! As I leave Mama Cash after almost ten years, I’m delighted to know it will be led by this inspiring and capable feminist duo.”

Read more on the Mama Cash website.

Mama Cash is a great example of a well-functioning democratic organization. In the beginning this takes a little more time because you have to coordinate with more bodies - who also have to reach an agreement with their respective departments and teams - but in the end the process of the selection and appointment of the new Co-Executive Director ran even more smoothly!

Christel EijkholtLead Consultant, Oxford HR