The Board of Directors of Diamond Development Initiative International has named Dorothée Gizenga as its first executive director. The appointment will take effect on March 17.
Gizenga, a native the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is a Canadian who holds degrees in chemistry and economics. She has worked with the provincial government of Ontario and the Canadian Federal Government, and has worked extensively with community organizations in Canada and Africa. Since 2003, she has worked with Partnership Africa Canada, an international NGO focusing on policy and research in the areas of peace, human security, and sustainable development.
At Partnership Africa Canada, she was responsible for supporting the implementation of projects related to the Kimberley Process, the International Conference for Peace in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, and the prevention of violence against women in conflict zones. She also took part in the creation and development of the Diamond Development Initiative.
Her experience includes policy development, international negotiation, evaluation, project design, management and coordination, and working with disadvantaged and marginalized groups. She speaks English, French, Portuguese, and Russian.
“Dorothée brings a huge range of experience and skills to the Diamond Development Initiative, and we are very much looking forward to working with her as she takes up this challenging position,” said Ian Smillie, DDI Board of Directors chairman.
More than a million African artisanal diamond diggers and their families live and work in absolute poverty, outside the formal economy, in countries struggling to recover from the ravages of war. The Diamond Development Initiative is an effort to address their problems, bringing NGOs, governments, and the private sector together in a common effort that aims to convert diamonds from a fuel for war into an engine for development. This will be achieved through a mix of field projects, policy dialogue, education, and public engagement. DDI International is registered as a nonprofit charitable organization in the United States.