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Rakesh Rajani is a visiting fellow at the Center for Global Development while on sabbatical from the Ford Foundation. Until April 2018, he served as Ford Foundation’s Director of Civic Engagement and Government program in New York, where he was responsible for US and global work on voting rights, democratic participation, taxes and budgets, and protecting civic space.
From 2008-2014 he founded and served as the Head of Twaweza, an East African organization that promotes citizen agency, open government, and basic education. Rajani is also a founding member and past co-chair of the Open Government Partnership, which involves 75 countries covering more than two billion people. From 2001-2007 he served as the founding executive director of HakiElimu, Tanzania’s leading citizen engagement and education advocacy organization. He has also played key roles in establishing the Foundation for Civil Society, the Tanzania Media Fund, Policy Forum, and other civil society platforms in Tanzania.
He has consulted on issues related to education, human rights, and governance for Google.org, the Hewlett Foundation, Hivos, and UNICEF, among others. Rajani serves on several national and international boards and was a fellow of Harvard University from 1998-2013. He has written and edited over 400 papers and popular publications in both English and Swahili. Rajani holds a master’s degree in Theological Studies from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and English and American literature from Brandeis University.