Erin Kenny

Erin Kenney
Head of Technical Unit and Senior Advisor, Spotlight Initiative

Ms. Erin Kenny is the Head of the Technical Unit and Senior Adviser to the United Nations-European Union Spotlight Initiative to Eliminate Violence Against Women and Girls. In this role, Ms. Kenny oversees a 500 million Euro portfolio of programmes - the largest ever single investment in the eradication of violence against women and girls worldwide. Spotlight programmes comprehensively address violence against women by: transforming laws and policies; building inclusive institutions; changing negative social norms, attitudes and behaviors; building stronger services; enhancing data availability; and investing in women's movements. Under Ms. Kenny's leadership, the Initiative seeks to fully operationalize the #MeToo movement by bringing the issue of violence against women and girls out of the shadows and into the spotlight.

Prior to joining the Spotlight Initiative, Ms. Kenny was the Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Team Leader within the UN Population Fund's Humanitarian and Fragile Contexts Branch where she provided strategic and technical direction on all issues related to addressing gender-based violence in humanitarian contexts. Ms. Kenny managed a 22-person team of GBV experts to deliver high-quality GBV programming and facilitate inter-agency coordination, improve data collection and usage, set standards for field-level action, and ensure adequate and rapidly-available expert human resources before, during and after a crisis. 

In her over 20-year career, Ms. Kenny has led or supported GBV interventions in Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, DRC, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Haiti, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Macedonia, Malawi, Mali, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Palestine, the Philippines, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Thailand, Ukraine, Uganda, Yemen, and Zimbabwe. 

Ms. Kenny has worked with the International Rescue Committee and Child Fund International designing and implementing GBV and reproductive health programs in conflict and post-conflict settings, predominantly in Africa. Previous work with EngenderHealth focused on improving marginalized populations’ access to reproductive health and with the Open Society Foundations to connect refugees from Burma and the Former Yugoslavia to educational opportunities. Ms. Kenny has served as a consultant to the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, Family Health International, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, Save the Children US, and the Women’s Refugee Commission. 

Ms. Kenny holds a Master of Public Health from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Richmond. Ms. Kenny regularly lectures at universities around the world and was an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs from 2010 to 2015.

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