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Born in Kenya, Dr. Roselyn Akombe has worked as a teacher, civil society activist and managed national elections.  Roselyn’s first employment before joining the University of Nairobi was with St. Luke’s Ekware Secondary School.  It is during this period that her political views were formed as she observed the inequalities in the society between the education opportunities she had been privileged to have in comparison to her students in this community- funded institution. She later taught English and Literature at Kebirigo Secondary School, Kiabonyoru High School and Nyabururu Girls High School.

At the University of Nairobi, Roselyn joined the student movement and led demonstrations to protect Karura forest, demand for a new constitution, and denounce police brutality during the autocratic regime of Daniel Arap Moi.



After completing her studies at the University of Nairobi, Roselyn was hired by Prof. Wanjiku Kabira at the Collaborative Centre for Gender and Development. Under the mentorship of Prof. Kabira, worked on the Gender and the National Budget program, the gender and democracy program for increasing representation of women in politics and coordinated the drafting of  the Affirmative Action Bill, whose motion was successfully passed in Parliament.  Roselyn also worked on gender mainstreaming in the national constitution and political parties. This entailed lobbying for participation of women in the constitutional review commission where the Affirmative Action policy was adopted.


Dr. Akombe moved to the United States in 2000 to pursue her graduate studies. During that period, she worked with the Women Rising Inc, the African Union and the United Nations. She returned to Kenya in 2017 to serve as a Commissioner with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission where she was described by media as a fresh face, and spokesperson of the Commission. Dr. Akombe resigned on 17 October 2017 following the nullification of the presidential result citing government interference in the management of the election.



Dr Akombe began her international civil service career in 2003 with an internship at the African Union as she was finalizing her doctorate degree at Rutgers University. Her interest in the African Union was inspired by her doctorate research on trade creation and trade diversion in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). She was later hired as an Economist at the African Union.

In 2006, Dr. Akombe was offered a two-week contract to join the United Nations as a political affairs officer to work on Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s 10-year capacity building programme for the African Union.  She rose through the ranks, serving as a senior adviser to the Under-Secretary-General  for Political Affairs and later on as the first black person to serve as the Chief of Policy and Guidance at the Policy and Mediation Division at the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs.  She also served in 2015 in Burundi as a Senior Electoral Affairs Officer. In addition to leading various flagship programmes such as the Joint UNDP-DPPA Programme for Building National Capacities for Conflict Prevention, she was involved in establishing several of the UN missions including in Libya, Somalia, Syria, Great Lakes, West Africa, Central Africa, among others. 

Dr. Roselyn Akombe serves as the Chief of Peacebuilding Strategy and Partnerships at the United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs in New York. In this pivotal role, she spearheads a dynamic team within the Peacebuilding Support Office dedicated to bolstering the UN's capabilities in advancing peacebuilding and sustaining peace worldwide. Her team is instrumental in developing robust data standards and analytical tools tailored to the intricate landscape of peacebuilding, facilitating informed advocacy and strategic planning at the grassroots level. Additionally, under her leadership, the team manages the joint Secretariat on Youth, Peace, and Security (YPS), collaborating closely with UNFPA and the Office of the Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth to harmonize UN initiatives on the YPS agenda. Dr. Akombe is at the forefront of efforts to enhance coherence and collaboration across the UN system, particularly within the UN Development System, to fortify peacebuilding endeavors through cohesive strategies, policies, partnerships, and guidance.


Central to her responsibilities is the implementation of the 2017 UN World Bank Partnership Framework for Crisis-Affected Situations. Dr. Akombe orchestrates seamless coordination with UN agencies to provide invaluable liaison, advisory, and programmatic support to UN Resident Coordinators and field missions. By fostering strategic alliances with the World Bank across the humanitarian-development-peacebuilding nexus, she endeavors to amplify the collective impact of both institutions in preventing crises and fostering sustainable peace.


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