Winnie Kiiru

Executive Director of the Mpala Research Centre

As Mpala’s chief executive, Winnie oversees the leadership, planning, development, and management of Mpala’s research, education, and outreach efforts. 

Until recently, Winnie was the Director of Government Relations for the Elephant Protection Initiative, a coalition of the 21 African countries where the majority of the world’s elephants live.  She is also a lecturer at the School of Biological Sciences, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.
Previously, Winnie worked as Senior Technical Advisor to the UK-based non-profit Stop Ivory.  She worked with African governments to improve the management, storage, and disposal of government held ivory stocks.  Earlier in her career, she was the founding Director of the Kenya office of the Born Free Foundation.  Winnie holds a bachelor’s degree from Kenyatta University, a master’s degree from the University of Zimbabwe, and a doctorate in Biodiversity Management from the University of Kent.
Winnie has made a lifelong commitment to civic service, having served as a trustee of the Kenya Wildlife Service and currently serving on the board of the Wildlife Research Training Institute.  She is the chair of the board of the Friends of the Karura Forest and a trustee of the Amboseli Trust for Elephants.  She is also a founding member of Women for the Environment Africa, which aims to remedy the gender imbalance in leadership in African environmentalism and conservation.