IWDA welcomes Nayomi Kannangara as CEO


The International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA) is thrilled to announce Nayomi Kannangara as our new Chief Executive Officer.

Nayomi brings a wealth of experience and expertise to IWDA, having built a distinguished career in international development. Her most recent role was Head of Global Programs at Save the Children Australia, based in Melbourne, where she demonstrated a strong commitment to feminist principles and a proven track record in driving impactful change.

Nayomi has seamlessly transitioned from a technical specialist in gender and child protection to a transformative leader. Her dedication to the rights of girls and women is unwavering, evident throughout her career. As a passionate advocate for diversity, inclusion, and gender equality, Nayomi actively participates in sector-wide transformations within the Australian international development community, particularly in the crucial area of decolonisation of aid.

Her unique perspective stems from years of lived experience in Asia and her work across the region and globally, combined with her position as a Woman of Colour in leadership within the international development sector and a migrant woman from the Global South. This invaluable perspective strengthens decision-making at the highest levels.

“I am eager to contribute my energy, perspective, and voice to IWDA’s impactful journey, collaborating with women and girls across Asia and the Pacific,” Nayomi said. “Together, we aim to strengthen the global feminist movement and advance our vision of gender equality for all. I look forward to working alongside many powerful feminists and gender equality advocates including IWDA’s staff, partners, supporters and allies.”

Nayomi has over two decades of impactful leadership experience in the non-profit sector, marked by a consistent focus on results, strategic growth, fostering innovation, and diversifying donor partnerships. Prior to her role at Save the Children Australia, she honed her expertise across diverse organisations including Save the Children International, Plan Australia, Oxfam, and ChildFund US, holding key technical and leadership positions in each organisation. This strategic acumen was complemented by her unwavering dedication to driving organisational cultural shifts towards greater gender and diversity inclusivity.

Nayomi’s academic foundation is equally impressive. She first arrived in Australia from Sri Lanka on a prestigious AusAid scholarship for academic excellence as a young adult. Nayomi holds a Bachelor’s degree in Arts from Monash University of Australia and a Master’s degree in International Development from Deakin University of Australia.

We warmly welcome Nayomi as she leads IWDA through the next phase of our herstory and lends her unwavering support to feminist movements across the region and the world.