AIDS Accountability International Proudly Announces Ricki Kgositau as New Executive Director

First International NGO with a Young African Trans Woman as Executive Director

Brief version

  Ricki Kgositau AIDS Accountability InternationalAAI has announced the appointment of Ricki Kgositau, a young African trans woman and respected human rights defender as its new Executive Director. Ricki brings a wealth of professional training and experience on legal & policy reform, sexual and reproductive health and rights, human rights and LGBTIQA+ issues amongst other areas. 30 year old Ricki’s approach to her work is from the perspective of intersectionalities and she embodies AAI’s principles of Dedication and Participation as a collaborative leader. Rodrigo Garay, Founder of AAI, proudly made the announcement today after a rigorous six-month recruitment process that determined the new ED for the innovative think tank. AAI is known best for using scorecards to hold leaders accountable, and will be the first non-profit organisation working globally to be led by a young African trans woman. ______________________________________________________________________________________________  

Full version

  This morning, Rodrigo Garay, Founder of AIDS Accountability International (AAI) and Chair of its Board, after a six-month recruitment process announced that Ricki Kgositau will be the new Executive Director of the international think tank that uses accountability to improve human rights and social justice for marginalised people.

Training and Experience

30-year-old Ricki is best known for her work as a trans human rights activist and is currently Executive Director at GenderDynamiX, a close partner of AAI. Ricki completed her graduate studies in International Relations, with a specialty in International Human Rights Law & Diplomacy. Ricki is also a 2016 Mandela-Washington Fellow, University of California-Berkeley (Goldman School of Public Policy in the USA). Ricki also recently won the Other Foundation’s Feather Award for Role Model of the Year and the overall award The African Feather of the Year.   Ricki is a leader in using litigation to defend constitutional rights as well, and currently has a landmark case seeking legal gender recognition and gender marker change before the Botswana High Court. This has given her experience in strategic impact litigation and the development of advocacy strategy in the 7 years the case has been ongoing.   Ricki greatly contributed to the founding of the first transgender regional collective known as the Southern Africa Trans Forum (SATF) which is a nascent Forum of over seventeen trans led and trans focused non-government organisations (NGOs) in over 12 Southern African countries meant to elevate a trans agenda at a regional level.   Ricki is also currently the Programme Director for a Global Fund 3-year regional program called KP-REACH (January 2016 – December 2018) which is operating in 8 Southern African countries aimed at enhancing the capacity of the SATF to meaningfully advocate for the inclusion of key populations on the HIV & TB response in partnership with 3 other key populations networks and communities being; AMSHeR (MSM), ASWA (Sex Workers) and CAL (WSW). This work exposed Ricki to the Global Fund Country Coordinating Mechanisms as well as national AIDS coordinating bodies in the various countries, a key part of AAI’s current work.


Ricki’s brings a clear understanding and passion for working on what she calls “an intersectionalities of struggles”. She is devoted to engaging with the various communities and movements that AAI has always served, especially youth, women, girls, sex workers, sexual and reproductive health and rights, LGBTI people, people coming through prisons, criminalised people and survivors of crime in Africa. She brings a dedication to advancing the voices of the people that we serve and is thus a natural choice as leader for our excellent team. As somebody who is from these communities we know that Ricki can speak with conviction and knowledge in a legitimate way that will in turn advance the contribution AAI makes to transparency, accountability, human rights and social justice.  

Previous work with AAI

Ricki has an intimate understanding of the work of AAI for years now; having engaged on the review process of the Maputo Plan of Action led by AAI back in 2011/12 whilst working in Botswana, also having brought AAI on board as a strategic partner to GDX and the trans movement, more closely the SATF, that has seen us jointly publish the first trans diverse situation analysis on the African continent in February 2017 at the Third Trans Conference. Ricki joined the AAI Board in October 2016 and has been an engaged and formidable support to the organisation since then.  

First International NGO with an African Trans Woman as Executive Director

AAI prides itself on being an international organisation that is led by Africans, and now to be the first non-LGBTIQA+ organisation to have a trans person as ED. One of our key principles is participation and Ricki’s appointment, a young trans woman from Botswana shows our commitment to be led by the communities and movements we are a part of. All these identities also make her an intersectional leader who will be able to connect well with AAI’s various partners and community.   Ricki fully embodies our other principles: Dedication to the cause, the movement and the people we serve, a commitment to Human Rights, Transparency and Accessibility (AAI continuously strives to make our research processes accessible and our material user-friendly for advocacy).   Ricki will take up her new position on 1 February 2018.   Please join us in sending Ricki a very warm welcome and congratulations on her appointment.    

Media Contacts

  Rodrigo Garay: Rodrigo at aidsaccountability dot org +46 70 631 93 07   Phillipa Tucker: Phillipa at aidsaccountability dot org +32 4 73 71 82 16      

About AAI

  Rodrigo Garay, founder of AIDS Accountability International, was inspired to establish an independent organisation to hold leaders accountable after witnessing an event at the International AIDS Conference in 2000. 11-year old Nkosi Johnson was addressing the delegates and asking the government of South Africa to provide anti-retroviral drugs to mothers and children; Rodrigo was disappointed to see political leaders leaving the conference rather than listen to this cry for help.   Having worked in the financial sector, Rodrigo knew the power of independent ratings and in 2005 he founded AAI, as an independent think-tank to hold leaders to account by innovative means such as publishing scorecards and doing needs-based research and advocacy.   Since then, AAI has developed into a lean and original organisation delivering out-of-the-box thinking, producing evidence-based and credible information, and making it accessible to a wide range of users for the purposes of advocacy and accountability. Our work began with the mission to follow up on commitments made by governments in response to the HIV epidemic, and has since expanded to include sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), malaria, tuberculosis and non-communicable diseases, LGBTI rights and social justice and the rights of marginalised groups such as youth, prisoners and sex workers.   AAI is now an independent research and advocacy think tank holding leaders accountable for the commitments they have made to respond to health and human rights. We believe that stronger leadership is required in order to ensure that universal human rights are a reality for all. You can find out more at   AAI has a small team of human rights activists who focus on identifying gaps that need prioritising, using innovation to solve problems and developing strategic interventions to effect change.  

What we seek to achieve


AAI’s vision is a world where strong and accountable leadership permeates all levels of society to ensure effective responses to health challenges.  


We do this by increasing transparency, promoting dialogue and supporting action for an improved response.  


  Dedication:  Our wholehearted commitment to the cause and to people affected by the lack of the provision of quality, affordable, accessible and acceptable health care informs all our work.   Human Rights:  AAI is committed to human rights for all. No exceptions. Our research and advocacy is intended to contribute to the fulfilment of human rights for all including women’s and girls’ rights, the rights of key groups such as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, sex workers and injecting drug users.   Participation:  AAI consults broadly with stakeholders and collaborates widely on research and advocacy. Our work is done in a collaborative manner, always.   Transparency:  Without transparency there can be no accountability. AAI is transparent about what we do, how we do it and who funds us. We advocate for others to be transparent too.   Accessibility:  AAI continuously strives to make our research processes accessible and our material user-friendly for advocacy.    

General Contact Details

  Cape Town Rating Centre 102 Greenmarket Place 54 Shortmarket Street Cape Town 8000, South Africa Tel: +27 (0)21 424 2057   Sweden Secretariat C/O Djurskyddet Sverige Hammarby Fabriksväg 25 120 30 Stockholm, Sweden   Brussels Office 4th Floor, Rue de l'Arbre Benit 44 Ixelles, 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium Tel: +32 (0) 4 73 71 82 16   Twitter: @AAI_Aidswatch   Facebook: AIDS Accountability International