From left to right: Dr. Ramatu Bangura, Chernor Bah, Rosa Bransky

Announcing a New Leadership Transition at Purposeful and CRIF

5 min readMar 11, 2024


As many of us gather in New York for the 68th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women — to hold the line and advance the agenda of all our people struggling for justice and liberation — we are thrilled to announce a new co-leadership transition at Purposeful and the Children’s Rights Innovation Fund (CRIF).

Many years ago, Rosa Bransky, Ramatu Bangura, and Chernor Bah began working together to build a field that would robustly resource girl and young feminists transnationally. During that time, they have each moved in and out of different institutions, and carried a shared political commitment with them as they have moved through this work and this world. In 2016, Rosa and Chernor co-founded Purposeful — the world’s first Africa rooted global hub for girls organising and activism, with seed funding from the NoVo Foundation. Ramatu was their first Programme Officer and, together with the team at NoVo, worked closely with Purposeful to build an offering that could truly match the scale, power, and possibility of girl-led organising.

As the daughter of Sierra Leonean immigrants to the United States, supporting Purposeful was a consolidation of Ramatu’s profound family and community ties with her political belief in building power with girls. Ramatu went on to join the Purposeful board as she transitioned from private philanthropy to become the Founding Director of CRIF, with a mandate to transform how the children’s rights sector engages with, and funds child and youth activists. From its earliest days, CRIF partnered closely with Purposeful to move money to young activists in ways that traditional intermediaries and fiscal sponsors simply could not do.

When Chernor announced that he would step down from Purposeful to become Minister of Information and Civic Education in the Government of Sierra Leone, we began a search for a new Co-CEO to join Rosa in stewarding the organisation into its next phase. After an executive search that spanned many months and Continents, we are thrilled to announce that Ramatu Bangura will become the next Co-CEO. Rosa shares;

“Building this organisation with Chernor these last nine years has been the privilege of a lifetime. Moving into new leadership with a new person in an organisation like Purposeful was never going to be a functional task. At the core of Purposeful is a set of friendships built around a deep love and a deep shared commitment to liberation. Friendships rooted in the very best traditions of our movements — a feminist politic, good music, a deep respect for deep thinking and perhaps more of revolutionary practice. Friendship that demands that we dance together as we do this work. For me — and for Purposeful — there was never any doubt that the only dancer, thinker, lover, mover for this task was Ramatu. Words can’t really explain how thrilled I am that she said yes, and how excited I am for all we are about to do together.”

Co-Leadership Built on a Shared Political Commitment

As Co-CEOs, Rosa and Ramatu will share leadership of Purposeful, the umbrella organisation that will include CRIF. Together, they have long shared a political project and commitment to feminist leadership, ending violence against girls and young women, and dismantling dominant racist, classist and colonial power structures. Both Rosa and Ramatu began their careers separately, in partnership with and in support of marginalised girls and young women in settings that include social services, schools, drug treatment centres, and after-school programmes, across the range of harms and injustices that girls face regularly. With a deep fluency in working together practically and politically, the foundations for formal co-leadership across Continents and institutions has been strengthened with each year that has passed.

Their coming together in leadership of Purposeful and CRIF, is rooted in many years of sisterhood and comradeship, and transcends two individual leaders and two individual organisations. Together, they aim to advance a tangible body of work that pushes at the boundaries of the formal girl, child, and youth- centred philanthropic and programmatic spaces to impact the flow of resources to girls and young women and the broader youth movement.

Purposeful and CRIF Joining Forces
As both a funder and learning organisation, CRIF is committed to solidarity with existing and emerging child and youth movements, with a role to “rally our people” — adult advocates, funders, and policy makers — to move better and more funding to youth organising. What’s Possible, a pooled fund and year-long experiential learning institute, launched in February 2024, exemplifies this commitment to cultivate courageous and collaborative spaces for the children and youth-focused philanthropic sectors.

With a shared infrastructure — particularly with operational and administrative capacity — the teams will share space and collaborate to advance their respective work. The influence needed to advance a more liberatory vision for children’s rights requires specific relationships within the children’s rights space, which Ramatu will continue to steward with support and increased capacity from Rosa.

In the coming together of leadership and organisations, Purposeful and CRIF will challenge the artificial silos and divisions between feminist and children’s rights, that have not served girls’ or youth organising spaces, in order to model another way forward. Our new Co-CEOs will continue to look forward to further opportunities to dream together beyond the coming together of these institutions. Stay tuned!

Purposeful’s Co-CEOs

Dr. Ramatu Bangura led the design and inception, as Founding Director, of the Children’s Rights Innovation Fund (CRIF). Prior to CRIF, Ramatu served as a Programme Officer for the NoVo Foundation’s Advancing Adolescent Girls’ Rights Initiative, where she funded work to advance the rights, leadership and safety of adolescent girls in the United States and in the Global South. Ramatu has spent the last 25 years engaging in organising, advocacy, and research on a host of issues impacting transnational girls, including early and forced marriage, sexual violence, trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation, and educational access for English Language Learners in the United States and Central America. Ramatu earned both a Masters of Education (EdM) and Doctorate of Education (EdD) from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Rosa Bransky is a feminist activist, strategist and researcher. She founded Purposeful at the height of the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone with her long time friend and co-conspirator Chernor. Rosa began working in front-line social services with women and girls in the UK close to 20 years ago, with a focus on survivors of early childhood sexual abuse, sex trafficking, and the criminal justice system. The many years she spent on night shifts in homeless hostels, on needle exchange buses and in local court-rooms battling systems on behalf of young people laid the foundations for the work she does today. Rosa has gone on to work with a range of social justice practitioners, bi- and multilateral agencies and private foundations. She holds a Master of Arts in Social Anthropology from Edinburgh University.

To find out more about Purposeful and CRIF visit and




A feminist movement-building hub that amplifies girls’ voices, resources their resistance, builds solidarity and catalyses collaborative philanthropy.