At an early age, Murumba’s refugee parents, who hailed from Uganda, instilled a reverence for civic impact that would later define much of Murumba’s journey in the civic impact field.
Murumba continued his pursuit of civic impact ventures outside his childhood home and instead on the Amherst College campus. While Murumba did not directly participate in the workshops and conferences offered, he recalled that many opportunities were at his disposal. Attending Amherst College, he found “that the culture on campus was always deeply imbued with a sense that we should always be exploring opportunities [to] make a civic impact in our Amherst community and beyond.”
Murumba credits Amherst’s interdisciplinary nature as a principal component of his continued interest in civic impact. “Whether in casual dorm room chats, rigorous classroom debate, or formal events organized with guest speakers, there was rarely a day on campus where I wasn’t in conversation about how to be more civic-minded.”
Amherst’s welcoming discourse drew Murumba to classes that prompted him to think about how communities are formed and governed — what Murumba would call “civic engagement at its core.” He recalls some of the classes that fostered this knowledge: “Macroeconomic Policy,” “Law in Social and Political Thought,” “Norms, Rights and Justice,” and “Moral Problems.”
As a Law, Jurisprudence, & Social Thought (LJST) major, Murumba gained comfort and competence in dialogue on a broad range of topics, including the economy, philosophy, law, psychology, sociology, and popular culture.
Although Murumba engaged in opportunities that displayed his inherent need to nurture civic impact, Murumba chose a career in investment banking after graduating from Amherst. “I ultimately ended up on an institutional sales and trading floor at Deutsche Bank after graduation. I spent several years at Deutsche Bank before attending law school in 2010 and entering private practice. In all that time, I volunteered with several organizations that focused on civic engagement in areas like education equality, diversity and inclusion, and fair housing, but I did not see a path to full-time work in any of those areas.”
After leaving Deutsche Bank and graduating from Harvard Law School in 2013, Murumba sought to join a private practice. Through a law school classmate, he learned about The Global Fund and its goal to eradicate the three diseases by 2030.
The Global Fund is an international financing organization to mobilize multilateral resources to defeat HIV, TB, and malaria. Over its 20-year existence, the Global Fund partnership has invested more than US$55 billion, saving 44 million lives and reducing the combined death rate from the three diseases by more than half in the countries where we invest.
Doing What He Loves
Initially, Murumba recalls the Global Fund was hesitant to hire him because he lacked exposure to the public health field. “It took some creative framing to convince the Global Fund General Counsel that I had enough transferable skills to move from corporate law to the public health field, but I got the offer to join the Global Fund in January 2019 and have loved my work ever since.” Jumping in with both feet, he joined the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria as Legal Counsel in 2018.
Murumba’s primary role as Legal Counsel is to ensure that Global Fund investments are made and safeguarded within the bounds of the law and our various institutional policies. When describing his work, he remarks on the varied nature of his career. “On some days, this means negotiating bilateral and multilateral agreements with funding recipients to govern their use of our funding. On other days, this means reviewing recently issued international sanctions to ensure that our funding is compliant.”
Murumba credits much of his current success to “the interdisciplinary comfort and competence” he acquired at Amherst, which he utilizes daily in his work as Legal Counsel for the Global Fund. “I may be in a morning meeting discussing a legal framework for mobilizing domestic resources for public health in a particular country context, followed by an afternoon conference call about the implications of U.S. sanctions for Global Fund financed public health interventions in a sanctioned country.”
While it was only recently that Murumba found a way to manifest his reverence for civic impact in his career directly, he already finds the “diversity and pace of this work deeply rewarding.” His work with the Global Fund allows him to “draw a straight line between the work [he is] doing and the people and communities impacted by the three diseases.”
This attitude can be attributed to the initial endeavors of the organization: “At the Global Fund, we are constantly asking how our work can help ensure a healthier, safer, more equitable future for all, particularly for the most vulnerable populations,” Murumba said.
Advice to Students
Upon reflecting on his career journey in civic impact, Murumba wants to make the implications apparent to those considering a career in the field. “Careers in civic engagement are varied and not always as clearly delineated as some other careers. Do not be daunted by that fact. Inevitably, many careers and life paths take unexpected twists and turns. Trust that the lessons learned in the classroom and the Amherst network during your time on campus and long after you graduate will aptly equip you to navigate those twists and turns. Keep an open mind and pursue work and civic engagement more generally that excites you. It will pay off if you commit to pursuing the kind of career that makes you want to hop out of the bed in the morning and get to it. It took me many years to figure that out. Also, don’t worry if you don’t know what that kind of work looks like for you yet,” Murumba said.
For more details on workshops and initiatives, you can participate at Amherst College, and schedule an appointment with the Government & Nonprofits Program Director, Micah Owino. If you wish to meet with an advisor schedule an appointment through Handshake. If you have technical difficulties, please call the Loeb Center at 413-542-2265.