Ms. Francesta Elizabeth Farmer, 59, a lawyer and expert on African political and social development, died recently of pulmonary failure. Fran, as she was affectionately called by friends and family, dedicated her life's work to civil rights, international affairs and governance. After graduating from Harvard Law School, Fran worked at the Office for Civil Rights, and later at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Washington. She served as the executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus. Between 1984 and 2007, Fran lived primarily in Africa, where she had homes in Nairobi, Kenya, and in Abuja, Nigeria. While Fran resided in Africa, she worked and traveled throughout the African continent. She served as the regional technical adviser for Pathfinder International from 1993 to 2001. Her duties included directing maternal and child survival projects in east, west and southern Africa. Fran later worked at the National Democratic Institute as the regional director of programs for central and west Africa. During that time, she led the domestic monitoring efforts for Nigeria's 2003 elections. Fran's commitment to social justice and equality compelled her to work tirelessly with many agencies dedicated to improve the quality of life for many communities within African countries. Fran is the oldest daughter of Hilda Harrell Farmer and the late Fred E. Farmer Jr., both of Fayetteville. Fran is survived by her mother; daughter; son-in-law; two grandchildren; three sisters; and a host of aunts, uncles, cousins and many friends.
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