Mr. Hassan Shire is a Somali-Canadian Pan-African human rights defender. He was the founder and co-director of Dr. Ismail Jumale Human Rights Centre and Chairperson of Peace and Human Rights Network in Mogadishu, before he was forced to flee his native Somalia.
In 2005, Hassan founded the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project serves as the Chairperson of the Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network. He also served as the Chairperson of the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network. (EHAHRD-Net), a position which he held until February 2017, when he declined to stand for re-election after his second term ended.
For a number of years, Hassan has served as the coordinator of the African Human Rights Defenders Project at Centre for Refugee Studies at York University, Canada. He also engages actively as the Chairperson of Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, UN Human Rights Council, and Community of Democracies. In addition he is an active member of the World Movement for Democracy, Board member of Centre for Civil and Political Rights (Geneva) and Bar-Kulan Radio (Mogadishu) among others.
Hassan taught Political Science and Economics at the University of Delhi and M.A.Economics at JMI New Delhi before developing scholarly/practitioners interest in International and Regional Human Rights Defenders Protection Mechanism at York University, Canada.
Ms. Memory Bandera joined DefendDefenders as the Director of Programs and Administration. She is in charge of programs, and deals extensively with organisational development and human resources management. Memory is a US trained Zimbabwean who specialises in International Development.
Before joining DefendDefenders, she worked with the International Law Institute-African Centre for Legal Excellence (ILI-ACLE) where she was responsible for coordinating the design and implementation of seminars and supporting the Institute’s technical assistance projects and advisory services. Prior to joining ILI-ACLE, Memory was the Regional Program Coordinator for East Africa with Youth Action International, and also worked with the Marketing Science Institute in Boston, USA as a Publications, Research, and Membership Coordinator. Memory is also a founding member of the Girl Child Network Zimbabwe (1999); co-founder of Tariro: Hope and Health for Zimbabwe’s Orphans (2003); and Girl Child Network Uganda (2009). Memory received her Master of Science in International Relations from Suffolk University in Boston, Massachusetts and a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Complex organisations from Mount Holyoke College, in Massachusetts, USA.
Mr. Joseph Bikanda is the coordinator of Pan African Human Rights Defenders Network since October 2011.
Joseph Has a Masters Degree in International law and worked as Protection assistant with Front Line International foundation of HRDs, Legal Officer at the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights; Assistant to the Chairperson of the African Commission; Acting Coordinator for the activities of the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa, and Technical Assistant to the Committee of the African Commission on the Protection of the Rights of People Living with HIV, and those at risk, vulnerable and affected by HIV in Africa. He was delegated also in the preparation of the 30 years anniversary of the African Charter at the secretariat of the African Commission.
Mr. Neil Blazevic is the Manager of the Technology and Human Rights Defenders Program and dedicates his time to making technology work for the purposes of human rights defenders.
When not planning and giving digital safety training for regionally based human rights defenders, Neil can be found tinkering with or implementing documentation systems, tweaking internal security practices, and enabling web presence for civil society organisations. Neil additionally has a research background with several publication credits to his name available in the DefendDefenders library.
Ludivine coordinates DefendDefenders’ Great Lakes Region project. She holds a Master’s degree in International Relations from the Political Science Institute of Aix-en-Provence and a Master’s degree in Human Rights and Humanitarian Action from the Paris School of International Affairs (Sciences Po Paris).
She most recently worked at Handicap International, a humanitarian NGO, on emergency preparedness and emergency response mechanisms. Prior to that, she interned at Amnesty International Canada, working on various issues such as the situation of prisoners of conscience, women’s rights or aboriginal rights. This experience cemented her commitment to and passion for human rights work. She also conducted research and published articles on migration issues. She is fluent in both French and English.
Mr. Alex Lukoye joined DefendDefenders as Finance Officer in April 2010. He is a Certified Public Accountant CPA (U) and holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) degree from the University of Makerere.
Alex is experienced in financial management and has considerable experience working in the development and human rights field in the Eastern Africa region having worked in Uganda and Sudan. Before joining DefendDefenders, he was working with the Uganda Red Cross Society as a Regional Accountant prior to which he worked as a Country Accounting Manager for Action Africa Help International, in both the Uganda and Sudan country programmes. Alex also worked as Finance Officer for African Development and Emergency Organisation with their refugee project in Uganda.
Ms. Clementine de Montjoye is the Advocacy and Research Manager at DefendDefenders. She supervises and manages the organisation’s regional and international research and advocacy efforts. Clementine most recently worked at DefendDefenders on a six-month research project funded by the Open Society Foundations.
She was the researcher and author of DefendDefenders’s 2015 report “2015: Burundi at a turning point”. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from King’s College London and Master’s’ degrees from the University of Oxford and Sciences Po – Paris School of International Affairs. She is fluent in both English and French.
Her interest and commitment to human rights was stirred through a number of internships involving human rights and community based interventions. She interned with Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) which exposed her to human rights issues, did voluntary work with the Local Government/Sub-county in Kapchorwa District which involved community sensitization and interned with Lweza Rehabilitation Centre for people with disabilities, a factor that later formed the basis of her dissertation paper.
At DefendDefenders, Nuruh assists the program staff in project implementation, financial management and monitoring and grant reporting.
Ms. Tabitha Netuwa is the Protection and Security Management Manager at DefendDefenders
where she oversees the security and protection programme which works with HRDs at risk to ensure that they receive the necessary support to overcome the challenges that they face. The programme also undertakes training HRDs in security management to ensure that they are equipped with the skills to put in place measures to mitigate the risks that arise from their work.
Tabitha has been involved in trial observation missions in cases where HRDs are facing legal challenges as a result of their human rights work. She has also been involved in assessment of the situation of HRDs, engaged with different stakeholders at national, regional and international levels to ensure protection of HRDs. She has previously worked with refugees and displaced persons.
Ms. Jennifer Orochi Aciko joined DefendDefenders/ Pan-African Human rights defenders Network (PAHRDN) as the Initiatives Fellow in October 2015 and 6 months later became the Initiatives Officer. Her responsibilities includes supporting the development of programs, work plans, implementation of plans, monitoring and reporting for PAHRDN and DefendDefenders.
Over the last years, she has built a professional background in development work with a focus on Organisational Administration and Grants Management. Her competences and accomplishments in this area span across the fields of organisational development, Grants Administration and Management and is able to demonstrate excellent working knowledge of procedures, rules and regulations appropriate to working with grants with proven ability to ensure compliance.
Previously she has worked with Ministry of East African Community (MEACA) Technical Support Unit Project (TSU) as a Program’s Assistant and before that with Regional Center for Quality Health Care and School of Public Health CDC Fellowship Program as a program Officer – Makerere University School of Public Health) in charge of Grants administration. She pursued her 1st bachelor’s Degree from Makerere University (BA Arts (ARTS) and specialized in Organisational Management and later a post graduate Diploma in Public Administration and Management at Uganda Management Institute- Kampala (UMI).
Mr. Janvier Hakizimana joined East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project as a volunteer in 2008 and later an intern. He became a Protection Associate in January 2013 and was promoted to the post of a Senior Protection Associate in 2015.
Janvier holds Bachelor of Education from the National University of Rwanda, Master of Arts in Human Rights and Development from Kampala International University, and a certificate in International Humanitarian Law (IHL) from Respect University-Canada. He is currently pursuing doctoral studies in Human Rights at Makerere University. He worked as a teacher both in Rwanda and Uganda, a Human rights, Research and Documentation Officer at Club UNESCO in the Faculty of Education (CUFU in French) at the National University of Rwanda and an Executive Secretary and bailiff in the Ministry of Local Government of Rwanda. He worked closely with Commission Nationale Rwandaise de l’UNESCO (Rwanda National Commission for UNESCO) and Amnesty International-Kampala Regional Office. He is one of the founding members of Human Rights Defenders Solidarity Network (HRDS-Net). Janvier is presently responsible for outreach activities on the protection of most-at-risk HRDs.
Neema Iyer is the Lead for the DATA4CHAN.GE project, working to amplify the data skills of human rights organizations across East Africa. She’s a technologist with several years experience across Africa on mobile technology projects through her work with Text to Change and later on with VOTO Mobile. Neema holds a BA in Psychology and an MPH in Global Epidemiology. Neema is responsible for making DATA4CHAN.GE a reality and in supporting the IT team with programs focused on incorporating data and innovation into the work of human rights organizations.
Mr. Kiggundu Mark joined DefendDefenders in 2013. At DefendDefenders, Mark is responsible for managing software and hardware systems, developing and enforcing security policies, training human rights defenders on digital security, and supporting them in using innovative technologies in their human rights work.
He holds a Bachelor of Computer Science from Makerere University, a certificate in basic software application technology from Shenzhen Association for Promoting International Economic and Technological Cooperation in China and a certificate in Business Process Outsourcing from Makerere University.
Mr. Moses Kaggwa joined DefendDefenders in January 2014 as a driver and messenger. He successfully completed Junior One education. In his work at DefendDefenders, he is responsible for running logistical errands, coordinating the transport of staff members and maintenance of the office vehicle.
Mr. Ambrose Katwesigye has been working with DefendDefenders as driver and messenger since early 2007. Ambrose has successfully completed Secondary School in Uganda and since then worked as a driver for several companies. At DefendDefenders, he is responsible for running logistical errands, coordinating the transport of staff members and maintenance of the office vehicles.
As Communications Officer, Mr. Thomas Kleinveld manages DefendDefenders’ public profile and outreach campaigns.
Thomas joined DefendDefenders as Communication Advisor after an initial media residency to document the organisation history as part of its ten-year anniversary celebrations. He previously worked in Uganda as a freelance journalist and country manager for Trac FM, a SMS-based platform to promote public participation and accountability. He holds an undergraduate degree in Liberal Arts from Utrecht University and Dual Masters’ degree in Journalism, Media and Globalisation and Financial Journalism from Aarhus University, the University of California Berkeley, and City University London.
Mr. Majid Maali joined DefendDefenders as Security Management Officer in February 2013. Before joining DefendDefenders, Majid worked at Sudan Social Development Organization (SUDO), where he created an access to justice network that provided free legal aid for internally displaced persons, students, women and other vulnerable groups.
SUDO ran community centres for IDPs from Darfur before the government banned the organisation in retaliation for the International Criminal Court arrest warrant against President Al-Bashir. Majid continued his career as a human rights lawyer at the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies, which is a Sudanese human rights NGO in exile and a former protective fellow at the Center for Applied Human Rights at the University of the York. Majid holds a Bachelor’s degree in Law from Al-Neelain University in Sudan. He is fluent in Arabic and English.
As the research and advocacy fellow at DefendDefenders, Mr. Meffe focuses on issues affecting human rights defenders across the region. He formerly worked as a freelance journalist and as the Aga Khan Foundation media fellow at the Nation Media Group in Nairobi. Mr. Meffe holds a double Bachelor’s degree from Carleton University, and Masters’ degrees from the Danish School of Media & Journalism and Swansea University. He is fluent in French, English, and Italian.
Ms. Murungi Stella is a Protection Officer with DefendDefenders since May 2009. Stella holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree from Makerere University and completed a Postgraduate diploma in Legal Practice.
She previously worked at the High Court as a research assistant where she was exposed to the several and diverse aspects of the legal system in Uganda and how they work. She also coordinated a joint project with the South African High Commission and a university student volunteer’s organisation, (SASVO) dealing with vulnerable children in different communities. This formed the basis for her interest in defending the rights of people. At DefendDefenders, Stella helps in assessment of emergency cases of human rights defenders at risk, resource allocation for their assistance as well as providing administrative and legal support to HRDs under the protection programme.
At DefendDefenders Immaculate is responsible for all the Computer related problems managing software and hardware systems, leveraging Social media avenues, fixing problems staff members members, updating the websites, carrying out digital security trainings for human rights defenders that will help secure their work and also give direct assistance to human rights defenders.
Ms. Nakato Zainab works as Administrative Assistant at DefendDefenders since January 2013. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and Social Administration from Islamic University in Uganda, and a certificate in Oral Communication Skills from the British Council.
Previously, Zainab worked with Electoral Commission as a display officer, and did internships at Legal Aid Clinic counseling children in conflict with the law, and at Mission After Custody working with vulnerable children. Before taking on her position, Zainab interned at African Human Rights Education project hosted by DefendDefenders. As Administrative Assistant, Zainab assists in general administration and procurement of the organisation, in capacity building events and trainings, and at the Resource Centre operations and database work.
Ms Nakibuuka Mariam joined DefendDefenders in May 2015 as an intern. She became a protection assistant in January 2016.
Mariam is a law graduate holding a diploma in legal practice from Law Development Center Kampala, a bachelor’s degree in Law from Kampala International University and a post graduate diploma in legal practice from the institute of Legal Practice and Development Rwanda. In addition to this Mariam holds a certificate in public procurement and contract management from Uganda management institution (UMI) and a Certificate in Purchase and Supply Chain Management from Multi-tech Business School. Mariam has worked with Kabuzire, Mbabaali &Co Advocates as a legal officer and administrator, 24/ADS an advertising company as the legal and procurement manager, and interned with The National Human Rights Commission Rwanda. Mariam is determined and motivated to continue on the path of promotion and protection of Human Rights.
Ms. Anne Nakiyingi joined DefendDefenders in October 2012 as Capacity Building Assistant. She has four years experience in office operations management, and prior to joining DefendDefenders, Anne worked with Major Communication Consultants where she acquired training in management, communication skills and needs assessment.
Anne holds a Bachelors Degree in Arts from Makerere University, where she majored in Communication Skills and also studied Literature in English as a minor course.
At DefendDefenders, Anne works as the Capacity Building Assistant in charge of arranging and coordinating logistics for training, workshops and conferences undertaken by DefendDefenders, assists in planning capacity building activities, assesses needs and gathers feedback from capacity building activities.
Ms. Jane Ngabirano works as Finance Assistant with DefendDefenders since 2012. Jane is a Certified Public Accountant (U) and holds a degree in Development Studies and a diploma in Business Studies.
Jane has a wide range hands-on experience and skills in financial management and accounting. Previously, she worked with Protection Desk Uganda as Finance and Administrative Officer. Jane also worked as Head of Finance and Administration with Epilepsy Support Association Uganda and as Accounts Officer with People and Plants Projects in Mbarara University, Kampala Medical Chambers and Comboni Hospital Bushenyi. At DefendDefenders, Jane assists in ensuring proper financial management and accounting in the finance department. She also assists in adequate financial reporting and compliance with the specific and generally accepted financial and accounting legal and organisational requirements .
Mr. Donatien Niyongendako is a Burundian HRD, technologist, and trainer in digital security. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree and Masters in Computer Engineering from the University of Burundi.
From 2013 to April 2015, he worked for the Forum pour la Conscience et le Développement (FOCODE) as head of the ICT department. Since May 2015, Donatien has served as ICT assistant at DefendDefenders. He is fluent in French and has delivered digital security and social media trainings in Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, and Togo. He holds a certificate of study for CCNA from Makerere University. Donatien is interested in computer programming, database development, digital security, design and web development, network & system administration and sports.
Leon Nsiku a Congolese Human Security Expert. He joined DefendDefenders as Intern in October 2014 and has been a Protection Fellow in December2016.
Leon Nsiku a Congolese Human Security Expert. He joined DefendDefenders as Intern in October 2014 and has been a Protection Fellow in December2016.
He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political and Administrative Sciences, a specialized degree in Political Science of Université Officielle de Bukavu (U.O.B) and a Master’s degree in Security Studies from Cavendish University Uganda (CUU) with particular interest in Risk Assessment and Human Security for Refugees and Asylum Seekers.
Before joining DefendDefenders, Leon Nsiku worked with Action pour le Développement des Paysans Déshérités (Action for the Development of Underprivileged Peasants) as Human Rights Education and Advocacy Officer where he was mainly in charge of coordinating trainings and leading advocacy missions in Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In Uganda, he worked extensively with youth refugees as the Chairperson of Refugee Youth Congress (RYC) and Uganda Refugee Youth Network (URYN) formally hosted by Finnish Refugee Council in Uganda. He also worked as the Secretary General of the Congolese Community in Uganda.
He speaks English, French and Kiswahili.
At DefendDefenders, he engages in capacity building activities in Security Management, provides support to protection activities through database entry and follows up on francophone Human Rights Defenders under DefendDefenders Protection Program.
Ms. Nyamutono Proscovia Ititu holds a degree in Business Administration majoring in Finance from Makerere University. She has worked in finance since 1995 in different capacities and with different organisations. She joined DefendDefenders in 2016 as Finance Officer, handling financial and accounting duties of the project assigned.
Ms. Nyamutono Proscovia Ititu with Action Africa International at their head offices in Kampala in 1995 as an Accounts Assistant/Cashier and performed bookkeeping roles. From 2009 to 2010 she worked with Action Africa Help International in South Sudan as Project Accountant for the Juba Recovery and Rehabilitation Project (RRP) and Sudan Recovery Fund ( SRF), where she was in charge of the projects and management of the finances of the projects. In April 2011 she joined the Norwegian Refugee Council Head Office in Gulu as a Finance officer and performing all financial and accounting duties.
Mr. Karis Moses Oteba is a Ugandan educationist with vast experience in social research and documentation. He has special interest in Conflict, Security and Development.
Prior to joining DefendDefenders, Karis worked as Programs Assistant at The Pincer Group International Limited focusing on the project to Revitalize Education Participation and Learning in Conflict Areas of Northern and Eastern Uganda. He is a calm, soft spoken yet firm and conscientious professional who has successfully led work teams and managed sensitive projects at Avant-Garde Innovations – a NGO of which he is a co-founder.
Karis has also taught Business French at Makerere University Business School and done several Capacity building and training consultancies for organizations working around children, women and youth programs. Driven by passion about Leadership and Democratic Governance, he has traversed all the regions of Uganda engaging youth and mobilizing communities for collective action geared towards local and national development.