Our Staff

Our Board

Sophie Kyagulanyi - Chairperson

Sophie Kyagulanyi is a Ugandan national, and is currently working with Oxfam. She one of the founding members of DefendDefenders, and an active HRD. Previously, she was a Governance Research and Policy Analyst at Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE).

David Kaggwa - Secretary

David Kaggwa is an Advocate of the High Court of Uganda, and a Partner at Kaggwa and Associates. Kaggwa brings legal skills including advising the Board on legal matters on registration and tax returns, volunteering his skills to defenders in exile and helping them obtain refugee status under the Ugandan legal system amongst others. David Kaggwa resides in Uganda, Kampala.

Dr. Zahara Nampewo - Treasurer

Dr. Zahara Nampewo LL.B. (Mak); LL.M. (Nottingham); Dip. L.P. (LDC) Kampala; SJD (Emory University). Dr. Nampewo is a legal and human rights practitioner and academician with 20 years experience in the private, public and non-profit sectors. Dr. Nampewo is a Lecturer and Director of the Human Rights and Peace Centre (HURIPEC) at the School of Law, Makerere University, in Kampala, Uganda. She has been with the School of Law since 2006. Her areas of interest and expertise include gender and human rights. Her teaching subjects include Gender, Health, Family Law as well as International Humanitarian Law and Conflict Resolution. She has published professional papers on a range of subjects including sexuality, decentralisation and access to justice. Zahara’s research is both theoretical and empirical in scope, much of it focusing on the lives of the most disadvantaged, especially women, which explains her deliberate focus as a gender activist in Uganda. She is Board Chairperson of the Uganda Lawyers for Human Rights (ULHR), a young NGO advocating for human rights of marginalized groups. She is also a Board member for the African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME) and an incisive member of the Association of Uganda Women Lawyers (FIDA-U). She has work experience in Uganda, Liberia and United Kingdom with brief working missions in South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and Malawi. 

Faiza Jama Mohamed - Member

Faiza Jamal Mohamed is a Djibouti national, and the Executive Director of the Pan African organization Equality Now. Since 2001, she has overseen the Fund for Grassroots Activism to End Female Genital Mutilation, among other matters, she has channeled over 1.8 Million US Dollars to 30 organisation in Africa. Mohamed has extensive work experience from the East and Horn of Africa sub-region, and has previously worked with the UN Population Fund and Oxfam NOVIB, amongst others, as wellas being a member of the AU Women’s Committee. Mohamed resides in Nairobi, Kenya.

Vital Nshimirimana - Member

Vital Nshimirimana is a Burundian human rights lawyer. He joined the judiciary in 2004 and became an active member of the Union of Magistrates, going on to chair it in 2009. With his fellow magistrates, he focused on exposing the lack of judicial independence and the wide-ranging consequences this can have. He registered with the Burundi Bar association in June 2013. During his time as a lawyer he prosecuted high profile cases, including two cases at the East African Court of Justice. As chair of the Forum for the Strengthening of Civil Society (FORSC), made up of 146 national NGOs, he often engaged national decision makers on issues including human rights, good governance and democratic principles. He also worked to oppose constitutional changes and his actions culminated in calling for peaceful demonstrations aimed at opposing the third term of the President. Arrest warrants were issued against the leaders of ‘Halte au troisième mandate’, and in 2015, Vital had to flee the country. In 2017, Vital was elected as the chairperson of the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network, a position that he will hold until 2022. 

Dorothé Appels - Member

Dorothé Appels is a Dutch national with over twenty years of human rights experience in the East and Horn of Africa. Dorothé Appels is the Director of the Centre for International Development (COS) in the Netherlands. Previously, she has worked in Pakistan, Bolivia, and Ethiopia, and has developed country-level grant programmes in countries in the Horn of Africa, and West Africa. She has previously managed Oxfam Novib’s Gender Based Violence programme, and started the project ́Bonded Labour in the Netherlands ́ (BlinN) in collaboration with Humanitas. Dorothé Appels resides in the Netherlands.

Hassan Shire - Ex Officio and Executive Director of Defenddefenders

Hassan Shire is the Executive Director of DefendDefenders and has steered the organisation through its growth over the years. He is also the Chairperson of AfricanDefenders (Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network).

Shire is a human rights defender from Somalia, with over 20 years’ experience working in the region. While in Canada, he worked with the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University and Amnesty International Canada to create the African Human Rights Defenders Project. In 2005, he returned to Africa and founded DefendDefenders in Uganda. Shire has been instrumental in building coalitions for the protection of human rights defenders in the East and Horn of Africa, namely in Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, and Somalia/Somaliland.

Shire regularly engages with African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, United Nations Human Rights Council, the Community of Democracies, government authorities, and African and foreign diplomatic missions for the advancement of human rights in Africa. He is currently Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the Centre for Civil and Political Rights (Geneva, Switzerland), board member of the Institute of Human Rights and Democracy in Africa (Banjul, The Gambia), and Board Chair of the African Center for Justice and Peace and Studies (Kampala, Uganda).

Shire has received numerous awards from the international community including the U.S. State Department’s 2011 Human Rights Defender Award, the Leadership Awards of the Pan African Human Rights Defenders Network in 2015, and the Richard C. Holbrooke Leadership Award by Refugees International in 2017.

Our Staff

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Hassan Shire

Hassan Shire is the Executive Director of the DefendDefenders and Chairperson of the Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network (PAHRDN).  Under Shire’s leadership, DefendDefenders provides emergency protection, advocacy, awareness raising, capacity building, and technological support to human rights defenders. Mr. Shire founded and co-directed the Dr. Ismail Jumale Human Rights Centre (1996-2001) and was the Chairperson of Peace and Human Rights Network (1998-2001) in Mogadishu, Somalia, before he was forced to flee Somalia by extremist groups.

While in exile in Canada, he worked with the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University and Amnesty International Canada to create the African Human Rights Defenders Project. This led to his return to the continent in 2005 and the founding of DefendDefenders in Uganda. He later co-founded the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network and the Pan African Human Rights Defenders network. Shire was also actively involved in building coalitions for the protection of human rights defenders in the East and Horn of Africa namely in Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, and Somalia/Somaliland.

Shire regularly engages with African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, UN Human Rights Council, the Community of Democracies, government authorities, and African and foreign diplomatic missions for the advancement of human rights in Africa. He is currently Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the Centre for Civil and Political Rights (Geneva, Switzerland), board member of the Institute of Human Rights and Democracy in Africa (Banjul, The Gambia), and Board member of the African Center for Justice and Peace and Studies (Kampala, Uganda).

Shire has received numerous awards from the international community including the U.S. State Department’s 2011 Human Rights Defender Award, the Leadership Awards of the Pan African Human Rights Defenders Network in 2015, and the Richard C. Holbrooke Leadership Award by Refugees International in 2017.

CONTACT INFO

Tel: +256-393-265-821 (office), +256-772-753-753 (mobile)
Email: [email protected],
[email protected]
Twitter: @hassan_shire
Facebook: Hassan Shire

DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMS AND ADMINISTRATION

Memory Bandera

Memory 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.

CONTACT INFO

Tel: +256-393-265-820
Email: [email protected]

PAN-AFRICAN HRD NETWORK COORDINATOR

Joseph Bikanda

Joseph is the coordinator of the 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.

CONTACT INFO

Tel: +256-393-202-133
Email: [email protected]

TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMme MANAGER

Neil Blazevic

Neil 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.

CONTACT INFO

Tel: +256-393-265-824
Email: [email protected]

Advocacy, Research and Communications Manager

Estella Kabachwezi

As the Senior Advocacy and Research Officer, Estella oversees the Advocacy and Research department at DefendDefenders. Together with the Advocacy and Research team, they highlight the challenges affecting human rights defenders in the East and Horn of Africa sub-region and call for a safer working environment.

Estella has experience engaging with the UN Human Rights Council and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights where DefendDefenders draws the attention of the international community to the human rights situation in the sub-region; and amplifies the voice of the HRDs on the ground. She holds a Masters degree in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa, from the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

CONTACT INFO

Tel: +256-393-266-827
Email: [email protected]

PROJECT COORDINATOR

Ludivine Lecat

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.

FINANCE MANAGER

Alex Lukoye

Alex 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.

CONTACT INFO

Tel: +256-393-265-822
Email: [email protected]

PROTECTION AND SECURITY MANAGEMENT MANAGER

Tabitha Netuwa

Ms. Tabitha Netuwa – a lawyer by training – is the Protection and Security Management Manager in the organization. Her tasks entail managing the protection programme which supports human rights defenders 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 potential risks.

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 been involved in research projects to assess the situation HRDs, and engaged with different stakeholders at national, regional and international levels to ensure their protection. She has also previously worked with refugees and displaced persons.

CONTACT INFO

Phone: +256–393-265823 and +256-414-510-263
Mobile: +256 783-027-611
Email: [email protected]

REPRESENTATIVE TO THE UNITED NATIONS

Nicolas Agostini

Nicolas joined DefendDefenders as its Representative to the United Nations (UN) in March 2018.  He set up DefendDefenders’ office in Geneva and has been working to advance its advocacy efforts at the Human Rights Council and other UN bodies and mechanisms. His work encompasses UN advocacy and research on country situations and UN dynamics.

Prior to joining DefendDefenders, Nicolas spent several years working with human rights organisations at the national and international levels. He advised Cambodia’s oldest human rights NGO, the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC). In Geneva, he worked for the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) as the organisation’s Representative to the UN. He also worked with Civil Rights Defenders and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and lectured at the Royal University of Law and Economics in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and the International Institute of Human Rights (IIDH) in Strasbourg, France. He conducted research on Rwanda’s genocide and political violence in Kenya. Nicolas studied at Sciences Po Strasbourg and holds Master’s Degrees in International Law and International Relations from Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne University and Geneva’s Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, respectively.

CONTACT INFO

Email: [email protected]

LOGISTICS OFFICER

Bernard Arinaitwe

Bernard joined DefendDefenders as the Logistics Officer for DefendDefenders’ Great Lakes Region project. Before joining the organisation Bernard worked at the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ National I.D Project as a Verification Officer, and at the National Water and Sewerage Cooperation as a Procurement Assistant

Bernard holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration / Project from Makerere University (2016). He is a member of the chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply – (CIPS-UK) since ( 2012) with an Advanced Diploma in Procurement and Supply. He also holds a Bachelors Degree in Procurement and Logistics from Makerere University(2012) and most recently obtained a Post-Graduate Diploma in Monitoring and Evaluation from Uganda Management institute.

CONTACT INFO

Phone: +256-773-465-250
Email: [email protected]

AfricanDefenders Fellow

Gentrix Barasa

Gentrix Barasa is a fellow with the Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network (AfricanDefenders) and handles various tasks including communications and research. She holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the United States International University – Africa.  

 

Gentrix has a background as a freelance creative writer and a copy writer. She has worked with the Michelle Boit Foundation, an organisation that mentors the youth and has had previous volunteer experience in health centers in Kenya that serve the less fortunate.

CONTACT INFO

Email: [email protected]

Senior Technology Officer

Daniel Byekwaso

Daniel joined DefendDefenders in May 2018 and oversees the Technology Department (DefendersTech). He and the team raise awareness about the dangers and benefits of technology to Human Rights and provide support for HRDs and CSOs.

Daniel has several years of experience and I.T certifications to his name. He has worked as an I.T Trainer, Systems Administrator, Network and security administrator. He is  passionate about integrating technology and enabling others to enjoy and benefit from it for the greater good.

CONTACT INFO

Phone: +256-393-265-824
Email: [email protected]

Digital Security Auditor and Incident Handler

Samuel Eibu

Samuel joined DefendDefenders in February 2020 as their Digital Security Auditor and Incident Handler. He performs digital vulnerability and risk assessments for human rights organisations in East and Horn of Africa and works to remediate security findings. He also investigates security incidents and runs point on vulnerability remediation within DefendDefenders’ internal IT.

Samuel holds an MSc in IT Security from Nottingham Trent University in the U.K, BSc. Computer Science from MUST, and further cyber/digital forensic certifications. Before joining DefendDefenders he worked roles as IT security analyst and systems administrator at various tertiary level educational institutes, universities, and tech and business firms.

CONTACT INFO

Phone: +256-393-265-824
Email: [email protected] 

COMMUNICATIONS Fellow

Ayub Elmi

Ayub joined DefendDefenders as a Communications Fellow in September 2020. Before joining DefendDefenders, Ayub was a Social Media producer at Viacoms MTV in New York city and a Brand Manager at NonViolence International NY a NGO based at the UN in New York city.

Ayub holds a Bachelor degree from Cleveland State University in Cleveland, Ohio, in Political Science with a concentration in the Middle East and Africa. After obtaining his bachelors degree he moved to New York city where he worked at Viacoms MTV/MTV News producing content for their social media platforms covering everything from presidential debates, world news, and music. After a few years at Viacom he decided to further his education and attended Long Island University in Brooklyn, NY. Ayub obtained a Masters degree from LIU Brooklyn in Political science (International Relations) along with a graduate certificate in United Nation studies. While in graduate school Ayub joined an NGO at the UN called NonViolence International as a Brand Manager. While at Nonviolence Ayub worked on peace building and disarmament issues across the world. Ayub is a first generation Somali-American born in Washington D.C. and raised in Minneapolis, MN.

CONTACT INFO

Email: [email protected]

COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER

Francesca Grandolfo

Francesca joined DefendDefenders as a Communications Officer in February 2020. Before joining DefendDefenders, she was a News Producer for the Brussels office of the Austrian Broadcaster ORF.

Francesca holds an LLM in Public International Law with Migration from the University of Kent’s Brussels School of International Studies and a BA in Social Sciences from Amsterdam University College. Her previous work experiences include a documentary TV program, and human rights NGOs in Austria and Cameroon. She is fluent in German, English, Dutch, French, and Italian.

CONTACT INFO

Email: [email protected]

SENIOR PROTECTION ASSOCIATE

Janvier Hakizimana

Janvier joined DefendDefenders in 2008 as volunteer and intern before being recruited as a Protection Associate in 2013 in charge with human rights defenders’ protection outreach and training activities.

Janvier holds a Bachelor of Arts / Education in language teaching (English and French) from the University of Rwanda; a Masters Degree in Human Rights and Development from Kampala International University (Uganda); a Certificate in International Humanitarian Law (IHL) from Respect University (Canada); a  Certificate in International and African Legal Framework on Freedom of Expression, Access to Information and Safety of Journalists from the University of Pretoria (South Africa); and  Certificates in International Human Rights Law from Duke University (USA) and Université de Génève (Switzerland).

He is a PhD candidate and SHUREA (Strengthening Human Rights Research in Sub-Saharan Africa) fellow in Human Rights from Makerere University specialising in digital monitoring, documenting and reporting (MDR) with a pragmatic focus on Martus software. He co-lectures human rights, especially MDR, refugee rights and media and human rights at Makerere University and reviews PhD and post-doctoral works of SHUREA fellows from Makerere University (Uganda), University of Nairobi (Kenya), Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia), University of Pretoria, and Ǻbo-Akademi (Finland).

As a Martus specialist, Janvier carries out consultancies and conducts trainings and workshops in digital MDR across Africa. He previously worked with Ministry of Education, Commission Nationale de l’UNESCO in Rwanda Ministry of Local Government before becoming a Secondary School teacher from 2007 to 2012, and being a full-time employee of DefendDefenders in 2013 in Uganda.

CONTACT INFO

Tel: +256-793-0347966
Email: [email protected]

Executive Assistant

Susan Ibale

Susan joined DefendDefenders as the Executive Assistant in August 2018. She has over four years of human rights and development experience in Uganda, and is a passionate human rights advocate. She particularly has experience in promoting women’s rights, notably related to gender based violence (GBV) and elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

Susan holds an undergraduate degree from University of Pretoria in Political Science, majoring in International Studies, and a Master of Arts in International Development from Virtual University of Uganda.

CONTACT INFO

Tel: +256-393-256-821
Email: [email protected]

DRIVER / MESSENGER

Kakuru Julius

CONTACT INFO

Tel: +256-774-199-517

DRIVER / MESSENGER

Ambrose Katwesigye

Ambrose has been working with DefendDefenders as a 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.

CONTACT INFO

Tel: +256-393-265-820

Programme Fellow

Walda Keza Shaka

Walda joined AfricanDefenders as a Programme Fellow in April 2020. Prior to joining AfricanDefenders she was an Operations Coordinator for Safe Gas Rwanda Ltd. She has also interned and volunteered with different NGOs in Africa. Walda has experience in project planning and management, branding, strategy development and has a strong passion for social development work.

CONTACT INFO

Email: [email protected]

FINANCE OFFICER

Rebecca Kisakye

Becky pursued a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a major in Accounting, at Ndejje University. She also completed a postgraduate diploma in Financial Management at Uganda Management Institute. Becky has professional experience in book keeping, making final accounts, filing taxes and handling monies.

CONTACT INFO

Email: [email protected]

 

Programmes Associate

Angela Lucia

Angela works as a Programmes Associate on the DefendersTech team where she focuses on supporting the team’s digital security programmes, including Safe Sisters and Ttaala. Prior to joining DefendDefenders, Angela worked at Facebook on the Policy and Communications team and at Amnesty International USA.

She received both her BA and MA in International Studies from the University of San Francisco, and her research focused on the challenges and livelihood strategies of refugees from Darfur, Sudan, in Kampala, Uganda. After conducting her research, Angela began volunteering to support refugee communities in Uganda through the implementation of small development projects in refugee settlements as well as supporting community-based organizations in Kampala.

CONTACT INFO

Email: [email protected]

CAPACITY BUILDING OFFICER

Majid Maali

Majid joined DefendDefenders as a 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.

CONTACT INFO

Tel: +256-393-265-826
Email: [email protected]

Finance officer

Claire Mugabe

CONTACT INFO

Email: [email protected]

Programmes Associate

Melissa Mukasa

Melissa joined DefendDefenders as a fellow in August 2019, and is now the Programmes Associate working in the Programmes and Administration Department. She has a passion for human rights ignited after a student placement at the Human Rights Watch regional office in Johannesburg. 

Melissa holds two undergraduate degrees from Monash University, South Africa, in Social Science majoring in International Studies, and Criminology and Criminal Justice.

CONTACT INFO

Email: [email protected]

Digital Security Training Lead

Immaculate Nabwire

Immaculate joined DefendDefenders from St.Lawrence University in May 2010 as an Information Technology assistant. She holds a bachelor’s in Information Technology from the same University.

At DefendDefenders Immaculate is responsible for all computer related problems, managing software and hardware systems, leveraging social media avenues, fixing problems of staff members, updating the websites, carrying out digital security trainings for human rights defenders to make their work more secure, and also give direct assistance to human rights defenders.

CONTACT INFO

Tel: +256-393-266-827
Email: [email protected]

DATA & DOCUMENTATION LEAD

Daphne Nakabugo

Daphne wants to live in a world filled with innovative business ideas and books that come bundled up with chocolate. As a software engineer by trade, she finds comfort mostly in design aspects, from data, websites, graphics to clothes, design is a passion to her. When she’s not designing content for businesses & organisations or toying with data, you can find her in an aikido class, on a yoga mat, or curled up on a sofa watching a movie.

CONTACT INFO

Email: [email protected]

WELFARE ASSISTANT

Shamim Nakato

CONTACT INFO

Tel: +256-704-535-363

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

Zainah Nakato

Zainah 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, Zainah worked with the 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 an African Human Rights Education project hosted by DefendDefenders. As the Administrative Assistant, Zainah assists in general administration and procurement of the organisation, in capacity building events and trainings, and at the Resource Centre operations and database work.

CONTACT INFO

Tel: +256-393-202-134
Email: [email protected]

SENIOR PROTECTION ASSOCIATE

Mariam Nakibuuka

Mariam is a lawyer and a Woman human rights activist who is very passionate about Women and children’s rights. Mariam joined DefendDefenders in May 2015 and works as the Senior Protection Associate. She is a digital and physical security trainer. She is the current lead on data compilation and analysis in the protection department while also monitoring various protection requests and cases.

 

She holds a diploma in Legal Practice from Law Development Center Kampala, a bachelor’s degree in Law from Kampala International University and a postgraduate diploma in Legal Practice from the Institute of Legal Practice and Development Rwanda. In addition, 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 a Legal and Procurement Manager, and interned with The National Human Rights Commission Rwanda.

Mariam is a woman with a voice that she uses to advocate for human rights and as Melinda Gates would say, “A woman with a voice is, by definition, a strong woman.” Mariam strives to see a world where women’s rights are respected and adhered to while seeing more women taking up equal decision-making spaces as men! Mariam loves the famous quote by Malala Yousafzai which says, “I raise up my voice-not so that I shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard. We cannot succeed when half of us are held back.”

CONTACT INFO

Tel: +256-392-265-826
Email: [email protected]

CAPACITY BUILDING ASSISTANT

Anne Nakiyingi

Anne joined DefendDefenders in October 2012 as a Capacity Building Assistant. She has four years of 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 BA 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 facilitating physical security trainings and follow-ups, conducting risk assessments for human rights organisations, writing reports for trainings, and entering data into the CiviCRM platform.

CONTACT INFO

Tel: +256-392-202-134
Email: [email protected]

FINANCE OFFICER

Jane Ngabirano

Jane works as a Finance Assistant with DefendDefenders since 2012. She is a certified Public Accountant (U), holds a degree in Development Studies, as well as a diploma in Business Studies.

Jane has a wide range of hands-on experience and skills in financial management and accounting. Previously, she worked with Protection Desk Uganda as a Finance and Administrative Officer. Jane also worked as Head of Finance and Administration with Epilepsy Support Association Uganda and as an 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 specific, and generally accepted, financial, accounting, legal, and organisational requirements .

CONTACT INFO

Tel: +256-393-202-135
Email: [email protected]

SYSTEMS ADMINISTRATOR ASSOCIATE

Donatien Niyongendako

Donatien is a Burundian HRD, technologist, and trainer in digital security. He holds a bachelor’s degree and master’s 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 an ICT assistant at DefendDefenders. He speaks French, English and Kirundi and has delivered digital security and social media trainings in Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Central African Republic, 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, as well as network and system administration.

CONTACT INFO

Tel: +256-393-265-824
Email: [email protected]

PROJECT OFFICER

Jeremie Nkunzimana

Jeremie is a Project Officer for DefendDefenders’ Great Lake Region project. Before joining the organisation in February 2017, Jeremie was the CEO of the Forum le Renforcement de la Societe Civile (FORSC). He joined FORSC in February 2012, after serving as a Project Officer in charge of the Regional Integration Programme funded by Trademark East Africa from 2012 to 2015.

Before joining FORSC, Jeremie also worked as Monitoring and Evaluation Project officer with Chemonics International, an NGO that implemented the USAID-Burundi Policy Reform Project (2007-2011). His professional experience started with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2002-2007), as an advisor in the Information Department. Jeremie holds a diploma in History and Political Sciences from the University of Burundi (1996-2002). He was also trained in Diplomacy and International Relations at the International Relations Institute of Cameroon, IRIC (2014-2015). Since August 2017, he is registered at Kampala International University as a postgraduate diploma student in Project Planning and Management.

CONTACT INFO

Tel: +256-393-265-820
Email: [email protected]

PROTECTION Associate

Leon Nsiku

Leon works with DefendDefenders as a Protection Associate. He joined DefendDefenders in 2014 and has been providing support to DefendDefenders’ Protection and Security Management Programme, with an emphasis on emergency support to human rights defenders at risk, as well as on empowerment of exiled human rights defenders.

Leon is skilled in political ecology and has been carrying out research on gender and climate change adaptation as part of a PhD in Security Studies. He speaks French, English, and Kiswahili.

Leon holds a bachelor’s degree in Political and Administrative Sciences, a specialized degree in Political Science of Université Officielle de Bukavu (UOB) and a master’s degree in Security Studies from Cavendish University Uganda (CUU). He is particularly interested in Risk Assessment and Human Security for Refugees and Asylum Seekers.

CONTACT INFO

Tel:+256-393-238-234
Email: [email protected]

Programmes Officer

Rosabella Ntanzi

Rosabella holds a Masters Degree in Human Rights and Democratisation from the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation (Lido-Venezia, Italy) in affiliation with Abo Akademi University (Turku, Finland). She holds a Diploma in Law from the Law Development Center (Uganda) and a Bachelor’s Degree in Ethics and Development Studies from Uganda Martyrs University, (Nkozi, Uganda).

Over the years, Rosabella has implemented projects on judicial independence, sexual reproductive health and rights, election advocacy, monitoring and observation. Her passion for human rights originates from her desire to fight for the rights of children, particularly orphans, and to give a voice to the voiceless.

CONTACT INFO

Email: [email protected]

FINANCE OFFICER

Proscovia Nyamutono

Proscovia 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 a Finance Officer, handling financial and accounting duties of the projects assigned.

Proscovia joined 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 a Project Accountant for the Juba Recovery and Rehabilitation Project (RRP) and Sudan Recovery Fund (SRF), where she was  in charge of projects as well as managing the finances of projects.  In April 2011, she joined the Norwegian Refugee Council Head Office in Gulu, as a Finance officer and performed all financial and accounting duties.

CONTACT INFO

Tel: +256-393-202-135
Email: [email protected]

Messenger

Raphael Okudo

PROTECTION OFFICER

Karis Moses Oteba

Karis is a pragmatic, multi-talented, adaptable and conscientious professional with particular interest in Conflict, Security and Development. He is highly experienced in human rights education, social research, community engagement and project administration.

Karis is also skilled in the use of expressive arts in stress and trauma therapy, and is presently completing his MSc in Psychology. He is an articulate and diplomatic communicator, and an excellent team player too.

Prior to joining DefendDefenders, Karis worked as Programmes Assistant at the Pincer Group International Limited focusing on a project to revitalize education participation and learning in conflict areas of Northern and Eastern Uganda. He is calm and soft spoken, yet firm. He successfully led work teams and managed sensitive projects at Avant-Garde Innovations – an NGO of which he is a co-founder.

Karis also taught Business French at Makerere University Business School and has done several capacity building and training consultancies for organizations working on human rights and social justice programmes. Driven by passion about leadership and democratic governance, he has traversed all regions of Uganda engaging youth, and mobilising communities for collective action geared towards local and national development.

At DefendDefenders, Karis has excellently delivered over 100 tailor-made trainings and consultancies in security management and risk assessment for individual HRDs and organisations across the sub-region and beyond. Together with colleagues, he  published a contextualized security manual for African HRDs entitled “STAND UP”, along with several other short publications and tools. He is also taking lead in integrating artistic therapy in the protection of HRDs, which gives a more holistic approach to HRD security and protection.

CONTACT INFO

Tel: +256-393-265-826
Email: [email protected]

Technology Programme Associate

Joshua Ssengonzi

Joshua works as a Technology Programme Associate at DefendDefenders. He works on the Ttaala Innovation programme that empowers HRDs with technical and strategic skills for the effective defense of human rights in the digital age. His role within the Ttaala programme is project management, online marketing, developing and delivering trainings, and support to organisation’s  data and documentation programmes.

Joshua has over eight years experience working in Information Technology and Telecommunications companies. He has a master’s degree in Information Technology obtained from the International School of Business and Technology (ISBAT).

CONTACT INFO

Email: [email protected]

Programme Officer

Dée Werter

Dée joined DefendDefenders in October 2020 as a Programme Officer. Before joining the organisation she completed her Masters of Science in Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding from Durham University, United Kingdom. Her thesis studied the transition of women’s rights in Tunisia prior to and in the aftermath of the Tunisian Revolution.

Prior to acquiring her Masters, Dée worked as a project manager in the Hague, the Netherlands, for the oldest Dutch community centre. The project concerned women’s rights activists and advocates in the multicultural society the Hague represents. Dée also holds a Bachelors degree in Social Work from The Hague University of Applied Sciences.

CONTACT INFO

Email: [email protected]

Research Officer

Nastassja White

Nastassja is a Research Officer with DefendDefenders. She has worked as a Legal Advisor for refugees and asylum seekers in Egypt and Israel. She also worked for the UN Migration Agency in Egypt and Libya in policy and liaison roles before moving to Uganda and joining DefendDefenders.

Nastassja has a background in law and has an LLB from the UK, and an LLM in Public International Law. She has been published in the Nordic Journal of Human Rights and is currently on the editorial team for the International Refugee Rights Initiative newsletter.

CONTACT INFO

Email: [email protected]

Monitoring & Evaluation Manager

Stanley Wobusobozi

Stanley focuses on setting up and operationalising Monitoring & Evaluation systems, as well as developing innovative tools, frameworks, and techniques that measure change at the individual, household, institutional, and community level in Uganda.

Stanley previously worked as an Impact Assessment and Shared Learning Manager for ActionAid International (AAIU), where he focused on the development and operationalisation of the Monitoring & Evaluation system for the country programme, as well as supporting international evaluation and accountability teams. He has also worked as a Senior Research M&E Specialist for the Community Development and Conservation Agency (CODECA) and as an Assistant Lecturer at Uganda Christian University. He also worked as a Health Information and M&E Specialist for MEDAIR International and was a Project Development Consultant in charge of project development, research, and M&E, working with REEV Consult Interational; a firm focusing on conducting research, baselines, and evaluation studies for multi-sectoral projects and programmes in the African region. Stanley also works as a consultant for civil society and government departments on M&E.

CONTACT INFO

Email: [email protected]