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. He is a HRD from Somalia, with over 15 years of experience from the sub-region. Further, Hassan Shire is the Chair of AfricanDefenders, and the Coordinator of African Human Rights Defenders Project at York University, Centre for Refugee Studies. He holds a MA in Economics, and has authored and published numerous human rights reports. In 1996, he founded and co-directed the Somali human rights organisation, the Dr. Ismail Jumale Human Rights Centre in Mogadishu, which continues to play a vital role in the country.

Our Staff


Mr. 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.


Tel: +256-393-265-821 (office), +256-772-753-753 (mobile)
Email: executive@defenddefenders.org,
Twitter: @hassan_shire
Facebook: Hassan Shire


Ms. Memory Bandera

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.


Tel: +256-393-265-820
Email: memoryb@defenddefenders.org


Mr. Joseph Bikanda

Mr. Joseph Bikanda 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.


Tel: +256-393-202-133
Email: josephb@defenddefenders.org


Mr. Neil Blazevic

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.


Tel: +256-393-265-824
Email: neilb@defenddefenders.org


Ms. 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.


Tel: +256-393-266-827
Email: estellak@defenddefenders.org


Ms. 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.


Mr. Alex Lukoye

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.


Tel: +256-393-265-822
Email: alexl@defenddefenders.org


Ms. 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.


Phone: +256–393-265823 and +256-414-510-263
Mobile: +256 783-027-611
Email: tabithan@defenddefenders.org


Mr. Nicolas Agostini

Mr. Nicolas Agostini joined the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project as its Representative to the United Nations (UN) in March 2018. He has been working to set up DefendDefenders’ office in Geneva and 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 organizations 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 organization’s Representative to the UN. He also worked with Civil Rights Defenders and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), lectured at the Royal University of Law and Economics in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and conducted research on Rwanda’s genocide and political violence in Kenya. Nicolas studied at Sciences Po Strasbourg, France and holds Master’s Degrees in International Law and International Relations from Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University and Geneva’s Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, respectively.


Phone: +41-798-134-991


Mr. 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.


Phone: +256-773-465-250
Email: bernarda@defenddefenders.org


Mr. Daniel Byekwaso

Daniel joined as a systems Administrator since May 2018. He is responsible implementing and improving I.T systems at DefendDefenders, developing and adopting standard organisational I.T policies, training and supporting HRDs and other CSOs. He has experience as a certified trainer in various I.T certification programs, database administrator, systems Administrator, Network and security administrator. And holds various certificates to his name. He has a passion for Technology and the enabling others to use and enjoy technology.


Phone: +256-393-265-824
Email: danielb@defenddefenders.org


Ms. Siri Berge Engerud

Siri joined DefendDefenders as a Communications Officer in November 2018. Before joining DefendDefenders, she was working at the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI) in Brussels.

Previously, she worked for Médecins Sans Frontières Norway, Palestinian Committee of Norway in Lebanon, Hope International in Mozambique, in addition to trainee positions at the Red Cross EU Office and the Norwegian Embassy of Maputo. She holds a Bachelor in African Studies from Norwegian University of Technology and Science, and a Master in Human Rights Law from Kent University.


Email: sirie@defenddefenders.org


Mr. Janvier Hakizimana

Mr. Janvier Hakizimana, Senior Protection Associate, 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 Hakizimana 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.


Tel: +256-793-0347966
Email: janvierh@defenddefenders.org

Executive Assistant

Ms. Susan Ibale

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

Ibale 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.


Tel: +256-393-256-821
Email: susani@defenddefenders.org


Mr. Ambrose Katwesigye

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.


Tel: +256-393-265-820


Mr. Majid Maali

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.


Tel: +256-393-265-826
Email: majidm@defenddefenders.org


Mr. David Meffe

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.


Tel: +256-393-266-827
Email: davidm@defenddefenders.org


Ms. Stella Murungi

Ms. Stella Murungi is a lawyer who works in DefendDefenders’ Protection and Security Management Department to extend support to human rights defenders in the sub region through direct, fast track intervention, as well as tailored trainings.

Stella previously worked as a volunteer at the High Court where she was responsible for compiling reports from research on legal precedents to help in delivery of judgements on cases heard. She also volunteered with South African Students Volunteers Organization to help set up primary schools in rural areas that previously had none.  Stella is a trainer of trainers in both in digital and physical security, and has worked with HRDs in areas of conflict as well as minority groups to help them reduce the risks arising out of their work and come up with concrete strategies to mitigate these risks. She also works in close collaboration with DefendDefenders’ partners to share best practices on specific country situations for the benefit of HRDs


Tel: +256-393-265-826
Email: stellam@defenddefenders.org


Ms. Immaculate Nabwire

Ms. Immaculate Nabwire joined DefendDefenders from St.Lawrence University in May 2010 as an Information Technology assistant. She holds a Bachelors in Information Technology from the same University.

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.


Tel: +256-393-266-827
Email: emman@defenddefenders.org


Ms. 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 in a sofa watching a movie.


Email: daphnen@defenddefenders.org


Mr. Jeremie Nkunzimana

Jeremie Nkunzimana 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 Program funded by Trademark East Africa from 2012 to 2015.

Before joining FORSC, Jeremie also worked as Monitoring and Evaluation Project officer with Chemonics International, a NGO that implemented the USAID-Burundi Policy Reform Project (20O7-2011). His professional experience started with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2002-2007), as advisor in the Information Department. Jeremie holds a Diploma of License 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 Post-Graduate Diploma student in Project Planning and Management.


Tel: +256-393-265-820
Email: jeremien@defenddefenders.org


Ms. Zainab Nakato

Ms. Zainab Nakato 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.


Tel: +256-393-202-134
Email: capacitybuilding@defenddefenders.org


Ms. Mariam Nakibuuka

Ms. Mariam Nakibuuka joined DefendDefenders in May 2015 and works under the protection department as the Protection Associate. She handles various tasks which are meant to ensure that Human rights defenders at risk receive the necessary support to overcome their risks as well as providing them with capacity building tools to enable them continue their work while being able to mitigate the risks as they might arise.

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.

Mariam has handled various clients with specific focus on the South Sudan crisis, following up on the violations against human rights defenders in the country.

She has attended various trainings on the use of various electronic documentation systems and in using them to collect, analyse and visualize data, to be able to monitor human rights violations across the East and Horn of Africa region. She is currently the lead on data registration, compilation of statistical information in the Protection department for DefendDefenders.

She 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, she 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. She 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.


Tel: +256-392-265-826
Email: mariamn@defenddefenders.org


Ms. Anne Nakiyingi

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.


Tel: +256-392-202-134
Email: annen@defenddefenders.org


Ms. Jane Ngabirano

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 .


Tel: +256-393-202-135
Email: janen@defenddefenders.org


Mr. Donatien Niyongendako

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, Central Africa 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, network & system administration.


Tel: +256-393-265-824
Email: donatienn@defenddefenders.org


Mr. Leon Nsiku

He works with DefendDefenders as Protection Assistant. His work involves facilitating trainings in Risk Assessment, handling protection cases and data entry. He is passionate about result frameworks in human rights and risk assessment for human right defenders in exile. He speaks English, French and Kiswahili.

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.


Email: leonn@defenddefenders.org


Ms. Nyamutono Proscovia Ititu

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.


Tel: +256-393-202-135
Email: proscovian@defenddefenders.org


Mrs. Cristina Orsini

Cristina is the Hub Cities Development Associate for the Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network, working to strengthen the network for the benefit of human rights defenders across Africa. She holds a MA in International Security with a focus on human rights from Sciences Po’s Paris School of International Affairs and a BA in Social Sciences from Amsterdam University College. Before joining DefendDefenders as a research fellow in April 2018, she worked in a minority rights organisation in the Netherlands, and at UNICEF Algeria.

She also co-founded a social enterprise, conducted research and published articles on human rights issues, including a short documentary on refugees in Greece. Cristina is fluent in English, French and Italian.


Email: cristinao@defenddefenders.org


Mr. Karis Moses Oteba

Mr. Moses Oteba 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. He is also skilled in the use of expressive arts in stress and trauma therapy. Karis is an articulate and diplomatic communicator, and an excellent team player too.

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. He successfully led work teams and managed sensitive projects at Avant-Garde Innovations – a NGO of which he is a co-founder.

Karis 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.

At DefendDefenders, Karis has excellently delivered over 50 trainings and consultancies in security management and risk assessment for individual HRDs and organisations. Together with colleagues, they have 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.


Tel: +256-393-265-826
Email: kariso@defenddefenders.org