Senior Leadership Team
Lysa is Secretary-General of CIVICUS and lives in South Africa. She has championed human rights and international mobilisation for two decades. She started her career working for grassroots organisations fighting to end urban poverty in India, and subsequently spearheaded trans-national campaigns calling for government accountability.
Before joining CIVICUS, she worked as Head of Outreach for the UN High-Level Panel that drafted the blueprint for the Sustainable Development Goals, and as Global Campaigns Director at Save the Children. These roles have shaped a deep interest in and understanding of grassroots-to-global activism, which continues to drive and inform her work. Lysa can be reached through her LinkedIn page or X handle: @lysajohnSA.
Claire oversees and coordinates CIVICUS financial and organisational planning, as well as investments, assets and facilities. She also manages expansion activities and relationships with partners/vendor, while also designing and implementing business strategies, plans and procedures designed to ensure CIVICUS’ health and sustainability. Claire has over 20 years finance/ operations experience, working mostly in in global civil society organizations, such as the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, International Planned Parenthood Federation, Marie Stopes International, and the International HIV/AIDS Alliance.
A human rights lawyer by training, Mandeep specialises in legislation relating to the core civil society freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly. He is passionate about improving civil society’s participation in decision making, and has written extensively on the intersection between civil society, sustainable development and international affairs. Previously, Mandeep advised the International Committee of the Red Cross in New Delhi. He has also worked with the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative where he helped develop human rights modules for Commonwealth Parliamentarians and co-authored a citizens’ handbook on human rights commissions in India. Presently Mandeep oversees CIVICUS’s work on defending civic freedoms and promoting democratic values while leading organisational engagement at the UN headquarters in New York.
civil society resourcing
Clara Bosco advises the Secretariat and broader alliance on leveraging CIVICUS visibility and networks to push for more and better resources for civil society, especially smaller & less formal groups in the Global South. With over 15 years of professional experience with global civil society gained in a variety of positions within both country/field and head office contexts, Clara has a great enthusiasm for enhancing the freedoms, voices, and vitality of civil society actors. Languages spoken: English, Spanish, Italian, French, Portuñol.
Originally from Argentina but now living in Montevideo, Uruguay, Inés designs, supervises and conducts CIVICUS research on civil society action around the world. Having started her career in academia, she also teaches university classes on Comparative Politics and Global Civil Society, connecting to her everyday work on social movements and human rights. A political scientist by training, Inés also did photography studies, so she keeps looking for the ‘perfect shot’ everywhere she goes. She is passionate about women’s rights struggles both as a researcher and as a participant in what she views as the most successful revolution in modern history.
Advocacy & Campaigns
Advocacy and Campaigns
David Kode, Advocacy and Campaigns Lead, manages CIVICUS's advocacy and campaigns responses to issues affecting civil society and civic space across different regions of the world. David has worked with civil society groups in Africa and across the world for over a decade to strengthen resilience and responses to civic space restrictions. He speaks regularly on trends in civic space and civic space dynamics and publishes op-ed, articles and book chapters on civil society, the rule of law, elections and citizen participation.
Asma DARWISH is a passionate human rights defender of Arab-Persian origin, living in France. She has been actively engaged in the Arab Spring protests in Bahrain, her home country in 2011. She is an international advocate for freedom of expression, civil and political rights. Already written many articles and taken part in several academic papers, her strength lies in verbal and written communication. Throughout the years, Asma was and is still enthusiastically building NGOs’ strategies and advocacy campaigns.
A mother of two children + a cat + a dog + 30 plants, Asma speaks Arabic, English, French and Farsi fluently and is now taking the time to learn Spanish and Turkish.
Freedom of Peaceful Assembly
Benjamin Tonga is based in Cameroon andresponsible for building the StandAsMyWitness campaign, which advocates for the release of human rights defenders and protest leaders arrested for participating in peaceful assemblies. Benjamin has over 6 year experience in human rights monitoring, report and documentation; advocacy and campaigns; program design and implementation strategies. Benjamin is passionate about human rights accountability and civic space protection.
Finance and Compliance Coordinator
Since Februrayy 2020, Catherine Nakitende has woorked as part of the coordination team for CHARM. CHARM comprises of six consortium partners and her major role is to support the partners achieve their project objectives in areas of financial and grants management, budgeting, compliance and financial reporting. Catherine has over 20 years experience working with humanitarian organizations in Africa and beyond. She is passionate about economic empowerment, poverty alleviation, disaster and humanitarian relief.
Advocacy and Campaigns
Officer for Asia
Advocacy and Campaigns Officer for Asia, Cornelius Hanung leads CIVICUS’ advocacy and campaign initiatives related to civic space and fundamental freedoms in Asia. Based in Jakarta, he has a decade of experience working with various civil society working on human rights, particularly the rights of LGBTIQ community, in various functions in the Asian context. He is passionate about human rights and gender issues, and decolonising discourse about it.
Crisis Response Fund
Isabel Rosales, manages the project: Advocacy in Restricted Civic Space in Central America. The aim of this project is to co-create strategies to strengthen advocacy with human rights defenders from civil society organizations in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. She is a political scientist and holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the Universität Hamburg and the GIGA Institute of Latin American Studies. She specializes in migration, human rights, and civic space in Central America.
LGBTI Advocacy Lead/Advocacy and
Campaigns Officer/Crisis Response Fund
Mawethu Nkosana, Advocacy and Campaigns Officer/ LGBTQI+ Advocacy Lead, coordinates CIVICUS's LGBTQI+ advocacy responses, working with CSOs, social movements and activists across the world to counter the clamp down on civic space for LGBTQI+ groups/movements. Mawethu also works with the Crisis Response Fund, which provides urgent funding to civil society actors who are facing crises in freedom of assembly and association to conduct advocacy activities, or to respond proactively to threats to civic freedoms through resiliency activities. Based in Johannesburg. Mawethu is also a multidisciplinary creative and activist whose work intersects human rights, justice, healing and queer imaginaries/freedom.
Crisis Response Fund
Michaela holds a Bachelors of Administration degree in International Relations from the University of Pretoria, and is currently completing her Bachelor of Commerce in Business Administration at UNISA. Being an advocate for the empowerment of African youth, she is also a member of BRICS Youth, and a MINDS Alumini. In her role as Michaela provides content support and is the first point of contact for any Crisis Response Fund related queries. The administrative support provided branches throughout the grant management cycle and dissemination of reports.
Advocacy and Campaigns
Officer- Africa Lead
Paul Mulindwa is a governance and development practitioner, with a PhD in Politics and International Relations from the University of Johannesburg, majoring in Governance and Human rights studies. He holds MPhil in Policy Development and Practice from the University of Cape Town; MA in Human Rights from Makerere University in Uganda; and BA Philosophy from Pontifical Urbaniana University, Italy. Paul has extensive experience of about 20 years in governance, sustainable development, international relations, social justice, and peacebuilding in Africa. Paul has worked with various international and regional organisations and is currently working with CIVICUS as Advocacy and Campaigns lead for Africa.
Quality Assurance and Reporting
Patrick Dowan, Quality Assurance and Reporting Coordinator (CHARM), leads the CHARM programme's quality frameworks and systems (including M&E, gender and social inclusion, risks associated with programme activity etc.). Patrick is an enthusiastic and organised professional with experience in high level executive support roles in Research, Project Management and M&E for numerous interventions. Based in Kampala, Uganda, Patrick has worked across East and Southern Africa with different NGOs, CSOs and government of Uganda on several projects and programmes. Patrick is passionate about supporting the most vulnerable groups to improve their livelihoods and be able to participate in major decisions at national and international level.
Networks & Engagement
As the Networks & Engagement Coordinator, Shupikai Gwabuya supports implementing and developping CHARM by overseeing project partnerships and supporting partners. As the Coordinator, she leads in the design, planning and sustainability of CHARM. Shupikai has worked globally and in Africa supporting organisations, networks and consortia in capacity development, business development and programme management focusing on issues that include human rights, climate change, environment, education, poverty reduction strategies and civil society strengthening. Shupikai is passionate about working with institutions, networks, coalitions, and civil society in Africa by strengthening their capacity to deliver, support and lead in their areas of expertise.
Sibahle Zuma works on the CHARM project, which aims to empower partners to promote human rights and defend civic freedoms in Africa. Sibahle has worked in climate change advocacy and youth participation in public policy since 2014. She is passionate about human rights and international relations.
Anna Avagyan, Capacity Development Lead, manages capacity development efforts across the Alliance in a bigger effort to provide tools and resources contributing to strengthening civil society around the world. For more than a decade Anna worked with civil society organizations in different parts of the world offering her technical expertise in areas like advocacy, monitoring and evaluation, grants and project management.
Data for Accountability
Resilient Roots programme lead currently based in London, with over 10 years’ experience in international and UK civil society, working on issues ranging from organisational accountability and development to climate change and movement building. Previously an advisor to the CHARM-Africa Coordination Team and CIVICUS lead on the DataShift initiative. Joined the organisation from Stakeholder Forum, where he focused on engagement and advocacy around multilateral processes. Lover of music, film and the great outdoors!
Senior Research and
Research and Analysis
Civic Space Research
Marianna Belalba leads the Civic Space Research Cluster, which includes the coordination of the Civicus Monitor, an online tool that tracks conditions for civil society in 197 countries and territories. She holds a law degree from Andrés Bello Catholic University and an LL.M. in International Human Rights from the University of Notre Dame. Marianna has worked for over a decade for human rights organisations in the areas of research and strategic litigation, particularly on matters relating to freedom of expression and access to information.
Civic Space Research
Josef Benedict is a researcher covering the Asia Pacific region for the CIVICUS Monitor. Prior to this he worked with Amnesty International, leading campaigns on Southeast Asia and the Pacific including on civic space, police accountability, impunity and the death penalty. He has worked for over two decades on various human rights issues in the region.
Civic Space Research
Civic Space Research
Sylvia Mbataru, civic space research officer, is a human rights lawyer leading research on Eastern and Southern Africa, the Middle East, and Black Sea regions for the CIVICUS Monitor. She has worked with civil society for over a decade leading and supporting research and advocacy on diverse human rights issues including civic space, governance, children’s rights, and economic, social & cultural rights. Sylvia is a passionate and firm believer in human rights and social justice.
CIVICUS @ UN
Advocacy and Networks
Nicola Paccamiccio, Advocacy and Networks Officer, is part of the Geneva Team where he leads work related to the UPR process, while also maintaining special focus on freedom of peaceful assembly and association. Nicola previously worked both in the governmental and research sectors, always focusing on protection and promotion of human rights. Nicola’s ultimate goal and passion is ensuring decision-makers listen to the voices of the unheard.
Stephanie Louvier, Geneva Office Administrator, assists and supports the Geneva Hub in administration, finance and human resources. Based in Geneva, Stephanie has more than 20 years' experience around Europe. When she discovered the world of the NGOs, it sparked her interest and passion for working in the not-for-profit sector and she specialized in Human Rights NGOs administration management. She most recently worked with GANHRI where she had overall responsibility for grant management, programme planning, budgeting, financial reporting and internal controls. Stephanie is passionate about people in general and is trying to make the world a better place on her very own way.
Lerato Pagiwa, Communication Officer, facilitates the communications objectives of our membership, youth and International Civil Society Week teams in addition to managing our social media channels. Lerato's interest lie in exploring how current and future means of communication can be used to connect people in an increasingly globalised but disconnected world.
Kgalalelo Gaebee is a digital communications enthusiast passionate about human rights, social justice, and equality. She holds an MA Degree in Media Studies from University of the Witwatersrand. Before joining CIVICUS, she worked as a Programme Coordinator at Media Monitoring Africa, where she was involved in various programmes related to promoting ethical journalism, youth/children’s rights advocacy, research, and digital media literacy.
As a Liaison Officer, Tanya supports the networking and outreach activities of the Secretary General’s office. She works closely with teams coordinating CIVICUS’ external engagements – including advocacy, networks and media – to effectively harness and position the voice, presence and influence of the Secretary General in support of the aims and outcomes of the CIVICUS alliance. Based in South Africa, Tanya has spent the past few years gaining skills and experience in various communication media – including radio, social media and cinematography. She believes in using communication tools to give people around the world fair and unbiased access to information.
Matthew Reading-Smith, Communications Coordinator, supports the CIVICUS Monitor research platform, which rates and tracks the state of civic freedoms in 197 countries. Based in Spain, Matthew has worked for over 15 years producing communications on issues such as human rights, climate change, and clean energy. Matthew is passionate about harnessing citizen generated data to measure what matters.
Finance & Facilities
Carly May, Finance Manager, works with the Finance Department to meet the needs of the organisation, donors, members and partners. Based in the United States, Carly is a Certified Public Accountant who specialises in non-profit accounting. Prior to joining CIVICUS, Carly spent over 7 years as an auditor with a national CPA and advisory firm.
Lindiwe Moyo, Finance Manager, oversees the day to day running of the CIVICUS finance department. Based in Johannesburg, Lindiwe has a strong accounting background with extensive experience in various accounting functions in various accounting standards namely IFRS (for Republic of South Africa and Switzerland entities) and US GAAP (for the United States entity). Lindiwe is good and effective at multi-tasking, detail oriented with strong analytical and problem solving skills.
Head of People
Adele Manuel, Head of People, influences the people agenda encouraging teams to implement policies and practice at the heart of CIVICUS 's core values. Spanning twenty years’ experience working mostly across Africa, Adele's most exciting work has been in facilitating courageous conversations, finding the potential in people and processes to embrace diversity and inclusion, creating space in the organisation for people to innovate and spread bold ideas that work and ensuring that the people agenda is transformed into action that ensures collective wellbeing.
Impact & Accountability
Impact and Accountability
Tamryn is a passionate and seasoned Monitoring & Evaluation professional, constantly seeking opportunities that contribute to building equal and just societies. Tamryn leads CIVICUS’ Impact and Accountability team with a core mandate to coordinate org-wide planning, reporting and reflection processes; maintain M&E systems and strengthen M&E and learning capacity in order to help CIVICUS to understand and evidence our contribution to change.
Impact & Accountability
Faith is an Impact and Accountability Officer at CIVICUS. She works with our teams to build the learning and evidence case of our interventions by implementing CIVICUS’ Impact and Accountability Framework. Faith is passionate about justice, and brings with experience in program management, youth movement building, strategic facilitation, and governance research. Faith also serves as a Board Member for Africa’s first solar powered cinema network, Sunshine Cinema.
Innovation for Change
Innovation for Change
Mouna Ben Garga, Innovation for Change Lead, works on developing Human Rights-Centred Innovations that support civil society impact and collaboration. Mouna has over 10 years of experience in designing and managing civil society initiatives across the Middle East, Africa, and globally. Mouna is interested in empowering a new systemic dimension to ideas and collaborative innovation that ensure the resilience of CSOs in the face of complex challenges.
Program Quality and
Andrea C. Guardo, Programme Quality and Innovation Specialist, works on innovative practices for connecting programmes to the goal of strengthening civic action across clusters globally. Andrea has over 10 years of experience leading civil society, human rights, and rule of law programmes in Latin America, with a focus on locally led change. She is passionate about empowering civic eco-systems, involving diverse actors across sectors, to give new glances at problems, engage in new partnerships and try fresh solutions to drive social transformations at the intersection between development and peacebuilding.
Luisa Romero, Innovation Officer, works on mainstreaming innovation and enhancing innovation knowledge production and management in CIVICUS and the innovation for change network. Luisa has over 5 years of experience in designing and managing initiatives based on social innovation and entrepreneurship across Latin America and globally. Luisa is interested in empowering and supporting vulnerable communities to create initiatives for human rights and sustainable development.
Innovation and Communications
Safia facilitates communication and connection for CIVICUS’ curated network, Innovation for Change. She works to gather and share the myriad of ways that innovation and multi-sectoral input may be harnessed to bring about sustainable change towards a more equitable world. She cares deeply for social justice and works to support communities affected by civic space restrictions, be at the forefront of efforts to defend against these.
Membership & Networks
Carolina leads the Membership engagement work and serves as an interlocuter between the broad range of communities of practice, networks, projects, and programmes at CIVICUS, supporting horizontal and decentralised collaboration within the alliance. She has extensive experience working on engagement, movement building & growth in civil society and has worked at a local, national, and international level with a special focus on the ‘Global South’. She's passionate about the power of people getting together to co-design creative ways to enable dignifying life conditions for themselves and others, while shaping new narratives that challenge hegemonic and power structures.
Elisa manages CIVICUS Youth engagement workstream as an integral part of strengthening civil society and citizen action around the world. Elisa is a Colombian international development project manager and networks development specialist passionate to help individual activists and organisations to increase their impact, effectiveness, sustainability, and resilience to defend human rights, achieve long lasting change for their communities and advance joint social justice agendas.
Enhle Lucinda Khumalo, Youth Programme Officer. Enhle's core focus is the Youth Action Lab. Enhle delivers and coordinates youth programmes from inception to completion with the aim of reimagining youth participation by testing innovative approaches towards making the work of young grassroots activists more resilient and sustainable. Enhle is passionate about co-creating youth-led resourcing landscapes which are safe, inclusive, and progressive to enable programmes that cater to young activists' needs holistically.
Based in Nigeria. Ifunanya is a versatile and experienced young professional in Non-Profit, Administration and Management with over five years of experience developing and executing development projects and programs, shaping narratives and developing policies in sustainable practices, social inclusion and human rights across the globe. She is passionate about humanitarian aid, administration and diplomacy. Loves reading, listening to music and watching select movies. Ifunanya is mostly triggered by Goal 16 of UN SDGs, which calls for just, peaceful and inclusive societies.
Oriana Castillo is the Community Building Officer for Membership and Networks. She finds innovative models and tools for facilitating online community exchanges that enable peer, cross-sectoral and trans-local learning in multiple languages. Oriana has worked with marginalised communities and minorities worldwide to advocate for equality, diversity, and inclusion to contribute to strengthening civil society actors and promoting feminist leadership principles.
Civil Society Resourcing
Taís Siqueira coordinates the CIVICUS Solidarity Fund and is responsible for engaging, supporting, and building bridges between grantee-members. Taís has worked on strengthening citizen participation through political participation and activism since 2010, with a special focus on co-designing strategies to increase the capacities of CSOs, and managing networks of activists and social movements in/from Latin America. She is a feminist from Brazil and a strong advocate of rethinking the resourcing landscape for grassroots groups.
Tarryn, Database Development Officer, manages the CIVICUS CRM database of members and partners, all membership queries and processes. Members are what make CIVICUS Alliance powerful, as we stand together in solidarity working toward a more just and inclusive world. Tarryn is currently based South Africa. Tarryn's interests range from artivism, with poetry being the art of choice but not limited to this, sexual and reproductive rights, gender equality and all things data. Tarryn also has a passion for understanding society, it's people and influences. Tarryn enjoys working with others and learning about their experiences and how to work and grow together.
Operations & IT
My role is to provide IT services needed to achieve CIVICUS’s vision. This inlcudes supporting the effective functioning of IT infrastructure, management systems and information management tools. My role provides administrative support within the IT function and also contribute to various IT projects, i.e. supporting with the planning of the related IT infrastructure, assessment of applications and technology, formulating and presenting IT support solutions to staff and management.
Karen Webber works with the COO and in collaboration with all clusters to manage contracting and policy within CIVICUS. In addition, she updates, implements and coordinates systems development for operations-related processes. Karen is based in Johannesburg, and has a degree in counselling psychology, as well as varied experience in website development and technology. Karen's passion is systems and their application to streamline process.
Travel Liaison & Finance
Precious joined CIVICUS in August 2017 as the Travel Liaison & Finance Administrator. She has 12 years of wide-ranging experience in providing logistical and administrative support where she led the coordination of conference and workshop logistics, the management of flights, ground transportation and accommodation. Precious has worked for several NGOs including Freedom House Southern Africa.