With more than 20 years of experience in the humanitarian and development sectors Christian started his career as a UNESCO consultant in 1999 working on HIV/AIDS prevention programmes. Since then he has moved to different management and advisory roles with ACF, UNAIDS, Oxfam, Caritas, Crown Agents and CBM. Throughout his career he has lived in France, Philippines, Colombia, Mauritania, Senegal and UK, and supported programmes in more than 30 countries in Latin America, Africa, Middle East and South Asia.
For the past 3 years Christian has been leading CBM’s Federation Humanitarian Strategy as Humanitarian Director. He was recently appointed as co-chair of the Global Reference Group on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action (which includes about 50 UN/INGOs/DPOs agencies) alongside the International Disability Alliance (IDA) and UNICEF to help move the Humanitarian Global Disability Inclusion agenda forward. He lives in Oxford (UK) with his wife and 2 daughters.
Achayo Rose Obol is a female Ugandan with physical disability, a professional teacher as well as a social and community worker, who has experience in development work. She has worked at different levels of leadership within the National Union of women with disabilities of Uganda (NUWODU) where she is currently Chairperson of the Board of Directors. She has represented the voice of women with disabilities at different forums- local, regional and international conferences, and is a member of Network of African Women with Disabilities, a Board member of Disabled Women in Africa and a member of East African Disability Forum.
Rose has been an activist in the disability movement in Uganda for the last 20 years. She has been mobilising and empowering women with disabilities with information on their rights and advocating for their inclusion in women’s rights movement and disability movements at all levels, as well as in humanitarian emergencies. She has contributed to the inclusion of refugee women and girls with disabilities in humanitarian action and influenced gender and disability related policies in Uganda and regionally using the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Rose is passionate about meaningful participation, recognition and visibility of women and girls with disabilities in refugee settlements.
Andrew is the Country Director for MANEPO, a consortium of over 60 Civil Society Organizations in Malawi working on Ageing issues. Andrew also works with START Network as a Regional Advisor for East & Southern Africa (3 days/month).
Andrew has made several breakthroughs by being the first Civil Society Leader to lead an aggressive and successful advocacy for an old age pension scheme in Malawi, realizing that social protection floors are increasingly recognised as a necessary and effective approach to ensure the benefits of development are shared fairly, and no one is left behind.
In 2016, Andrew was one of the Founding Directors for Southern Africa Regional Age Network (SARAN). A regional body on ageing in Southern Africa aimed at advocating for appropriate, secure, sustainable, and predictable minimum social protection floors for vulnerable groups, like older persons, people with disabilities, etc, across the region.
Andrew was born in Malawi, graduated from the University of Malawi with a Bachelor of Social Science. He later earned his Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the Malawi Polytechnic, a constituent college of the University of Malawi. Andrew is currently pursuing a PhD in Development Studies.
Axel Schmidt is not too smart and a bit naïve, he still believes that a power shifting, people-centred, from voices to choices and inclusive humanitarian approach can make a difference. He often fails since he entered the sector 15 years ago, but tries his best as a human being, as ASB’s Emergency Response Coordinator, as a RedR Associate Trainer, Sphere Trainer and Focal Point Germany and ReflACTIONeer.
Corazon has been a staunch advocate of disability rights since the 1980s, as the President of women with disability, she saw the need to increase inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities in emergency preparedness, most especially after Haiyan devastated some parts of Cebu. She is from Cordova, a central part of Cebu, and witnessed the difficulties that person with disability, especially in Northern Cebu had experienced during and after the onslaught of Haiyan.
Presented with the opportunity in 2015, she joined province-wide conversations to determine the gaps and challenges during the typhoon Haiyan. Since then she has been actively engaging and has been a consistent partner in the Cebu Disability-Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction Network. It is a multi-stakeholders advocacy coalition aims to push forward for policies and actions that will ensure inclusion of person with disabilities in DRR process and structures. The network has been hailed as one of the pioneering initiatives for disability-inclusive DRR in the country. It continuous to gain wider attention both locally and nationally. It is the first network that strongly advocate for the integration of inclusion principles in DRR.
Aside from being network convener, she leads the pool of trainers on inclusive DRR. Together with the rest of the trainers team they have been providing technical assistance to local government offices in creating spaces and opening entry points for an inclusive lens in DRR.
Lana Snobar is the Coordinator of the Counseling Unit of Caritas Jordan since 2013 and has been working with the Institution since 2012. Her work is directly linked to implement psychosocial and protection programmes targeting Syrian and Iraqi refugees as well as migrant workers all over Jordan. Before joining Caritas she worked with Dr. Walid Sarhan Clinic in Amman as a psychologist.
Lana received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Jordan and is currently a master student on Clinic Psychology at Al-Ahliyya Amman University. She is interested in being a psychologist and trainer to be influential in her community. She holds both Jordanian and Serbian nationality.
Dr Maria Kett is Associate Professor in Humanitarianism and Disability in the UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Healthcare. An anthropologist by training, she has extensive expertise in disability- inclusive humanitarian responses, global health, human rights, climate change, poverty alleviation, and the consequences of social exclusion. Maria has undertaken research in countries across Africa and Asia, leading on a number of research programmes on disability and international development and is author of over 90 publications. She regularly serves as a consultant for numerous bilateral and multilateral donors, including the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the World Bank, the Australian Department of Finance and Trade (DFAT) and the United Nations.
Dr. Marion Staunton has been HelpAge International’s Humanitarian Inclusion & MHPSS Manager within the Humanitarian team based in London since December 2018. She has provided front line support to HelpAge International’s response to recent emergencies in Indonesia, Mozambique, and Malawi, working closely with country offices and network members to ensure inclusive programming response.
Marion has over 12 years’ experience in the humanitarian and development sectors in Asia, particularly in Sri Lanka. Before returning to the UK in 2015 she was the Senior Advisor (Asia) for the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture victims. From 2008 to 2012 she served as Chief of Party at The Asia Foundation, managing & providing technical support to their USAID and EIDHR funded Human Rights programmes. Following the 2004 Tsunami, Marion worked with the Emergency Response Unit of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) as Programme Manager focusing on MHPSS, protection and inclusion. Prior to joining IOM Marion was a VSO volunteer teaching in the University sector and providing technical support to national NGOs.
Marion has taught at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in Sri Lanka & Northern Ireland and has extensive experience supporting organisations through training and capacity building in MHPSS of frontline primary health care staff.
Mirela is a protection professional with 10 years experience in providing technical expertise and programming support, development and management on gender equality, GBV, accountability and inclusive programming in humanitarian and development contexts. Mirela works at CAFOD where she leads on the implementation of a Safe, Accessible, Dignified and Inclusive (SADI) approach, which brings together best practice in the sector on gender, inclusion, protection and accountability under one umbrella framework. She is currently also a member of the CARITAS Protection Mainstreaming Working Group, the IASC reference group on Inclusion of People with Disabilities and the GOARN working group on Community Participation.
Raya AlJadir is a freelance journalist and co-founder of the first Arabic lifestyle e-magazine of its kind, Disability Horizons Arabic. Her interests range from culture, TV social projects and initiatives, literature and art but her main focus is disability rights issues. A keen blogger, she launched Careless to raise awareness of life with a disability. She has also taught English to refugees and migrants as a volunteer at The Migrants Resource Centre and worked at both Amnesty International and Equality and Human Rights Commission.
Raya is an English degree graduate from Queen Mary, University of London, where she also read Renaissance Studies for Masters Degree and is currently researching for a PhD thesis entitled ‘The role of servants in political matters in Early Modern Drama’.
Sherin is an inclusion specialist with over 17 years of experience in disability mainstreaming for development and humanitarian projects. Sherin spent 8 years working with children with disabilities including shaping the strategic direction of disability inclusion for children 0 – 15 years old in Syria, concentrating on early intervention programming and change management at the ministerial level. From 2009 until 2015, she led and managed humanitarian responses in a number of organisations (implementing in 15+ countries) along with management of the teams in both UK and overseas.
In her capacity as a Protection and Inclusion Advisor, she has successfully led a change management programme for aging and disability inclusion in humanitarian action (ADCAP). Currently, Sherin is tasked to introduce change to organisational policies and strategies, project design, implementation and review. Much of this work focuses on the development of the organisational capacity, skills and knowledge needed to ensure the inclusion of people with disabilities and older people, and to ensure that no one is left behind.
As well as being a senior lecturer at Oxford Brookes University (UK), Dr Supriya Akerkar is on the university’s steering committee which leads the research theme Inclusion, Diversity and Gender. She has worked with people with disabilities and older people in humanitarian contexts and has expertise in critical disability and ageism discourses, and their implications for capacity building for inclusive humanitarian action. She was the research lead for the Age and Disability Capacity Programme (ADCAP) (2014-18) and co-authored The Good Practice Guide: Embedding Inclusion of Older People and People with Disabilities in Humanitarian Policy and Practices which captured ADCAP’s lessons learnt. She also reviewed the ‘Humanitarian inclusion standards for older people and people with disabilities’ another of ADCAP’s key learning outputs.
Dr. Akerkar has given expert inputs to UN led bodies such as UNDESA and WHO to further inclusion of older people and people with disabilities in humanitarian crisis, including the current and ongoing Covid-19 crisis. She is the founding member of the Disability Hub, Lebanon and has also worked with several international/bilateral development organisations including Action Aid International, DFID, HelpAge International, Islamic Relief Worldwide, advocating for the rights of socially marginalised groups.
Find out more about her research interests and current projects.
Dr. Veronique Barbelet is a political scientist by training with a particular interest in humanitarian policy, humanitarian negotiations with armed non-state actors, conflict and security, protection, gender-based violence and livelihoods. Previously she worked at Geneva Call and at the World Food Programme as a protection policy officer with a focus on humanitarian policy.
In the last two years, Veronique has led the Humanitarian Policy Group’s (HPG) research on capacity and complementarity between local and international actors and has written extensively on the issue of localisation. Veronique is currently leading HPG’s research on inclusion and exclusion in humanitarian action. In the past, Veronique’s research at HPG has focused on humanitarian access, refugee livelihoods and long-term solutions to refugee situations, as well as protection.
Waqar Puri is currently a Project Manager at STEP, the Special Talent Exchange Programme, based in Pakistan. He is also on the Steering Committee of Transforming Communities for Inclusion Asia Pacific (TCI AP), an Accessibility Consultant for the Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES) and an ICT Accessibility Group member for Pakistan Telecommunications Authorities (PTA).
Waqar is a BRIDGE Alumni from the BRIDGE CRPD-SDGs Trainings Initiative, as well as a member of the Pakistan US Alumni Network. He graduated with a BSc Hons in Economics, Beaconhouse National University, Lahore.
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