© Claudia Ferreira - 2016

Our Board of Directors

AWID’s board members are drawn from a diverse constituency of policy makers, academics, researchers, activists, funders, practitioners, and business people committed to gender equality, mostly from the global South. The board is elected by the AWID membership through an open election process.

Nidhi Goyal

President

Nidhi Goyal is a disabled feminist from India. Working at the intersection of disability and gender. She is committed to changing the lives of women and girls with disabilities.

Nidhi’s work spans research, writing, training, campaigns, advocacy, and art. She is the Sexuality and Disability Program Director at the non-profit Point of View where she has researched and co-authored a pioneering online initiative : Sexuality and Disability — a comprehensive online resource on disability, gender, sexuality and violence. Extending the reach of this platform, Nidhi designs and delivers accessible trainings across India and across impairments. Nidhi also consults with a range of national and global womens’ and human rights organizations. She is a researcher for Human Rights Watch and serves as regular faculty at CREA Institutes on sexuality, gender and rights.

Nidhi has been actively advocating at policy and legislative levels in India to address issues of girls and women with disabilities. She works to raise the profile of issues at the intersection of disability and gender through op-eds, journal articles, lectures in national and international forums. Nidhi is also on the board of ‘Standing Tall’ – an Indian affiliate of Handicap International, sits on the advisory board of “Voice” a grant making facility by Dutch Ministry,  and has served on the international planning committee of AWID (Association for Women’s Rights in Development). Finally, she is a standup comic artist who uses humour to challenge prevalent notions around disability, gender and sexuality.

You can read more about Nidhi’s work @saysnidhigoyal.

Hakima Abbas

Co-Executive Director

Hakima is an African feminist who has been active in social movements for two decades. Trained in international affairs, her work as a policy analyst, popular educator, advocate and strategist has focused on strengthening and supporting movements for transformation.

Hakima is author and co-editor of various articles and publications, including Africa’s Long Road to Rights; From Roots to Branches: the African Diaspora in the Union Government; Aid and Reparations: Power in Development Discourse; Queer African Reader; People-led Transformation: African futures; and the Pan-Africanism and Feminism issues of Feminist Africa.

She was on the editorial collective of The Feminist Wire and is a member of the Jang! collective that provides popular education tools, platforms and accompaniment to activists working for radical transformation. 

She has served as a board member to Greenpeace Africa, the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Eastern Africa, the African Sex Workers Alliance and the Center for Citizen Participation in the African Union, and in advisory roles to several donor initiatives including UHAI – the East African Sexual Health and Rights Initiative, the Heartland Alliance and The Other Foundation.

Julia Ehrt

Julia Ehrt is the Executive Director of Transgender Europe (TGEU). In more than a decade of European trans activism, Julia has been central to TGEU’s development and growth, both as co-founder, member of TGEU’s Steering Committee (2005 – 2008), Executive Board and Co-Chair (2008-2011), and now as Executive Director (since 2011). She is widely respected as a trans leader in Europe and contributed significantly to how trans issues are perceived and debated today in Europe. As ED of one of the largest regional trans organizations she has worked with her colleagues in other world regions to increase trans visibility and build trans leadership in international spaces – in particular the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Since 2013 she has been involved in the development of the International Trans Fund and continues to serve on ITF’s governing body (Steering Committee). Before Julia got involved in European and international activism she has been active on the local and national level in Berlin and Germany since the early 2000s. She is a founding member of the Berlin based organization TransInterQueer and continues to volunteer for the German national trans network (Bundesverband Trans) in their advocacy group.

Julia studied Mathematics and Physics in Konstanz, Germany (1997 - 2000), Tel Aviv, Israel (2000 - 2001), Berlin, Germany (2001 - 2008) and Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2007) and worked as a scientist at the Humbold University until 2012. Julia holds a PhD in mathematics, lives with her partner and child in Berlin and considers herself a feminist.

Sara AbuGhazal

Sara AbuGhazal is a Palestinian feminist living in Beirut. She is a co-founder of Sawt al-Niswa, a collective that produces knowledge in Beirut. She is the co-director of The Knowledge Workshop, a feminist organization based in Beirut that works on feminist oral history and archiving. Sara is currently the Regional Coordinator of the Regional Coalition for Women Human Rights Defenders in the Middle East and North Africa.

Sara strives to help create spaces of feminist transformation and solidarity. Her work is mostly centered on building sustainable movements in the MENA region. She is invested in knowledge production, feminist transformation, and Palestine. She publishes regularly in sawtalniswa.org and her fiction also appears in Romman e-magazine.

Salome Chagelishvili

Salome is a feminist activist from Tbilisi, Georgia, devoted to social and gender justice. She holds a Master's degree in gender studies, and has been engaged in feminist, queer and green movements for the past nine years, working amongst others on issues of gender based violence, domestic violence, sexual and reproductive health and rights, LGBTIQ rights, and holistic and digital security and rights.

Since 2014 she has been actively working on safety and security issues of activists and Women Human Rights Defenders, providing integrated security and digital security workshops specifically for activists from under-privileged groups (queer persons, ethnic and religious minorities, rural women and girls, etc) as well as bigger feminist organisations. Salome is a member of the Independent Group of Feminists - a non-formal, non-hierarchical and non-registered initiative that unites feminists with diverse backgrounds in Georgia. Currently, she works with Women's Fund in Georgia, fully engaged in women's/feminist movement building, providing feminist funding, and encouraging local feminist philanthropy.

Claudia Montserrat Arévalo Alvarado

Claudia is a feminist psychologist with a Masters degree in Development Equality and Equity. She has been a human rights activist for 30 years, and a women’s rights activist for the last 24.

Claudia works in El Salvador as the co-founder and Executive Director of Asociación Mujeres Transformando. For the past 16 years she has defended labour rights of women working within the textile and garment maquila sector. This includes collaborations to draft legislative bills, public policy proposals and research that aim to improve labour conditions for women workers in this sector. She has worked tirelessly to support organizational strengthening and empowerment of women workers in the textile maquilas and those doing embroidery piece-work from home.

She is an active participant in advocacy efforts at the national, regional and international levels to defend and claim labour rights for the working class in the global South from a feminist, anti-capitalist and anti-patriarchy perspective and class and gender awareness raising. She is a board member with the Spotlight Initiative and its national reference group. She is also part of UN Women’s Civic Society Advisory Group. 

Elina Margarita Castillo Jiménez

Elina is a young afro-Dominican intersectional feminist and human rights lawyer, committed to use her voice and skills to build a more just, empathic and inclusive world.  She started Law school at 16, convinced it would give her the tools to understand and promote social justice. After a J.D. in the Dominican Republic, she pursued an LL.M. in Public International Law and Human Rights in the UK as a Chevening Scholar. She was the only Latinx-Caribbean woman in her class, graduating with honours.

Elina has worked at the intersection of human rights, gender, migration and policy, from government, grassroots collectives and international organizations. She helped litigate cases on gender-based violence before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. As a member of the Youth Advisory Panel of UNFPA, she contributed to strengthening sexual and reproductive rights in the Dominican Republic. She co-led Amnesty International’s first campaign on sex workers’ rights in the Americas, developing strong partnerships with sex-worker led organizations and using Amnesty’s position to amplify women human rights defenders and sex workers’ voices.

Elina is part of Foro Feminista Magaly Pineda and the Global Shapers Community. She speaks Spanish, French and English. Thanks to her diverse background, Elina brings strong governance and strategic planning skills, substantive expertise on the United Nations and regional human rights mechanisms and her bold determination to keep AWID as an inclusive organization for all women, especially young and Caribbean feminists. With these offerings, joins a global sisterhood of feminist badasses, where she can keep nurturing her feminist leadership and never again feel alone in her path. 

Cindy Clark

Co-Executive Director

Cindy is a US-based feminist with a passion for exploring how organizations can better embody feminist values and practice to build stronger movements. She has worked as a facilitator, researcher and strategist on diverse women’s rights and justice issues.

She joined AWID in 2007 as the Manager for the Where is the Money for Women’s Rights? Program, and has co-authored numerous AWID reports on funding trends impacting women’s rights organizing. In 2009 she became AWID’s Director of Operations & Programs and between 2014-2016 has been the Director of Organizational Learning and Strengthening.  

Prior to joining AWID, Cindy was one of the founding members of Just Associates, where she worked on a range of advocacy capacity and movement-building initiatives, drawing on methodologies of popular education and deep power analysis as the starting point for change strategies. Cindy has an M.A. in Human and Organizational Development, specializing in the study of change and learning processes in organizations.

Rakhee Goyal

Treasurer

Rakhee Goyal has been an advocate for the human rights, dignity, and empowerment of girls and women for three decades. Passionate about investing in education and value-based social change, she has pursued these goals in diverse contexts, from working within strong patriarchal cultures and STEM academia, to women's rights and international development NGOs, and most recently through helping found the social enterprise Appropriate IT.

She is advisory board member of Appropriate IT Development Academy (AIDA), which focuses on developing socially engaged young women leaders and empowering them to create economic wealth in depressed rural economies in India. Rakhee is former executive director of Women's Learning Partnership (WLP), a network of 20 organizations in 20 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, working to empower women to become leaders and secure legal, political, and social gender justice. During her tenure she provided institutional leadership in developing the organization's strategic priorities to directing daily operations, and managing the design and implementation of grassroots training and evaluation programs for women’s leadership and organizational capacity-building.

Rakhee's prior work experience includes: coordinating culture-specific human rights education and gender violence projects in South Asia and the Middle East at Sisterhood Is Global Institute; working on gender mainstreaming practices of development organizations at InterAction’s Commission on the Advancement of Women; developing awareness and prevention strategies for gender-based violence at ASHA for Women; and conducting policy analysis to promote basic education and primary health for the anti-poverty grassroots advocacy group RESULTS. She has co-created several non-formal education tools for women's empowerment and capacity-building, including Making IT Our Own: Information & Communication Technology Training of Trainers Manual published in Arabic, English and French.

Betty Barkha

Betty Barkha, from the Fiji Islands has been involved in human rights advocacy since she was 18 years old. Prior to completing her Master of Arts in Sociology, she worked with various regional institutions on human rights, gender equality, peace & security, youth inclusion and climate change.  She is currently serving on board with the FRIDA | Young Feminist Fund, Women Deliver Young Leaders Program and the Asia Pacific Alliance on Women Peace and Security. During a South-South learning exchange program with the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD), she worked extensively on Beijing +20 and Development Justice. Her current work involves research under the Australian National University’s Pacific Research Colloquium to understand initiatives undertaken by grassroots and indigenous women in the Pacific using traditional knowledge to support climate resilience. Being able to equip women with knowledge on how to connect with leaders and institutions for immediate action are priorities given the release of a new development agenda in 2015. At 24, Betty has worked with a range of communities in the Asia-Pacific region with academic experience in the Middle East nations of Iran, Oman and Jordan. Betty's passion drives her commitment to the advancement of women and she hopes that climate resilience initiatives will be successful in saving her island home and neighbours in the region.

Diakhoumba Gassama

A survivor of FGM, Diakhoumba Gassama is an anti-FGM feminist human rights defender, who has actively engaged in spaces like the Senegalese Council Women, the African Feminist Forum, AWID, FEMNET and the Research and Support Center for Development Alternatives.

Outgoing Vice President of the Reseau National des Jeunes Femmes Leaders du Senegal, she has more than 10 years of experience working for intergovernmental organizations in Africa, Europe, New York and Asia and the Pacific, following closely and participating in inter-governmental processes around sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), human rights, gender equality, inclusive democratic governance and development. This includes work with the UNDP and the African Union on gender, women’s rights, and SRHR. From 2014 to 2017, she has worked as an independent national and international Legal Advisor with governments, civil society organizations and UN Agencies on increasing women's political participation, their access to justice and realization of human rights (including SRHR) through legal reform in Africa, the Asia-Pacific and Arab States regions. Since January 2018, she has joined Amnesty International as the Regional Youth and Activism Coordinator for Africa.

A passionate panafropolitan feminist, war resister and defender of "all human rights of all", Diakhoumba is fluent in French, English and Spanish. She is a national of Senegal and Belgium and lives in Dakar, Senegal. She is a member of the RESURJ alliance.

Ruth Ojiambo Ochieng

Ruth Ojiambo Ochieng is an independent consultant and researcher, coach, and facilitator based in Uganda.  Her strength lies in building alliances and collaborative agendas between the marginalized, the elite, and the policymakers so as to challenge injustices, prejudice, taboos and stigma related to women survivors of violence in situation of armed conflicts. Ruth holds a M.A. in Communications Policy Studies and a B.Sc. in Information and Communication.

She has also undertaken several short courses in Gender, Facilitation of Organizational Development, advocacy and peace building and Conflict Resolution. During her tenure at Isis-WICCE, Ruth enabled the establishment of effective programmes that have amplified women’s voices and influenced post-conflict decision making and programming at all levels, in addition to supporting women’s leadership in communities affected by conflict and coordinating healing camps.

These processes led to the development of manuals centred on women’s human rights for use in training of activists and practitioners.  Ruth has authored many published papers and articles, and coordinated the development of an array of video documentaries on Women, Conflict and Human Security that have been instrumental in informing national, regional and international policies and frameworks. She serves on several boards including: the African Partnership for Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Women and Girls (AMANITARE), based in South Africa; the International Coordinating Committee of Women Human Rights Defenders (global); Centre for Domestic Violence (CEDOVIP), in Uganda.  She also serves on the Action Aid (Uganda) General Assembly.

Margo Okazawa-Rey

Dr. Margo Okazawa-Rey is Barbara Lee Distinguished Chair in Women’s Leadership and Visiting Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and of Public Policy at Mills College in Oakland, California. She is also Professor Emerita at San Francisco State University.

Her primary areas of research and activism for the past 25 years have been militarism, armed conflict, and violence against women, examined intersectionally. Professor Okazawa-Rey serves on the International Advisory Board of Du Re Bang in Uijongbu So. Korea, International Board of Peace Women Across the Globe in Bern, Switzerland, and Board Co-chair of Highlander Research and Education Center in New Market, Tennessee, USA.

Her recent publications include “Nation-izing” Coalition and Solidarity Politics for US Anti-militarist Feminists (in press); “No Freedom without Connections: Envisioning Sustainable Feminist Solidarities”(2018) in Feminist Freedom Warriors: Genealogies, Justice, Politics, and Hope, Chandra Talpade Mohanty and Linda Carty (eds.); Between a Rock and Hard Place: Southeast Asian Women Confront Extractivism, Militarism, and Religious Fundamentalisms (2018); “Liberal Arts Colleges Partnering with Highlander Research and Education Center: Intergenerational Learning for Student Campus Activism and Personal Transformation,” Feminist Formations Special Issue on Feminist Social Justice Pedagogy (2018).

Sarah Mukasa

Sarah Mukasa is a pan Africanist feminist with over 15 years’ experience in leadership and management at senior levels in the not for profit sector in Africa and Europe. She is currently the Deputy Director at the Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa where for the past 5 years she has strengthened the organisation’s support for feminist organizing in Eastern Africa. She has insisted on supporting local, autonomous organizing of women and gender non-conforming led initiatives with core support in order build institutional resilience.

She has also been pivotal in mobilizing support for continental feminist initiatives with OSF. Before joining OSIEA, Sarah was the Director of Programmes at the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) where she was instrumental in ensuring the growth of the organisation to become one of the largest women’s funds in Africa with a series of award winning and cutting edge programmes. Sarah has extensive experience in advocacy, policy development, resource mobilization, organizational development, programme management and movement building. She has written extensively on human rights, women’s rights, and is a founding member of highly influential initiatives such as African Women Leaders Institute and the African Feminist Forum.

Sarah has served on numerous boards and advisory bodies including the African Grantmakers Network, Akina Mama wa Afrika, Solidarity for African Women’s Rights (SOAWR), and the African Social Justice Philanthropy Group.