Trust Staff

Poonam Joshi is the Executive Director of the Trust. She has over 20 years' experience of working on a range of human rights issues. Prior to joining the Trust, Poonam was the Director of the European Office for Trust grantee the Fund for Global Human Rights, where she was also responsible for work on the enabling environment for civil society. Between 2010 and 2012 Poonam worked as a consultant to the Sigrid Rausing Trust, where she was Acting Director of the Women’s Rights programme and from March 2011 developed the Trust’s new grantmaking strategy for the Middle East and North Africa. She also worked for seven years with Amnesty International UK’s women’s rights programme, where she represented AIUK as a gender expert on a range of issues including political participation in Egypt and Libya, human trafficking in the UK, religious fundamentalism, and counter-terrorism. Poonam is a qualified solicitor, and began her career as a family and criminal legal aid lawyer in London. She holds a Masters in Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies, and a BA in English from Oxford University.

PROGRAMME STAFF

Beth Fernandez is the Trust's Director of Programmes. She has worked within human rights civil society organisations for ten years and has managed numerous human rights capacity-building projects in the Western Balkans, Eastern Europe and former Soviet Union. She joined the Trust from ILGA-Europe where she worked to support LGBTI organisations in conducting strategic human rights advocacy, monitoring and documenting violations, and planning for strategic litigation. Prior to that she worked for Interights where she managed training projects for lawyers on international human rights standards. She has also volunteered for refugee service and policy organisations. She holds a Masters degree from University College London in Human Rights, and a BA in Politics and Russian from the University of Leeds.

Maha Abushama is Programme Officer for Human Rights, with a special focus on the MENA region. She came to the Trust from Amnesty International's International Secretariat, where she worked for several years as a Campaigner on Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. Her responsibilities included leading on the development of campaigning and advocacy strategies to address human rights violations, including conducting desk-based and field research into specific human rights concerns and individual cases. Previously she was a Senior External Relations Officer at the Palestinian NGO the Youth Development Association, and an External Relations Officer for the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC). She holds an MA in Human Rights Theory and Practice from the University of Essex and a BA in English Literature and Translation from Birzeit University, Palestine.

Jo Baker is Programme Officer for Women’s Rights. Prior to joining the Trust she worked as an international human rights consultant with a focus on gender equality, violence against women and women in the criminal justice system. Her clients included organisations such as UN Women, Plan International, the Thailand Institute of Justice and DIGNITY – Danish Institute Against Torture, and she also acted as a Results-Oriented Monitoring expert for EU-funded projects. Jo first entered the human rights field as advocacy programme manager for the Asian Human Rights Commission in Hong Kong, where she had been working as a journalist. She holds an MA in Human Rights Law from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

Tim Cahill is Programme Officer for Human Rights. Prior to joining the Trust he headed Amnesty International’s Brazil team for over 10 years. During this time he did extensive work on issues including prisons and torture, indigenous peoples’ rights, slave labour, land rights, and threats and killings of human rights defenders. His main area of expertise is public security, social exclusion and human rights, leading him to devise dynamic new strategies to address systemic urban violence in Brazil and in Africa. Previously he worked at the Portuguese for Africa section of the BBC World Service. Tim has an MA in Political Science from the Institute of Latin American Studies at the University of London and a BA in Portuguese, Brazilian and African studies from King’s College London.

Tom Lee is Programme Officer for Transparency and Accountability. He was a Research Assistant in the strategy division of the British Red Cross, where he was involved in the implementation of an innovative research agenda. Tom holds a BA in History from the University of Bristol and an MA in East Asian Regional Development from the University of Leeds.

Nathalie Losekoot is Programme Officer for Human Rights with a special focus on Freedom of Expression and Human Rights Defenders. Before joining the Trust she led the Europe and Central Asia Programme of ARTICLE 19, with a particular focus on the protection of the right to freedom of expression and access to information in Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Russia. She has worked in human rights for over 15 years, starting as a volunteer for the Dutch section of Amnesty International and later working as a campaigner for Eastern Europe at Amnesty, before spending a number of years in Kyrgyzstan as the Bishkek Director of the Eurasia Foundation. She has an MA in Russian and Political Science from Leiden University and an MA in European Environmental Management from the University of Amsterdam.

Fabien Maitre-Muhl is Programme Officer for Human Rights, with a special focus on Transitional Justice. Prior to joining the Trust he worked with various organisations including Plan International UK, UNHCR in Cote d’Ivoire and the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Fabien also worked with various civil society organisations in Colombia where he did research on the guarantees of non-recurrence, the participation of victims in reparations processes, and the prosecution of the crime of forced displacement. Fabien holds an LLM in International Human Rights Law from the University of Essex.

Radha Wickremasinghe is Programme Officer for Women's Rights. She was the Programme Manager for Asia at Womankind Worldwide prior to joining the Trust. Previously, she was a Programme Manager at Christian Aid, managing their partnerships in Sri Lanka, India, Burma, Thailand and Cambodia. She was the Coordinator of the Dalit Solidarity Network UK, and a freelance consultant conducting research and evaluations of humanitarian and development programmes. She holds a BSc honours degree in Economics (Trade & Development) from the London School of Economics, and a post-graduate Diploma in Development Management from the Open University.

ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF

Elizabeth Wedmore is the Trust’s Chief Operating Officer. She came to the Trust from Bexley Heritage Trust, where she was Director, responsible for two Grade I listed houses and the museum collection. Previously she was bursar of a leading independent school in London, and Assistant Director of Dulwich Picture Gallery. She holds an M.A. in French and Russian from Oxford University and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.

Lucy Doig is the Trust’s Office and Communications Manager. Before coming to the Trust she spent five years as Senior Caseworker and Office Manager for Joan Ruddock, the Member of Parliament for Lewisham Deptford and a former Climate Change Minister. Lucy holds a BA (Hons) in Combined Arts from Durham University.

Sheetal Patel, the Major Grants Administrator & Finance Officer, previously worked at the emergency healthcare organisation MERLIN, where her job involved travelling to various conflict zones to train staff and evaluate Merlin's financial systems. Before that she worked at Imperial College, London. She holds a qualification from the Association of Accounting Technicians.

Zoe Rowlandson is the Trust's Programme Coordinator. Prior to joining the Trust she spent eight years working in the charity sector, including grantmaking foundations such as the Firelight Foundation where she was the Executive Assistant. Previous to that, she worked in the IT industry specialising in customer relationship software. Zoe is also a qualified Nutritional Therapist and holds a BSc in Nutritional Medicine from the University of West London.