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.


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.

Rachel Aveyard is Programme Associate for Environmental Protection. Prior to joining the Trust, she was a Programme Manager at BBC Media Action. She has seven years of experience in research, policy and programme roles with experience in media development, community resilience, gender equality and human rights. She holds an MSc in International Development from University College London, and a BA (Hons) in Geography and Politics from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

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.

Kapil Gupta is Programme Associate for LGBTI Rights. Prior to joining the Trust he worked as a Projects and Information Officer at the Human Dignity Trust. He has global experience in strategic litigation and technical assistance on international human rights law, comparative constitutional law with particular focus on matters relating to LGBTI rights. He has also worked closely with civil society organisations, litigants, and governmental and inter-governmental bodies on matters pertaining to security and communications around human rights litigation in the Caribbean, South Asia, East and West Africa. He completed his MA in Human Rights Practice under the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship (2008-10) of the European Commission. He holds a bachelor’s degree in law from the National Law Institute University, Bhopal (India).

Janek Lasocki is Programme Officer for Human Rights with a focus on freedom of expression. Prior to joining the Trust, he worked on supporting human rights and civil society in Russia through capacity building and international advocacy at ARTICLE 19 in London and People in Need in Prague. Previously he worked as Advocacy Coordinator at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR). Janek holds a BA in Russian & History from UCL and an MSc in European Studies from LSE.

Tom Lee is Senior Programme Officer for Transparency and Accountability/Environmental Protection. 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.

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 Senior 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.


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.