International Advisory Committee (IAC)

BRIDGE works closely with the BRIDGE International Advisory Committee (IAC), a network of representatives from non-governmental organisations, academic institutions, networks and donor organisations, all committed to gender equality and social justice. They work in a variety of areas and regions and in many different languages.

They advise BRIDGE on various issues, including strategic direction, thematic areas to focus upon, regional content and influence, marketing/dissemination, networking and impact.

IAC Members

Photo of Anita Gurumurthy

Anita Gurumurthy

IT for Change (, India

Anita is a founding member and executive director of IT for Change, an India-based NGO that works at the intersection of rights, social justice and digital technologies. Anita draws upon Southern feminist critiques of mainstream development and visions of transformative change to inform her work in the information society arena. Through her work at IT for Change, Anita has attempted to promote conversations between theory and practice in contemporary feminism, especially from the standpoint of marginalised women's citizenship in the network society. Anita is currently leading a multi-country action research project that employs the possibilities of network society for bringing marginalised women to the centrestage of local governance process. She is also working on a book published by Zubaan Books which explores questions of democracy, gender and citizenship in the Information Society. Anita is part of many advisory groups; she serves on the Board of ISIS International – Manila and is part of the National Resource Group of the Mahila Samakhya women's empowerment programme of the Ministry of HRD, Government of India.

Languages: Tamil, English, Hindi

Cecilia Sardenberg

Interdisciplinary Women's Studies Nucleus at the Federal University of Bahia (NEIM), (, Brazil

Cecilia is a Brazilian feminist, academic and activist. She is the director and a founding member of the Nucleus of Interdisciplinary Women's Studies (NEIM) at the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA).

Languages: Portuguese, English, Spanish, and French

Claudia Gimena Roa

Director of Fundaexpresion (, Colombia

Claudia is currently the director of Fundaexpresion, a cultural and environmentalist NGO that works together with rural and urban communities, women's groups and youth on issues of food sovereignty, community forest reserves, agroecology, local markets and climate change. She has also been involved with inter-cultural dialogue and campaigns on seeds, women and climate justice and the defense of water, and is also a gender expert in different international scenarios. Video-clips on community work:

Languages: Spanish, English

Claudy Vouhé

Director of Genre en Action network, Francophone countries

Claudy has been involved in gender since the early 90s.She worked with women returners and local employment in the UE, before spending 6 years with Unicef-Namibia on women’s economic projects. She then joined the “gender policy and planning” program of the Development Planning Unit (UCL London) for 5 years. When she returned to France in 2002, she co-founded the francophone network Genre en Action and became its President when it became an NGO in 2009. She is a consultant and trainer who works with bilateral and multilateral agencies, mainly in West Africa.

Languages: French, English, Spanish

Emily Esplen

OECD DAC Network on Gender Equality (GenderNet), (, France

Emily has just joined the OECD DAC GenderNet as Policy Analyst on gender equality and women’s rights. Previously she was Policy and Advocacy Manager at Womankind Worldwide, the UK’s leading international women’s rights organisation working in partnership with women’s rights organisations around the world. She is on the advisory board of the UK Gender and Development Network and co-chairs its violence against women working group. She was formerly with One World Action, a feminist NGO working with women facing multiple forms of discrimination. Before this she spent four happy years working at IDS in the BRIDGE team, where she led the work on gender and care and set up the gender and social movements programme, as well as collaborating with other IDS fellows on debates around ‘politicising masculinities’ and gender and sexuality. She holds degrees in social anthropology from the universities of Cambridge and London.

Languages: English, Swahili

Feng Yuan

Media Monitor for Women, China

Feng Yuan has been involved in research and action on women's rights/ gender issues, and development of civil society since the middle 1980s. From 1986-2006, she worked as a journalist with the People's Daily, China Women's News (daily), and in 1995 she co-founded several NGOs and initiatives, such as the Media Monitor Network for women, the Beijing-Tianjin Facilitators' Team on Gender and Development, and the Anti Domestic Violence Network. She is now the Chairperson of the Anti Domestic Violence Network, and a member of the China Women's Research Society. She is the author and co-author of many publications.

Languages: Chinese, English

Françoise Mukuku

Founder of Si Jeunesse Savait (, DRC

Françoise is an independent consultant evolving at the Amazon Consultancy office based in Kinshasa, in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and works mainly in the Great Lakes Region and Central Africa (Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Central African Republic, Chad, Gabon and Republic of Congo). She is specialized in Research, Communication, Organizational Management, Leadership, Advocacy and Events Management. She holds 10 years’ experience as a journalist and leader of communication for several international humanitarian organizations. Engaged activist of the rights of the women, she uniformly animates formations in the domain of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Agency and Voice, Communications and is passionate particularly on the intersections that exist between development, human rights and social justice. Key recent work has involved: Program to support networks of women of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC WNSP) with the feminist exchanges of technology, organized to Cape Town (South Africa in October 2010); FAHAMU Network for Social Justice Movement Building Boot Camp (MBBC) for Francophone East Africa held in Bujumbura, Burundi in June 2011 to January 2012. Françoise has also supported a DRC Country Campaign "Ending Violence against Women in DRC" launched in Kinshasa in November 2010. In 2008-2011; she was also the Central Africa Focal Point for Akina Mama wa Afrika that supported the rolling out of an AMwA// Dutch MDG3 Fund Continental Programme and Campaign on Sexual and Gender Based Violence . She is coaching 9 organisation based in Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi in organisational development with UHAI-EASHRI.

Languages: French, English

Grace Ruvimbo Chirenje

Zimbabwe Young Women's Network for Peace Building (, Zimbabwe

Peace activist, Grace heads the Zimbabwe Young Women's Network for Peace Building project. This project focuses on issues of women's participation in politics, democracy, literacy & skills training, & works mainly in rural communities in Zimbabwe. Grace Chirenje is the Director of the Zimbabwe Young Women’s Network for Peace Building. She is a passionate and outspoken advocate for young people, especially young women. Recently she was selected to participate in the Young African Women Leaders Forum in South Africa.

Languages: English

Hazel Reeves

Gender consultant, UK, former BRIDGE manager

Languages: English; Spanish, French

Henry Armas

Chief of the International Cooperation Bureau, Ministry of Education, (, Peru

Languages: Spanish, English, Portuguese, French

Islah Jad

Women’s Studies Institute, Birzeit University, ( Palestine

Islah, a feminist, a researcher in the field of gender and distinguished academician, has played a significant and distinguished role in the Palestinian women's movement through the research conducted in her doctorate thesis on the evolution of the women's movement. She worked to strengthen the capacities of women, academics and students regarding research methods in women's issues, and taught at the Department of Cultural Studies. She also participated in campaigns and community committees, such as the National Palestinian Academic Boycott and in numerous workshops on specialized national issues that concern the Palestinian community. She is currently the Director of the Institute of Women's Studies, which she founded and chaired during 95-96.

Languages: Arabic, English, French

Juliet Were

Isis-Women’s International Cross Cultural Exchange (Isis-WICCE), (, Uganda

She coordinates the Research, Monitoring and Evaluation programme at Isis-WICCE (an international women’s organisation working in post conflict communities). She has undertaken research and documentation on women’s rights in situations of armed conflict as well as women’s participation in post conflict reconstruction in Uganda, Liberia, South Sudan, Burundi Sierra Leone and Nepal. She has also coordinated 4 medical and healing interventions in Uganda, Liberia and South Sudan that have enabled women and men with sexual, reproductive and mental health problems access treatment, surgery and counselling. She is also board member at Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) - Uganda and Women United for Sustainable Development (WOMSUD)- Liberia, and a member of the Association of Progressive Communication – Africa Women (AAW). She holds a MA in Development Studies, Bachelor of Library and Information Science and a Post Graduate Certificate in Research Methodology.

Languages: English

Lenka Simerska

independent consultant and evaluator for gender issues in Central and Eastern Europe, Czech Republic

Languages: Czech, Slovak, English, German, Russian

Marcos Nascimento

Instituto Fernandes Figueira (Fiocruz) (, Brazil

Marcos has a PhD in Collective Health and is part of the research team at National Institute of Women´s Health at Fiocruz - Fundação Oswaldo Cruz. He is former Executive Director of Instituto Promundo (Brazil) and has done extensive work on gender, sexuality, masculinities, and violence in Latin America. He is associate researcher at Latin American Center on Sexuality and Human Rights and member of the Brazilian Men´s Network for Gender Equality.

Languages: Portuguese, English, Spanish

Patrick Welsh,

Founder of Grupo de Hombres contra la Violencia, Nicaragua

Patrick has been involved in social change and community development in Nicaragua since the mid-1980s, first working in popular education in rural areas affected by the Contra War. He then worked with Nicaraguan NGOs, the Centre for Popular Communications and Education (CANTERA) and the Association of Men Against Violence, which he is a founder member, in the development of participatory methodologies for gender training and awareness raising with men. He has worked as a freelance consultant since 2003 supporting the initiatives of other organizations interested in ‘the masculinity issue’ and in working directly with men in several other countries in Central and South America, Africa, and Europe.

Languages: English, Spanish; French, Portuguese

Pinar Ilkkaracan

Women for Women’s Human Rights (WWHR), (, Turkey

Pinar is a researcher and activist trained both in psychotherapy and political science. She is the founding president of Women for Women’s Human Rights (WWHR) – NEW WAYS and co-founder of the Coalition for Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies (CSBR), a network of 40 leading academic and non-governmental organizations from Muslim countries in the Middle East, North Africa and South/Southeast Asia. She has initiated and coordinated successful campaigns for various legal reforms in Turkey, including the enactment of the law on domestic violence (1996-1997) and the reform of the Turkish Penal Code between 2001 and 2004. She has participated in many United Nations conferences and meetings, both as an activist and as a member of the Turkish governmental delegation. She is the editor of Women and Sexuality in Muslim Societies (translated into Arabic and Turkish), Deconstructing Sexuality in the Middle East and The Myth of the Warm Home: Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse. Ilkkaracan received the prestigious International Women’s Human Rights Award of the Gruber Foundation in 2007.

Languages: Turkish, English, German

Reetu Sogani

Community Awareness Centre, India

Reetu has been working in the remote areas of Middle Himalayan ranges, in India, with the gender, participatory and the rights based approach for the last 15 years on the issue of People’s rights over their Resources and Knowledge system and protection of Cultural and Biological diversity. This work is being done very closely with the Women, Indigenous communities and the marginalized, at the grassroots level an also with various small local rural based organisations. In addition, Reetu has been working at the Policy Advocacy level to mainstream the issue of People’s Knowledge and their rights in the policies and programs of governance particularly related to Community Food and Nutrition security and Climate Change. .

Besides this, Reetu works to mainstream, sensitize and build up the capacity of the organizations on the issue of Gender, Food Security, Climate Change and Sustainable Livelihoods. She has written several articles which have been published in books and journals. She has presented papers on various aspects of Traditional Knowledge including Food Security/ Sovereignty, Climate Change in various National and International conferences.

Languages: English

Rudo Chigudo

Katswe Sistahood (, Zimbabwe

Artist and feminist activist, Rudo is Sexual Rights Coordinator at Katswe Sistahood

Languages: English

Ruth Mumbi

Bunge la Wamama, Kenya

Ruth is a passionate community organizer and a human / women rights defender. She is the founder and current national coordinator of Bunge La Wamama Mashinani (Grass-root Women Parliament in English), a social movement enabling grass-root women in informal settlements to engage with each other, have access to education, information and training opportunities. Bunge La Wamama is also a platform that advocates for social justice, gives voice to the voiceless and amplifies the struggle of marginalized communities. In 2013, she was nominated for the Front Line international Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk, which recognizes outstanding contributions made by human rights activists. She was one of six nominees selected from a total of 100 nominations across the world. She is also the alumni member of FLAMBI 2010 (Feminist Leadership and Movement Building Institute 2010) that was held in Kampala Uganda jointly organized by AMWA (Akina Mama wa Afrika) and CREA. Ruth was born and brought up in Kenya’s second largest informal settlement Mathare Valley slum in Nairobi where most people not only survive on less than a dollar a day but face human rights concerns like spousal violence and child abuse, inadequate housing and sanitation, and poor access to social security, education, and health services including reproductive health care.

Languages: English

Sandra Ljubinkovic

Anti-Trafficking Centre, Serbia

Sandra is a feminist activist with a professional background in feminist counselling, gender based violence, and trafficking in women and children and advocacy work for women’s human rights and the rights of marginalized groups (sex workers and LGBTIQ). Sandra draws her extensive knowledge and experience from advocacy campaigns, community organizing, managing organizations, local and regional anti-trafficking networks and networking with other women’s organizations working on gender based violence and women’s rights. Having been working on women’s human rights framework, today Sandra’s work is focused on mobilizing local resources (CSR) for women’s advocacy campaigns and connecting local philanthropists with women’s organizations throughout Serbia .

Languages: Serbo-Croatian, English, Macedonian, Russian

Simel Esim

International Labour Organisation (ILO), (, Geneva

Simel is a political economist, working in social and economic development for the past 20 years. She is the Chief of the Cooperative Branch at the International Labour Organization in Geneva. From 2004 to 2012, she was a Senior Regional Technical Specialist in the ILO Regional Office for Arab States, based in Beirut, Lebanon. Prior to the ILO, she worked in the International Center for Research on Women, Development Alternatives, Inc. and the World Bank. She has policy advocacy, operational research, institutional capacity building, technical assistance, program management, and M&E skills. She worked on informal employment, women’s economic empowerment, cooperative and enterprise development, labour migration, and financing for gender equality (including gender responsive budgets). She collaborated with government agencies, parliaments, trade unions and employers' organizations, cooperative institutions, NGOs and UN agencies.

Languages: Turkish, English, Italian, Spanish, Arabic