Our Team

Esther Dingemans


Since 2000, Esther Dingemans has dedicated her career to the prevention of conflict-related sexual violence and ensuring quality care for survivors. She worked for UN agencies and NGOs in Guinea, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Darfur, Colombia and Syria, and managed major humanitarian programmes in the field of gender-based violence and gender mainstreaming. She led capacity building projects in other conflict-affected countries, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Specific areas of expertise include community-driven projects and processes, advocacy, holistic care for survivors and survivor-centred reparations.

Katrien Coppens


Katrien joined the Mukwege Foundation in 2019, and is responsible for strategic leadership and operational management of our team, and developing a strategic network of donor and partners. She has extensive experience in humanitarian aid and advocacy gained during more than two decades of work for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic Congo, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Iraq, Colombia and Haiti. She also served as Delegate Director for MSF Holland, and as interim-head of the department of International Humanitarian Law of the Netherlands Red Cross.

Debby Gruiters

Head of Operations

Debby joined the Mukwege Foundation in 2017, initially as Fundraising Manager and then as its Head of Operations, with responsibility for personnel, finance and fundraising. She has more than twenty years experience in institutional fundraising and project management, and a track record of supporting not-profit organisations to scale-up and develop their fundraising strategies, gained in Italy and the Netherlands. She specialises in international tender procedures and sustainable organisational development.

Dominique Vidale-Plaza

Senior Programme Manager

Dominique joined the Mukwege Foundation team in 2019 as a senior programme manager, responsible for the development of the holistic care international programmes. She worked at Panzi Hospital and Foundation in the DRC between 2011 and 2015 before joining the UN peacekeeping mission as a Women Protection Advisor, then UNICEF as a Child Protection Specialist. While with the UN, Dominique specialised in coordinating multi-sectoral assistance for sexual violence survivors, sexual exploitation and abuse cases and gender sensitive care for child ex-combatants. She is particularly interested in militarisation, civilian protection, post-conflict rebuilding and advocating for justice for victims of conflict related sexual violence.

Apolline Pierson

Programme Manager

After writing her master thesis on the access to reparations for victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Apolline started her career in the humanitarian sector focusing on the issue of conflict-related sexual violence. She spent some years in the field in Africa, including at Panzi Hospital in Bukavu (DRC) closely working with Dr Mukwege’s team. After kick starting the work of national survivor networks in DRC and Central African Republic, she now works as a programme manager in charge of the Mukwege Foundation projects linked to movement-building and amplifying the voices of survivors across the world.  

Raegan Hodge

Senior Communications Specialist

Raegan joined the Mukwege Foundation in 2019 as Communications Manager, responsible for creative campaigns, press, social media and the Mukwege Foundation’s communications strategy. Raegan started her career in the non-profit sector as a freelance videographer, commissioned by CARE USA to make a series of films in Afghanistan. From the rights of domestic servants in Guatemala to the cycle of hunger in Niger, Raegan has created over 40 media projects for CARE, UNICEF, USAID, World Animal Protection and Compassion in World Farming. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian, CNN, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and others.

Siobhan Richards

Fundraising Officer

Siobhan joined the Mukwege Foundation in 2018, and works as Fundraising Officer, responsible for institutional fundraising with foundations, governments and multilateral organisations. She has many years experience of both fundraising and grant-making gained in the UK and the Netherlands. Her diverse experience includes public-facing roles as a trainer and coach, managing partnerships and networks, and support and capacity building in the non-profit sector. Prior to her work for the Mukwege Foundation she worked for the Heritage Lottery Fund in the UK, and as a freelance entrepreneur in the Netherlands.

Maud-Salomé Ekila

Communications Officer

Maud is Communications Officer for the Mukwege Foundation and Panzi Foundation DRC, and joined the team in 2018.  She is a Congolese journalist and documentary-maker, and worked as a TV host for daily news programmes on different channels in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Prior to joining the team she worked for Dr Mukwege for several years, producing the documentary “The Hospital of Doctor Mukwege” in 2012, amongst other documentary projects.

Brynn Campbell

Office Manager & Project Assistant

Brynn joined our team in 2019, first as a Fundraising Intern and now as the Office Manager & Project Assistant, with responsibilities in human resources, financial administration, executive assistance, travel coordination, general administration & communications, event planning, and IT support. She provides operational and administrative assistance for the Mukwege Foundation’s ongoing projects. Her background is in criminal justice and forensics, and she has experience working in victim advocacy and non-traditional forms of justice, with organisations such as Women at the Courthouse and Justice for All.

Camila Fernandes Thomaz

Project Officer, Global Survivor Network

Camila joined the Mukwege Foundation in 2019, first as an intern, and then as a project officer for SEMA, the Global Survivor Network. She supports and enhances the development and growth of SEMA, with responsibilities for project oversight and implementation. With a background in international relations and diplomacy, Camila has experience working for international organisations such as the Community of Portuguese Language Countries and the Portuguese Permanent Delegation to the OECD.

Nicole Charalambous

Programme Manager, National Survivor Networks

Nicole joined the Mukwege Foundation team in 2020 as Programme Manager responsible for national survivor networks. She has several years of legal practice experience, including working on transitional justice matters in Canada and Côte d’Ivoire. She has worked on the design and implementation of large-scale reparations programmes in the context of domestic and international legal proceedings and has a keen interest in facilitating effective participation of victims in justice processes. 

Jacqueline Uwimana 

General Coordinator, Central African Republic 

Jacqueline joined the Mukwege Foundation team in August 2020 to implement a holistic care model consortium project in the Central African Republic.  She has more than 10 years of experience as a Gender-Based Violence specialist in conflict and emergency settings in, for example, Cameroon, Tunisia, Greece, Haiti, Mali, and Nigeria. She is deeply involved in actions and measures that aim to mitigate violence, break down barriers against survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, and create tremendous positive change for victims, especially women and girls.

Dr Issou MAZAMBI Earvin

Programme Director, Central African Republic

Dr Issou MAZAMBI Earvin joined the Mukwege Foundation in December 2021 as Program Director for Central African Republic (CAR). After completing his medical studies and beginning his career as a medical doctor in Burundi, he then transitioned to a humanitarian career. Dr Issou has 13 years of experience providing assistance to vulnerable people, including victims of GBV in conflict in emergency and humanitarian contexts. He has provided both managerial and technical expertise on projects regarding health, nutrition and especially GBV for internally displaced persons and local communities in countries including South Sudan, Burundi, Chad, Mali, Sierra Leone and Burkina Faso.

Esther Kimenju

Compliance & Projects Controller

Esther joined the Mukwege Foundation in 2021 as the Compliance & Projects Controller. She started her career in journalism in conflict-affected areas in North Eastern Kenya, where she interviewed and wrote articles on the socio-economic dynamics of internally displaced people, refugees, and female genital mutilation. Before relocating to the Netherlands, she worked for humanitarian organisations on first response post-conflict, living conditions of the marginalized, conflict prevention and gender-based violence. She has over ten years of experience in compliance and control of programmes and projects.

Prerna Bhagi

Project Officer

Prerna started her humanitarian career with the Mukwege Foundation in 2016 as an intern. She went on to work at the Panzi Hospital and Foundation in Bukavu in 2017, learning in-depth how the pillars of the holistic care model for survivors of sexual violence function. Between 2018 and 2020, Prerna worked with different international NGOs in the Horn and North of Africa, as a specialist on case management and referrals for high-risk populations, implementing care-sensitive programmes and setting up protection information management and cash transfer systems. With all these skills and experiences, Prerna is back at the Mukwege Foundation as of September 2021 as a project officer for the holistic care international programmes.

Shintya Kurniawan

Interim Communications Specialist

Shintya is a storyteller with passions for breaking stigmas and stereotypes and joined the team at the start of 2022. As an Interim Communications Specialist, she is responsible for developing the communications strategy to support the Mukwege Foundation’s advocacy and fundraising aims. Her former experience in journalism and creative content development have led her to campaigning for social change in Southeast Asia and Europe on a range of topics such as climate justice, gender equality, and disaster preparedness. Organisations that Shintya has served with her creativity include WWF, World Vision, ASEAN, Refugee Radio Brighton, Rutgers WPF, Plan International, World Food Programme, and IFRC.

Olivier Vanderveeren

Special Assistant to Dr. Mukwege and Advocacy Officer

Olivier joined the Mukwege Foundation in January 2020, and is responsible for carrying out advocacy work, particularly in respect to the justice and accountability pillar of the Foundation. He has more than 10 years of experience in the field of human rights, including in peace missions in the DRC, in Afghanistan and in Mali. Prior to joining the Mukwege Foundation, he was special assistant to Dr. Mukwege.

MONUSCO Peacekeepers Return to Panzi Hospital Amid Threats Against Dr. Denis Mukwege

Dr Denis Mukwege

Special Adviser

Dr Denis Mukwege is a world-renowned gynaecologist and human rights activist from east DRC. He received the Nobel Peace Prize for his global efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war. He founded Panzi Hospital and Foundation, and has become the world’s leading specialist on treating survivors of wartime sexual violence.

“We all have the power to change the course of history when the beliefs we are fighting for are right.”

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