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Steering Committee

The Steering Committee is responsible for alignment with respective organisational strategies and quality standards, supervision of the programme manager, approval of reports and recruitment. A representative of both Oxfam Novib and Hivos have the authority and capacity to make decisions on key matters including the final say in appeals about grant decisions.

Steering Committee (Current members)

  • Rukia Cornelius

    “EQUAL - Championing Civic Space” Manager at Oxfam Novib


    Rukia is committed to anti-oppression work toward individual and collective care and wellbeing. Her organising centre’s a worker-class struggle, she believes in the power of those most disenfranchised to lead the fight toward lived freedom for all.  Over the past 25 years, she has initiated and or been part of several movements. Held Head of Programmes, Head of Operations and Executive Director positions across social justice sectors both in South Africa and internationally.  Holding a feminist political economy analysis, her work has most directly involved Access to Health for All, Health Financing, Feminist Economic Justice, Dignified work for women, Care, Food Sovereignty, Women’s Land Rights and Climate Justice.  Rukia is an experienced facilitator and enjoys developing learning resources - such as a recently co-created Feminist Influencing Basket of Resources.

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  • Tunggal Pawestri

    Executive Director of Yayasan Humanis dan Inovasi Sosial, Indonesia (Yayasan Hivos), affiliated with Hivos Stichting the Netherlands. 

    Tunngal is the executive director of Yayasan Hivos based in Jakarta, Indonesia that manages some programmes in Southeast Asia. She gives advice and facilitates programme design, provides technical expertise for capacity strengthening of different rightsholders groups, particularly in Indonesia and Timor Leste on gender equality, sexual rights, human rights and diversity issues. She is known in Indonesia as one of the women’s rights activists who actively advocates for gender and sexuality issues. Before she joined as the executive director of Yayasan Hivos in Indonesia, Tunggal Pawestri was Programme Development Manager on Gender, Sexual Rights and Diversity at Hivos Southeast Asia for 12 years (2009-2021). From 2006-2009, she was a programme officer on IRI Indonesia, facilitated capacity strengthening for women politicians. Before that, she was a programme officer on gender and election program at CETRO (Centre for Election Reform) in Indonesia. She regularly writes op-eds for a number of national newspapers and media outlets related to gender equality and sexual diversity issues. Tunggal has also co-produced three short films and one feature film related to gender, sexuality, and human rights. As part of her commitment to gender equality and the advancement of women’s rights, currently, she serves as one of the members of an independent team of Global Women’s Safety Expert Advisor of Facebook.

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Steering Committee (Previous members)

  • Nicolette Matthijsen

    “EQUAL - Championing Civic Space” Manager at Oxfam Novib

    Nicolette is currently the manager of “EQUAL - Championing Civic Space” unit at Oxfam Novib. She has a strong background in governance, gender justice and social inclusion. She developed expertise in planning, monitoring and evaluation of development interventions, programme/project management, multi-actor collaboration, project/programme development, capacity and leadership strengthening, strategic thinking, and partnership development. She is a leading member of several Oxfam International communities of practice (youth, transformative leadership for women’s rights, and sexual diversity and gender identity/expression).

    Between 1988 and 2014, Nicolette held various positions abroad and on different continents. For almost 20 years she worked with SNV Netherlands Development Organisations as Gender Advisor, Project and Programme Manager and Country Director in Ethiopia, the Netherlands, Bolivia, Bhutan, Albania and Laos. Additionally, she worked for HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation as the Country Director in Madagascar. From September 2014 she has managed Oxfam Novib’s programme in Yemen, Gender Justice projects, Youth projects and in 2021 she is engaged with Oxfam Novib’s civic space work.

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  • Will Janssen

    Director Open Society Programme, Hivos, Netherlands
    Will Janssen works at the Hivos Global Office as director of the Open Society Programme, including four themes: Transparency & Accountability, Freedom of Expression, Women's Empowerment and Sexual Rights and Diversity. Before she was director at the regional office East Africa (based in Nairobi) between 2007-2015, including Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya, implementing programmes in the Open and Green Society domain. From 2000 until 2007 she was Programme Manager at the DOEN foundation (related to the Dutch Postcode Lottery) for Sustainable Development worldwide, that promotes sustainable, social and cultural pioneers, believing in a green, socially inclusive and creative society; it supports innovators and brings them into contact with each other. DOEN operates by providing subsidies, loans and guarantees, small, medium or even large with a flexible approach.  Before that she was programme manager at Mama Cash for the worldwide programme. Mama Cash was the first international women’s fund in the world. They fund and support women’s rights initiatives around the globe that challenge the root causes of injustice. Will has a master in economic history (University of Nijmegen) and Social-Cultural Science (Free University Amsterdam.

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  • Catherine Essoyan

    Thematic Unit Manager, Governance and Financial Flows and Conflict and Fragility, Oxfam Novib, Netherlands
    Catherine Essoyan is currently leading two Thematic Clusters in Oxfam Novib focusing on Governance and Financial Flows and Conflict and Fragility. The aim of the Thematic Units is to develop multi country thematic programs with a strong emphasis on influencing to attract funding from institutional donors. Catherine has worked at Oxfam Novib based in the Hague since 1992 when she started as a program officer for the Middle East and Maghreb region. In this capacity she supported local development partners in Lebanon, Egypt, OPTI and Morocco working on human rights, women’s rights, workers’ rights and livelihoods programs. She was also active in supporting the humanitarian response of Oxfam and its partners to crises and conflicts in Gaza, Lebanon, and Syria. From 2003 to 2015 Catherine was a Regional Director at Oxfam Novib, first for Eastern Europe, Former Soviet Union, Middle East and Maghreb and then for Middle East and Maghreb when Oxfam Novib withdrew from the Former Soviet Union. Catherine has also had an active role in Oxfam cooperation since the mid 1990s when Oxfam Novib joined the Oxfam confederation. She has led the Middle East and North Africa regional governance group for Oxfam, promoting cooperation between Oxfam affiliates and partners in the MENA region in fields such as social and political participation and gender justice and women’s transformative leadership. Catherine has also played an important role in Oxfam advocacy efforts in relation the Israeli Palestinian conflict. She serves on the Steering Committee of the Oxfam Knowledge Hub on Governance and Citizenship. Prior to working with Oxfam Novib, Catherine worked for 10 years with the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), initially in relation to Lebanon relief and reconstruction work after the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon and later on legal aid and early childhood programs in the West Bank and Gaza. She then served as the Regional Manager for the MENA region for AFSC. Catherine was raised overseas as the daughter of a foreign correspondent, living in Moscow, Hong Kong, Cairo and Beirut as a child. She graduated from high school at the American Community School in Beirut and has a BA in Literature from Yale University and a MA in Middle East conflict resolution from Harvard University.

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