Gaye Sowe

Executive Director (The Gambia)

Gaye has risen from the ranks of Legal Officer, Senior Legal Officer to Director of Programs, and has spent more than twelve years in IHRDA.

Having gathered an incredible wealth of experience in litigation, capacity building and advocacy at domestic and regional levels up his sleeve, Gaye is the resident law reference, especially in common law, constitutional, criminal and non-discrimination law.

Gaye has done trainings and presentations on different areas of international human rights law with judiciary and law enforcement officials, as well as lawyers and human rights activists, in Africa and beyond. He is an Expert Member of the ECOSOC Working Group of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and has made significant contributions in developing the jurisprudence of various African human rights mechanisms.

Gaye was called to the Nigerian and Gambian Bars in October and November 2000 respectively. He worked with the Gambian Judiciary as a Principal Magistrate and Acting Judicial Secretary prior to joining IHRDA. He is Adjunct Lecturer of Criminal Law at the University of The Gambia and was lecturer of Criminal Procedure at the Gambia Law School. He studied at the University of Essex’s International Human Rights Law programme (LLM), at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife (LLB Honours), and at the Nigerian Law School (BL).

Edmund Foley

Director of Programs

Edmund holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Ghana, and a Master of Laws in Human Rights and Democratization in Africa from the University of Pretoria (South Africa), and has been a lawyer for over 15 years.

Edmund had previously worked at IHRDA from 2007 to 2011 as a Legal Officer, and took the lead on the Nubian children’s case which was the first case to be decided on the merits by the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.

Edmund has occupied several other professional positions in Ghana, such as Lecturer of jurisprudence, ECOWAS, criminal, human rights and administrative law, as well as public sector legal and regulatory framework. He has also been an associate in some leading Ghanaian law firms, contributing to their successes in landmark cases in constitutional, human rights, property and commercial law. In addition, from 2005 – 2007 he served as Project Coordinator for the Ghana Police Accountability Project of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, where he led advocacy for the appointment of the constitutionally-mandated Police Council in Ghana. He was equally a researcher at the Constitutional Court of South Africa and a Technical Advisor on Children at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in Ghana.

Edmund has also published several articles on human rights and legal issues.

Amie Njie

Head of Finance and Administration (The Gambia)

Amie holds a Master of Science Degree (MSc) in International Accounting and Finance from Liverpool John Moores University in the United Kingdom. She is a dedicated and result-oriented person with a wealth of experience in the Accounting/Auditing profession. Prior to joining the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa in January 2015, she worked with the Gambia Civil Aviation Authority from 1996 and rose through the ranks to the position of Director of Internal Audit.

Eric Bizimana

Legal Officer (Burundi)

Eric holds an LLB in law (Diplôme de Licence en Droit) from the University of Burundi and an LLM degree in Human Rights and Democratization in Africa from the University of Pretoria. Former teacher of law, advocate within the Burundi Bar Association and collaborator with Avocats Sans Frontières, Eric brings with him an experience in litigation, legal research and drafting legal documents. Prior to joining the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa in February 2015, he was serving as a Legal Assistant at the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

Désiré Bigirimana

Legal Officer (Burundi)

Désiré holds an LL.B from Université Lumière de Bujumbura, a B.A in English Language and Literature from Université du Burundi, a Diploma in French Language from Centre International d’Etudes Pédagogiques in Sèvres (France), a Certificate in African Studies from Arcadia University (USA) and an LL.M from University of Dar es Salaam. He is a member of Burundi Bar Association.

Désiré served as a Legal Advisor in the Ministry for Local Development in Burundi and as a Legal Assistant at the East African Court of Justice in Arusha/Tanzania. He worked with and trained women’s associations that advocate for women’s rights in Burundi.

Prior to joining IHRDA, Désiré was an Associate at Rubeya and Co-Advocates. He was also serving as an Assistant Lecturer at Université du Burundi, Université Lumière de Bujumbura and Université du Lac Tanganyika. He brings with him an experience in litigation, training and drafting legal documents.

Oludayo Fagbemi

Legal Officer (Nigeria)

Oludayo holds an LLB in Law from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria and a Masters in Public International Law from the University College London. He is a member of the Nigerian Bar.

Oludayo has had stints working with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the International Centre for the Legal Protection of Human Rights (INTERIGHTS). He has also worked in private law practice in Nigeria at the Law offices of Adesanya and Akisanya, and R. A. Ogunwole SAN and Co. Prior to joining the IHRDA in February 2015, he was with the Rivers State Ministry of Justice in Nigeria.

Djeugoue Brice Martial

Publications and Communications Officer (Cameroon)

Djeugoue Brice Matial has a MA in Media and Communications – Global Media, from International Telematic University UNINETTUNO in Italy. He worked for 9 years as Head of Communications and Programmes at Centre for Assistance to Justice and Animation for Development (CAJAD, Cameroon), before joining IHRDA. He has a wealth of experience in matters of communication and publication within the context of human rights and development.

Fatmata Jangana

Finance and Administrative Assitant (The Gambia)

Fatmata Jangana holds a BSC in Accounting from the North Carolina State University. She’s a seasoned Accountant with experience in both private and public sector accounting. Prior to joining IHRDA, she worked as a Project Accountant at GIEPA and an Auditor at DT Associates.

Modou Sowe

Finance and Administration Clerk (The Gambia)

Modou Soweodou, the second Mr Sowe at the office, joined us as an intern in July 2009 and became permanent staff in May 2010. Modou handles our day-to-day financial transactions and acts as a liaison with our service providers. He assists the staff with filing and coordinates the security of IHRDA premises. Modou previously worked at Emkay Stores in 2009.

He studied for his foundational certificate in IT at West African Educational Trust and a certificate and diploma in Infomation Processing at Gambia Techinical Training Institute (GTTI).
Désiré served as a Legal Advisor in the Ministry for Local Development in Burundi and as a Legal Assistant at the East African Court of Justice in Arusha/Tanzania. He worked with and trained women’s associations that advocate for women’s rights in Burundi.

Prior to joining IHRDA, Désiré was an Associate at Rubeya and Co-Advocates. He was also serving as an Assistant Lecturer at Université du Burundi, Université Lumière de Bujumbura and Université du Lac Tanganyika. He brings with him an experience in litigation, training and drafting legal documents.

Penda Sowe

Receptionist / Records Clerk (The Gambia)

Penda holds a Diploma and Advanced Diploma in Banking and Finance acquired from the Management and Development Institute (2008-2009); she has a Junior and Senior Secondary School Leaving Certificate acquired from Saint Augustine’s Junior Secondary School (2002- 2005) and Saint Joseph Senior Secondary School (2005-2008). She has the ambition to pursue a Bachelors Degree in Banking and Finance hence, and contribute to the advancement of banking. Prior to this position, Penda served for about 2 years as Finance and Admin Fellow at IHRDA. She likes listening to music, watching TV, going to the beach and spending time with her family.

Cheikh Omar Bassene

Messenger/Cleaner (Senegal)

Cheikh (fondly pronounced as an elongated ‘sheeeee’), personifies patience at IHRDA. Adept at working the bureaucracy of many offices, Cheikh weathers through the drudgery of long queues and frustration of bureaucracy to ensure IHRDA’s written communications reach appropriate desks in Banjul.

For a first time visitor or new staff, Cheikh’s bright smile and endearing helpfulness will welcome you at Yundum Airport. Together with Fatou and Tamba, Cheikh forms an important part of our institutional memory.Cheikh speaks French, English and some Spanish.

Tamba Conteh

Office Attendant/Cleaner (The Gambia)

Having joined Alpha and Julia in 1997, Tamba is currently the longest serving staff member, even predating the formal founding of IHRDA. Tamba serves as messenger and maintains our alternative power systems, and keeps our documentation centre clean and tidy.

An innovative support staff member, Tamba has been instrumental in the building and follow-up of two of IHRDA’s cases, 249/02 IHRDA (on behalf of Sierra Leonean refugees in Guinea) v Guinea and 292/04 IHRDA (on behalf of Esmaila Connateh and 13 others) v Angola. Tamba speaks an astounding 7 languages: English, his native Sarahule, Wollof, Mandinka, Jola, Fula and Bambara.

Sukuta Manneh

Gardener (The Gambia)

Without Sukuta, we would have a backyard instead of a garden.

Sukuta knows his plant varieties by name, sight, texture and optimal seasons and serves as compound overseer. Sukuta has created a more peaceful and fresh surrounding that bring out the unique beauty of nature, and the core essence it plays in human development.

Sukuta worked with Radville Farms for 11 years and studied at General Agriculture at Gambia Technical Training Institute (GTTI).

Fatou Faye

Cleaner and Cook (The Gambia)

Fatou has been instrumental in keeping IHRDA clean and comfortable. She is the main architect behind one of IHRDA’s most cherished traditions, the 11:00AM break at the Bantaba (traditional Gambian gazebo). Fondly called Aunty Fatou, she keeps a healthy dose of coffee and tea available for staff and visitors at IHRDA.

Current Fellow(s) / Intern(s)

Ashu Hailshamy

Legal Fellow (Cameroon)

Ashu holds a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B-Hons) from the University of Buea, Cameroon and a Barrister-At-Law (B.L) Degree from The Gambia Law School. He was the most outstanding student of his batch where he received the best prize for Legal Drafting and Conveyancing and the prestigious Presidential Prize. He has been called to The Gambia Bar to practice as Barrister and Solicitor of The Supreme Court of the Gambia. Prior to joining IHRDA, he has been a youth activist for change in Cameroon, and one-time President of the University of Buea Students’ Union (UBSU) where he represented over 18,000 students. He has a passion for International Human Rights Law, legal practice and advocacy.

Maria Saine

Legal Fellow (Gambia)

Maria holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from the University of The Gambia and a Master of Laws (General LLM) from Trinity College Dublin. From 2015-2018. Maria served as Programmes Manager for “Safe Hands for Girls” in The Gambia, an organization that works on the elimination of Female Genital Mutilation. She currently serves as an Adjunct Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of The Gambia.

She has a developing expertise in human rights law and constitutional law. She is committed to working on human rights and constitutional development in The Gambia, and strives to gain global experience to effect change in Africa and globally. She has a growing portfolio of skills and experience covering domestic human rights issues such as Female Genital Mutilation and Child Marriage. Her overall goal is to become a human rights lawyer working in research and pressing legal, human rights, and constitutional law issues for the benefit of vulnerable and marginalized groups both in The Gambia and beyond.

KINDE Damsou

Legal Felow (Chad)

Damsou holds a Bachelor of Laws from Cadi Ayyad University of Marrakesh and Master of Laws from Abdelmalek Essaadi University of Tangier, Morocco. He also earned a Certificate in International Crime and Justice from the Joint Program of the United Nations Inter-regional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and University of Turin, Italy. He is a prospective LLD Candidate in Human Rights from the Université du Quebec à Montréal, Canada.

Prior to joining IHRDA, Damsou worked as an Associate Legal Officer within the Office of the Legal Counsel of the African Union Commission (AUC) on legal matters. He also worked as an International Consultant/Junior Specialist with United Nations Development Program, Regional Service Centre for Africa under Governance and Peace-building Project. He has worked as a Law Clerk for Lambi Soulgan Law Firm, and as Teaching Assistant at the University of Moundou and Lecturer at some professional institutes in Chad.

Damsou’s career profile also includes working as a Legal Expert with the Diocesan Justice and Peace Commission in Chad, and as a Legal Consultant with the Project of Renewable Energies in Chad.

His ambition is to become a human rights lawyer to better focus on the victims of human right violations in Africa and particularly in his country.

Gabriel Bangura

Communication & Legal Intern (Sierra Leone)

Gabriel holds a LLB in Law from the University of The Gambia with a diploma in computer Science from Jollof Tutors.

He is results-oriented and always makes an effort to identify several necessities that will ensure a faster and better means of operations. He has exhibited excellent leadership skills and has been an integral part of the UTG Debate Association. His proficiency in English and prolific debating skills have earned him the opportunity to participate in several inter-faculty debate competitions. He has been very instrumental in provocative student seminars and debates that have raised the level of awareness on pressing contemporary issues.

In 2013, Gabriel represented the University of The Gambia in an Inter-Universities Speech contest in Ghana, in which he emerged second. In 2015, he was one of two students who represented the University of The Gambia at the 24th All-African Human Rights Moot Court Competition in Zambia.

He has a strong passion for making a positive impact on the world and helping to shape the future of Africa’s development.

Bernice Asante

Publications and Communications Intern (Ghana and Rwanda)

Bernice is a final-year student at the Grand Canyon University in Arizona, United States pursuing a bachelor’s degree in communications, with plans to enroll into law school.

Prior to joining IHRDA, Bernice was one of the photographers and graphic design students in her high school’s media team that created the school’s magazines and yearbook. She also previously participated in the annual Model United Nations simulation, and later co-founded a Model United Nations group franchise at the Dakar Academy School. Her passion to create and implement strategies for a brighter future in Africa was recognized by the Late Kofi Annan, who told her personally, “…someday you will be a leader”.