Our team

Our team

 The Digital Freedom Fund (DFF) has undergone significant changes to its working culture and leadership structure over the past year. This was based on contemplating how best to serve our community while fulfilling our mission. These efforts have culminated in a decision to transition from a single-director model to a more distributed leadership approach. Since the start of 2024, a Transition Team, comprising Darrah Hassell, Nikita Kekana, Laurence Meyer, Barbara Okeyo, and Thomas Vink, have been temporarily assuming the leadership roles in various areas such as risk mitigation, funding and donor relationships among others, as the organisation transitions into a new leadership model. 


DIGIRISE Project Coordinator

Alexandra Giannopoulou

Alexandra is the Project Coordinator for the Developing Information, Guidance, and Interconnectedness for (Charter) Rights Integration in Strategies for Enforcement (DIGIRISE) project.  She is a licensed lawyer, holds a PhD in law from the University of Paris II Assas, and has broad expertise in information law. Before joining DFF, Alexandra worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Information Law (IViR), University of Amsterdam. She is an associate researcher at the CNRS Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) in Paris and has also worked as a research fellow at the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) in Berlin. Alexandra’s research addresses regulatory challenges of emerging techno-social systems, with a strong digital rights focus. 

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Portrait or Barbara Okeyo

Communications Lead

Barbara Okeyo

Barbara is the Communications Lead at the Digital Freedom Fund. She brings over 10 years of experience in marketing communications, and content marketing strategy. She has worked in digital communications, social impact and advocacy with gender and reproductive rights NGOs. Her career goal is to use her skills to strengthen civil society in the areas of social justice and advocacy, intersection of gender and digital rights, sustainability, diversity & inclusion. Barbara is based in Berlin.

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Legal Officer

César Manso-Sayao

César is the Legal Officer at Digital Freedom Fund. He is a law graduate from the University of Costa Rica, and holds two Master’s degrees from the University of Barcelona, one in Human Rights and the other in Sociology. He also has a postgraduate degree in Technopolitics and Rights in the Digital Age from Pompeu Fabra University and previous work experience in digital rights organisations. César is based in Berlin.

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Darrah Hassell

Finance Manager

Darrah Hassell

Darrah is the Finance Manager at the Digital Freedom Fund. She is a qualified finance professional, holding a Master’s in Finance from the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management. Before taking up her position at DFF, Darrah worked for eight years in the international development sector. Darrah is based in Berlin.

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Ekaterina Balueva

Communications Support

Ekaterina Balueva

Ekaterina is the Communications Support at the Digital Freedom Fund. She has a master’s degree in Journalism, Media and Globalisation from the University of Amsterdam. Before joining DFF she worked for several independent media outlets and a human rights non-governmental organisation focused on relocating human rights defenders at risk. Ekaterina is based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Ewa Pieszczyk__KP_0715

Finance Officer

Ewa Pieszczyk

Ewa is the Finance Officer at the Digital Freedom Fund, providing support in financial administration and management. Before joining DFF, Ewa most recently worked as Budget Assistant in the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. Previously she also held various roles at the British Embassy in Warsaw, UNDP and others. She has a Master’s degree in Italian Studies and a Bachelor’s in Cultural Anthropology from University of Warsaw, she also completed postgraduate studies in Gender Mainstreaming at the Polish Academy of Sciences. Ewa is based in Warsaw, Poland.


Racial and Social Justice Support

Joel Hide

Joel is the Racial and Social Justice Support at the Digital Freedom Fund. They recently completed a master’s degree in Global History where their research focused on the way in which gender and sexuality were reforged in colonial contexts. Before joining DFF they worked for an LGBTQ+ rights organisation. Joel is based in Berlin.

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Operations and Events Officer

Jihane Jadrane

Jihane is the Operations and Events Officer at the Digital Freedom Fund. She has a Master’s Degree from the University of Groningen in International Relations and International Organisation. Before taking up her position at DFF, Jihane held different positions in governmental and non-governmental organisations. Jihane is based in Berlin.

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A photo of Laurence Meyer

Racial and Social Justice Lead

Laurence Meyer

Laurence is the Racial and Social Justice Lead at the Digital Freedom Fund. She previously worked as a parliamentary assistant in the French National Assembly and works on the notion of race in law. She is also involved in several community-centered projects. Laurence is based in Berlin.

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Nikita Bio

Senior Legal Officer

Nikita Kekana

Nikita is the Senior Legal Officer at the Digital Freedom Fund. Nikita has extensive experience in digital and media law, international law and human rights. Before joining, DFF, she worked within the strategic legal defence team at a leading international non-governmental organisation. She has also worked at two of South Africa’s big 5 law firms. Nikita holds an LLM cum laude in Public International Law from Leiden University. She is based in Munich, Germany.

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Thomas Vink

Programme Officer

Thomas Vink

Thomas is the Programme Officer at the Digital Freedom Fund, responsible for coordinating DFF’s grantmaking. Before joining DFF he worked at an international anti-corruption organisation, managing multi-country projects on areas such as ethics and integrity policy, protecting victims and witnesses of corruption, and social accountability. Thomas is based in Seoul, South Korea.

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Development Officer

Vaska Cvetanoska

Vaska is the Development Officer at DFF. With over 13 years of experience in the non-profit sector in Western Balkan, Vaska has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in her field. Before joining DFF, she worked with various national and regional CSOs and Networks such as the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network – BIRN HUB. Vaska has a Doctor of Dentistry degree from Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje and is based in Skopje, North Macedonia.

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