Our team

Our team

Photo of Mauricio Lazala Leibovich


Mauricio Lazala Leibovich

Mauricio is the Director of the Digital Freedom Fund. He is an international human rights lawyer and advocate. Before joining DFF in early 2022, Mauricio was Deputy Director at the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, leading on strategic, regional and programmatic areas of work. He has also worked at grassroots human rights NGOs in various countries, and sits on the Advisory Council of the Investor Alliance for Human Rights. Mauricio is based in Frankfurt. 

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Thomas Vink

Programme Officer

Thomas Vink

Thomas is the Programme Officer at the Digital Freedom Fund. 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 Berlin.

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Technology Community Lead

Alayna Kennedy

Alayna is the Technology Community Lead at the Digitial Freedom Fund. She has experience as a data scientist and machine learning developer, and has worked on responsible technology and AI ethics for years. Most recently, she completed her master’s degree from the University of Edinburgh in science and technology studies, where she completed a dissertation on how to implement responsible technology work within industry. Alayna is currently based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Photo of Ahmed Isamaldin

Artistic Support

Ahmed Isamaldin

Ahmed is the artistic support to the “Decolonising the Digital Rights Field” process at Digital Freedom Fund. He is a visual artist-designer and blogger from Khartoum. He studied physics at the University of Khartoum, graphic design and photography in Cairo, and visual communication at Kunsthochschule Weissensee, Berlin. His practice focuses on immigration and psychology, as well as the processes of revolutions, de-colonial design, and technology. He has participated in various exhibitions between Khartoum, Cairo, and Berlin, and is currently studying Media Art at  UDK Berlin.