Speakers & facilitators

Yetnebersh Nigussie | Speaker | Yetnebersh Nigussie is a 37-year-old Ethiopian lawyer and and an outstanding advocate for disability inclusion and gender equality. Her ambition is to create inclusive conditions for future generations in low-income countries and beyond, by connecting local realities with political systems and international frameworks. She co-founded and headed the Ethiopian Centre for Disability and Development (ECDD) which today is a driving force behind creating equal opportunities for people with disabilities. Yetnebersh’s objective in life is to demonstrate to society the strength and capabilities of persons with disabilities. She works to improve the lives of persons with disabilities in Ethiopia and globally by working for systemic change, an inclusive society and equal rights for all.

Yetnebersh will be speaking about the roles that different stakeholders (e.g. governments, business owners, knowledge institutions and civil society actors) need to play in order to make inclusion a reality – and how to ensure that the voices that have been marginalized until now will be heard and will play a key role in shaping new development strategies.  

Thomas Coombes | Speaker & workshop facilitator | Thomas is a global communications strategist who aims to make a difference by changing people’s minds. He has developed an approach called Hope-Based Communications to help NGOs respond to framing challenges and develop new narratives for the human rights movement that win debates and change attitudes. This approach to cause communications focuses on solutions, values and empathy.  



Hamzat Lawal | Speaker | Hamzat Lawal  (Hamzy!) is an activist who has successfully led grassroots campaigns in over 40 African countries with many years of experience in the non-profit sector and specializes in practical issues associated with Climate Change, Open Data, advocacy campaigns and development policies as it affects rural and deprived grassroots communities. He is currently the Chief Executive of Connected Development (CODE). Hamzy! is also the Founder of Follow The Money, a Pan-African grassroots data-driven movement and leads a team of technology & innovation driven campaigners to amplify voices of marginalized communities in promoting accountability as it affects utilization of public funds focusing on specific communities across Africa. Recently he won the ‘mobiliser’ award at the SDG action awards. Hamzat wants to empower marginalized communities in Africa with his organisation and provide vulnerable communities with information and open data that ushers social and economic progress, transparency & accountability. He has inspired young people to contribute towards civic engagement and good governance, while coordinating various grass root movements in Africa.

Eliot Higgins | Speaker | Founder Bellingcat | Online open source investigators at Bellingcat have spent the last 5 years investigating a range of cases, from the downing of MH17 in Ukraine with a Russian Buk missile launcher, to the conflict in Yemen. Bellingcat's founder Eliot Higgins takes a look at how the work of Bellingcat and online opensource investigation is now being used for justice and accountability, and what it means for the future of both Bellingcat's work, and future justice and accountability efforts.



Marina Diboma | host | Marina Diboma is Deputy Managing Director of NABC and for the second time our host and facilitator of the Festival. Born and raised in Cameroon, Diboma is a graduate from the University of Amsterdam with degrees in Communication Science and Business Studies. She has proven experience in establishing and strengthening both South–South and South-North cooperation through trade, investment and development. Marina has a passion for building bridges between people and organisations and vice versa. Within the framework of her professional activities, Marina has already led more than 30 business missions to/from the African continent.

Nelleke van der Vleuten | workshop leader Nelleke van der Vleuten is an expert on NGOs, Inclusive Business and Endeva associate. Endeva is a a German thought leader on inclusive business innovations. During the Innovation Festival, Nelleke will lead the workshop on NGOs and Inclusive Business Partnerships.

Marieke van der Velden | Speaker | Marieke van der Velden (44) is a Dutch photographer who has - next to her commercial assignments - travelled all over the world in the past 20 years. More than 45 times NGO’s assigned her to capture their stories, next to that she has also started self initated projects since 2011. With projects like ‘Baghdad Today’, ‘A monday in Kabul’, ‘Nederland O Nederland’, and the film ’The island of all together’ she tries to put the daily news in a wider perspective for the viewer. Her projects have been published and broadcasted worldwide.