Our Authors

Holly O'Connell

Holly O'Connell is a marketing and communications officer at the Oikocredit International Office in Amersfoort, the Netherlands. She previously worked as a newspaper journalist in Melbourne, Australia.

After travelling to Uganda on behalf of Oikocredit earlier in 2010, she met microfinance clients and cooperative members from rural and urban areas.


Ralf Oetzel

Ralf Oetzel is a senior project manager at GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) with 35 years of life and professional experience in Central and South America. He currently heads the GIZ-implemented EU-Project "Protection of human rights in migration situations" (PRODEM) in the border area between Ecuador and Colombia. He is a specialist in issues of international migration, refugees and human trafficking.


Ogheneruno Okiomah

Ogheneruno Okiomah, is a Nigerian-American designer, social-entrepreneur and architectural educator.

She specializes in ecosystem design, the nexus of economic development and sustainable design. She is a LEED AP (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, Accredited Professional) and has served as an Assistant Professor of Architecture at Hampton University since 2011.

She is the Co-Founder and CEO of Maa-Bara, a social enterprise spin-off of her Masters Thesis at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).


Franziska Ollendorf

Franziska Ollendorf is a doctoral candidate in Political Science at the Justus Liebig University, Germany, and in Rural Development Studies at the Jean Jaurès University, France. Her thesis analyses the transformative role of private sustainability standards in the cocoa value chain. Franziska has broad experience with (participatory) research on policy effects and sustainable rural livelihoods in Sub-Saharan Africa (Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal, South Africa, and Uganda).


Gorik Ooms

Gorik Ooms is a human rights lawyer and a public health scholar. During most of his professional career he worked with Médecins Sans Frontières Belgium, of which he was the executive director from August 2004 until June 2008. In August 2008, he joined the Department of Public Health at the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp. Since 2010 he is an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University, and since 2013 a visiting scholar at the Faculty of Law of the University of Antwerp.


Mark Mathew Operiano

Mark Mathew "Marcus" Operiano works as Database and Communications Officer for Leonard Cheshire Disability Philippines. He is a member of Leonard Cheshire Disability Young Voices and of UNICEF's Global Partnership on Children with Disabilities. Recently, he was appointed as one of A World At School Global Youth Ambassadors for Education. He has been involved in several projects towards the realization of the rights of people with disability.


Gloria Ortega Pérez

Gloria Ortage Pérez is a journalist from Bogotá, Colombia


Leny van Oyen

Leny van Oyen, a Dutch national, has some 25 years of professional experience, with particular emphasis on private sector development related programme design, management, monitoring and evaluation.

She worked from 1985 – 2002 for the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and held both field and headquarters positions. End 2002 she started a second career, created her own firm (Enterpride Consulting) and has carried out a range of private sector and trade development related assignments in Africa and Asia for different clients.