Our Authors

Hinrich Mercker

Hinrich Mercker is director of the Development Policy Forum (Dialogue, Event Design and Event Management) in Berlin, which is part of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). Since 2008 he has been a fellow and research affiliate at the MIT Community Innovators Lab (CoLab), Cambridge.


Franz Dietrich

Franz Dietrich is an expert for regional and business development with over 30 years of experience in promoting innovation and commercializing technology with the assistance of technology business incubators (TBI), science and technology parks.

In the last eight years, he has realised the development and installation of TBI in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam for the GIZ (formerly InWEnt).


Paula Cardenau

Paula Cardenau has more than fifteen-years experience working in the social entrepreneurship field.

During the past four years she has worked towards advancing the social business as a tool for systemic change in underprivileged communities. She launched and leads the Social Business Initiative in Ashoka in Latin America.

Simultaneously she has focused strongly on writing about and disseminating experience and best practices in the field, and linking new actors who are key to the development of an adequate ecosystem that would allow social business to emerge.

She holds a licentiate degree in Politics and has completed her post-graduate studies in CSOs and Social Development.She is board member and strategic adviser for several social enterprises.


Michael Vollmann

Michael Vollmann is head of the Fellowship and Community Impact Development Group (CIDG) After writing his thesis in connection with Ashoka on "Social Entrepreneurship in Germany", Michael now coordinates the search for new social entrepreneurs, helps provide support to German Ashoka fellows and holds talks at universities on social entrepreneurship.

During his studies in language, economics and cultural studies at the University Passau and Universidade do Estado de Rio de Janeiro (UERJ), he focused on international development work.

He gained some insight into this topic during his time in the civil service in Chile and Bolivia, where he was involved in creating a vocational training center in Cochabamba, and via the worldwide scout network where he volunteered his time as a youth and group leader.


Abbie Upton

Abbie Upton works at Practical Action, a group that uses technology to challenge poverty in developing countries.

"Our strength is our approach. We find out what people are doing and help them to do it better. Through technology we enable poor communities to build on their skills and knowledge to produce sustainable and practical solutions. Thus transforming their lives forever and protecting the world around them.

By doing this each year we help around a million people break out of the cycle of poverty ....for good."


Thomas Kluge

Thomas Kluge is member of the executive board of ISOE (Institute for Social-Ecological Research) in Frankfurt, Germany.

He holds a degree in law and social sciences from Frankfurt University. He received his doctoral degree from Frankfurt University as well and qualified as a professor at Kassel University, Germany, with a habilitation treatise on "water and society".

Thomas is lecturer at Kassel University and project manager of CuveWaters – Integrated Water Resources Management in the Cuvelai-Etosha Basin (Central-Northern Namibia).


Alexia Krug

Alexia Krug v. Nidda is a research associate at ISOE (Institute for Social-Ecological Research) in Frankfurt, Germany.

Her main area of reserch is water ressources and land use, and she coordinates the CuveWater project. She holds a degree in Social Work from Catholic University of Applied Sciences in Freiburg, Germany and a masters degree in Human Ressource Management and Development from Manchester University, Great Britain.

Alexia worked for Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in Namibia.


Reema Nanavaty

Reema Nanavaty is the General Secretary of the Indian Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA), the single largest union of informal sector workers. Reema oversees 3200 self help groups (SHG), 110 co-operatives and 15 federations totaling 428,281 members.

She negotiated the first ever IFAD loan to rebuild lives of 60,000 earthquake affected rural women and is running post conflict reconstruction for 40,000 members affected by 2002 riots. She is leading a rehabilitation programme in Afghanistan and in Srilanka and a vocational training in agro and rural livelihood security; she is expanding activities of the Trade Facilitation Centre and heads the ICT cell to connect technological information with the farm women.

Reema Nanavaty initiated the food security covering one million households through its rural distribution network, named RUDI, where women farmers and labour trade their agro-produce with each other. Furthermore, Reema is spearheading the Hariyali–Green Energy and Livelihoods Initiative to provide 2,00,000 mostly farm women access renewable energy tools of cookstoves and solar lights.


Ina Neuberger

Ina Neuberger works as Media and Communications Manager at WFC.

She has a degree in political science and used to work on the management board of the German communications agency Straub & Linardatos. There she built up and managed different units. As Senior Consultant she looked after clients in finance, health, tourism and mobility.

Beforehand she ran her own brand communications agency. She took over the management of the media and communications department in the WFC head office in January 2011


Erica Gies

Erica Gies is a freelance environmental reporter who lives in San Francisco.

Her work appears in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, Wired News, Grist, World Watch magazine, KALW radio, and other outlets. In 10 years on the environment beat, Erica Gies has covered energy, water, climate policy, green business, green building and urban planning, waste, ecosystem biology, and more.

She holds a masters degree in literature from San Francisco State University and a Bachelor in English and journalism from Northern Arizona University.


Matthias Kroll

Matthias Kroll is economist and participated in founding a consulting organisation in environmental management and got his doctorate in monetary theory and policy.

He intensively explores how state spending could be financed by the central bank through money creation without causing inflation.

Since May 2010, Matthias has also provided his support as a consultant to the Future Finance Commission of the World Future Council (WFC).


Timothy Jenkin

Timothy Jenkin is a writer and long-time political activist. He was involved in the anti-apartheid struggle in the 1970s and 80s and sentenced to 12 years' imprisonment for his activities, but escaped from captivity after 18 months.

He lived in exile in the UK from 1980 until 1991 when he returned to South Africa after the unbanning of political organisations. During this period he worked as a writer and trained activists for the ANC underground.

Since 1997 he has been running his own IT company and developed the Community Exchange System (CES), a global alternative exchange network.


Geraldine de Bastion

Geraldine de Bastion works as a lead consultant and project manager for newthinking communications in Berlin.

She previously worked for the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit mbH (GIZ) as well as the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development in the areas of information and communications technology for development, knowledge management, education, business development, corporate social responsibility and public-private partnerships.

Geraldine's recent work has been focussing on citizen journalism and media development in Africa and open and decentralized technologies.


Simon Didszuweit

Simon Didszuweit works as freelance consultant at Media Development Coordination and Project Development of Deutsche Welle Akademie.

Political scientist by education, Simon is co-author of DWA policy papers on media, development and participation. He contributes to he outlining and strategy of projects and has experience in implementation, supporting television and radio in Laos and Vietnam.

In 2011 he was among the organizers of "Forum Media and Development" (FoME) Symposium in Bonn and panelist at the meeting of the EU-AU Working Group on Freedom of Expression and Human Rights in Tunis, both focussing on the impact of digital media on journalism, development and civil society.


Claudia Schwegmann

Claudia Schwegmann is the founder of the OpenAid project and board member of the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany (OKF). OpenAid promotes open data and transparency in development cooperation and became part of the Open Knowledge Foundation in 2012. Since 2009 OpenAid has organised trainings and conferences on the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) and open data in Germany and other European countries. The most recent project of OpenAid is www.offene-entwicklungshilfe.de

Claudia Schwegmann she is a theologian, political scientist and organisational development consultant by training. She works as a freelance project evaluator and consultant in organisational change and online tools in Germany and developing countries, primarily in Africa.


Alvin Marcelo

Alvin Marcelo studied to be a general and trauma surgeon and currently heads the University of the Philippines Manila National Telehealth Center.

He is the manager of the International Open Source Network for ASEAN+3, a top research centre for free and/or open source software founded by the UNDP in cooperation with the former InWEnt (now GIZ). He also heads the Community Health Information Tracking System - CHITS


Camilla Wirseen

Camilla Wirseen is one of the founders of the Peepoo project. She has been responsible for the day-to-day activities since its inception in 2005. In 2008, she left her position as Head of Photography at Scandinavia's leading stock photography agency Johnér to dedicate all her time to Peepoople.

Today Camilla is Peepoople´s Project Director. Since fall 2010, she has worked as Director and Manager of the initial launch project in Kenya. Presently she is also starting up a similar project in Bangladesh in a slum setting in Dhaka.