FIONA SAMPSON – B.A., M.A., LL.B., Ph. D., C.M. PRESIDENT/CEO
Fiona Sampson is the President/CEO of the equality effect. Fiona is a human rights lawyer with a PhD in women’s equality law who has dedicated her 20+ year career to seeking justice for society’s disadvantaged: First Nations, refugees, disabled persons, and victims of violence. Fiona founded the equality effect in 2008. As CEO of the equality effect, Fiona led her team to the 2013 landmark victory in Kenya in which the country’s High Court found the state’s failure to protect girls from rape was unconstitutional and violated their human rights. Fiona has been called one of the world’s “women revolutionaries” alongside notables that include Gloria Steinem, Hillary Clinton, and Isobel Coleman.
An experienced litigation lawyer, Fiona has appeared repeatedly before the Supreme Court of Canada representing various women’s NGOs in equality rights cases. Fiona has received many awards and much recognition for her human rights work; Fiona was appointed an Ashoka Fellow, named one of the 25 top most influential lawyers in Canada, top 5 on the World Stage, by Canadian Lawyer magazine 2014, and named one of 50 “Global Heroes” working to end violence against children, along with Queen Noor and Hillary Clinton, among others. In 2015 Fiona was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada, the highest honour a Canadian civilian can be awarded. Fiona has been awarded Honorary Doctorates from Trent University and Queen’s University, in recognition of her contribution to human rights law.
KULA ROBA WAKO – LL.B., 160 GIRLS NATIONAL COORDINATOR – ‘160 GIRLS’ PROJECT, KENYA
Kula is the National Coordinator for the 160 Girls Project in Kenya. Kula is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya, and a graduate of the Catholic University of Kenya and Kenya School of Law. Kula is the founder of CHAGI, a Community Based Organization (CBO) whose vision is to educate residents of Marsabit County on matters relating to HIV/AIDS and equality rights. Kula has experience working as a legal consultant and a human rights trainer with different human rights organizations including the Concern Worldwide (an International NGO) and the Anglican Development Services (a local NGO based in Marsabit County, Kenya). Kula was the Legal officer at HAKI Africa where her duties included giving legal advice relating to defilement, domestic violence, land related issues, child support, and she worked to ensure justice was served appropriately. Kula has volunteered and worked in several community projects including the Adopt a School mentorship programme, where she mentors approximately two hundred students. Kula has most recently worked as an advocate with International Centre for Reproductive Health (ICRH) – Kenya, and she has had the lead staff role on e²’s 160 Girls measurement team. Kula’s passion is to protect and promote human rights. Kula is also an avid reader, keen football player, and loves to cook.
PATRICIA NELIMA SIMIYU – LL.B., 160 GIRLS PROGRAM OFFICER
Patricia Nelima Simiyu is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya with advanced experience in implementing human rights programs. Prior to joining the equality effect, Patricia worked with Lawyers Without Borders (LWOB) as an Assistant Attorney, specifically providing support to a team of prosecutors drawn from Kenya and Tanzania, in an International Mock Trial Competitions meant to enhance their prosecutorial skills. She has similarly served as a Project Officer and Consultant for Community Education and Empowerment Centre (CEEC), implementing projects around gender and human rights, positive masculinity, as well as leadership and governance. Patricia is experienced in media engagement, processing human rights complaints, project design and implementation, women land and property rights as well as sexual and reproductive rights. She has previously worked as an intern at the Kenya Legal and Ethical Issues Network on HIV and AIDS (KELIN) and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR). Patricia has previously volunteered at the Federation of Women Lawyers Kenya (FIDA) under the Organization’s Access to Justice Program. She is passionate about women and child rights. In her free time, she loves watching movies, documentaries and athletics, touring new places and spending quality time with family and friends.