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CoCreate Humanity Peer Support Specialists (PSS) Pool | Discover the CCH team

Biographies below in alphabetical order

Anne Boss-Wabitsch

Anne grew up in Geneva and studied International Relations, but quickly came to realize that she was actually most interest in the “people”-aspect of work. Having made her way into human resources, she joined the ICRC in 2010 as a field Administrator, with missions to the Caucasus and the Democratic Republic of Congo, followed by a position as HR Manager for mobile staff at ICRC headquarters in Geneva. Both during her field missions and at HQ, she realized the lack of resources and attention given to the psychological well-being of staff members, especially after potentially traumatic incidents. She also experienced how hard it could be to find the way back into a “normal” life, after the “thrill” of humanitarian work.

In 2014, Anne completed a Master of Advanced Studies in Human Resource Management at the Institute of Applied Psychology in Zurich. She continues to be very aware of and interested in the matter of psychological well-being of staff, also in her current position at the Swiss Red Cross in Bern. She followed a training in psychological first aid and dealing with trauma and is a voluntary care giver in two care teams.

Anne is very pleased to have the opportunity to accompany humanitarian workers as a Peer Supporter, being convinced of the need for and importance of such an offer.

She is available for peer support activities in German, French and English.

Bojidar Pinek

From 1984 to 1995, Bojidar developed a high level of professional capabilities in psychology, psychopathology, and neurosciences. He holds a master’s degree in psychology, a DEA in neurophysiology and neurobiology, a DESS in clinical psychology and psychopathology and a PhD in cognitive neurosciences.

During more than 25 years he has been involved in psychosocial and psychological programs as coordinator and supervisor. He has supported the final beneficiaries, adults or children, but also the emergency workers during natural disaster and in armed conflicts.

He has a long and wide experience in the field of mental health based on his missions 1995-2005 for MSF, MDM, Red Crescent and ICRC in Armenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Romania, West Bank, Gaza Strip and Indonesia. At ICRC HQ in Geneva, he was psychosocial delegate in charge of the follow up of projects for victims of armed conflicts, for families of missing persons, for victims of sexual violence and for prisoners/detainees and their families. He has also been in charge of advising on psychosocial aspects in protection and assistance as well as for orientation programs for ICRC national staff during downsizing in field missions.

In the latter part of his career 2006-2016, he worked for the United Nations in peace keeping missions: MINUSTAH (Haiti), BINUB (Burundi), UNMIT (Timor-Leste), ONUCI (Cote d’Ivoire) and MONUSCO (Democratic Republic of Congo) as Liaison Officer, Conduct and Discipline Officer and Head of Conduct and Discipline services.

Since 1984, Bojidar has pursued a parallel career as musician and singer, including the release of two albums and many performances in different countries. He has a special interest and experience in the dynamic use of music in emotional relief work in groups.

He is available for peer support activities in French, English, Spanish and Serbo-Croatian.

Denis Ricca

Denis Ricca is an administrator and Board Member of the Bioforce Humanitarian Training Centre, he is also Board Member of CoCreate Humanity, and a member of the Human Rights League and lives closed to Lyon, in France. He met the CoCreate Humanity team in September 2020 following numerous written exchanges via LinkedIn.

After a long career in industry, managing projects and expatriated teams, in sometimes sensitive contexts, Denis chose to reconvert to humanitarian work.

He worked mainly for Handicap International (Humanité & Inclusion today) on the theme of reducing weapons-related violence, coordinating programmes in the field in Africa and Asia, and then as a technical advisor at the organisation's headquarters in Lyon.

Faced with some potentially traumatic events, he worked to understand whyresilience could vary among a group of individuals but also over time. For his own needs, and then for those of his teams, he worked to help manage stress, prevent burnout, provide peer support when needed, and develop defence mechanisms for resilience.

Resilience and well-being at work are central to Denis Ricca's concerns.

He is available for peer support activities in French.

Des Clark

Des Clark grew up in Ireland during the 30 years of the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland. Shortly after the signing of the Good Friday agreement, he worked as Programmes Manager with a cross-border adventure-based peace and reconciliation centre for troubled youth on all sides of the religious and social divide in Ireland at the time.

He then transitioned to working as a mountain guide in the Andes, Alps, as well as the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco where he lived for a number of years.

Witnessing the huge displacements during the early years of the “Arab Spring,” in 2014 he started to work in the humanitarian sector.

Des holds a MSc in International Development with a focus on conflict, security, and development. From 2014 to 2020 he was Country Director for various medium to large INGOs in Sudan, Iraq and Afghanistan. It was both in Iraq and Afghanistan that Des wished for an organization such as CCH to share some of the conflict stressors and situations that he encountered.

Now based in the Netherlands, Des is an independent consultant for local and national NGOs with a focus on Iraq.

He is available for peer support activities in English.

Eric Foucart

After a professional reconversion during the year 2013/2014 Eric validates a master's degree in Law and Humanitarian Action at the University of Aix-Marseille.

He was then involved in various emergency and development missions in Asia, Africa and the Middle East as an administrator and then as mission coordinator in CAR with the NGO Alima or in Jordan with Handicap International.

Back from a mission in India and Vietnam and from a stay in New Zealand Eric joined Résonances Humanitaires who is dedicate to the support former expatriates of international solidarity in their social and professional repositioning issues.

He worked for the coordination of Covid tests with hospitals in Paris while simultaneously obtaining a coaching diploma in emotional management. It now provides accompanying support.

He was elected to the Resonances Humanitaires Board of Directors in March 2021.

He is available for peer support activities in French.

Gaëlle Figueira

French of Portuguese origin, Gaëlle Figueira has dreamed since very young of contributing to creating a more just and egalitarian world. After studying cooperation and international relations, she did several internships and volunteer work in Brazil and India, between 2007 and 2009, with local associations working to defend the rights of the most marginalized populations, which confirmed her desire to work professionally in this sector.

After graduating from the Bioforce Institute, Gaëlle undertook a first one-year mission with the NGO Oxfam in Chad in 2011. This was followed by several years of expatriations (Spain, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Morocco), in project/program, team and partnership management positions, with a specialization in gender equality. These life experiences have been the occasion of numerous travels, Gaëlle's other passion, and of cultural discoveries and enriching encounters, in Africa and Latin America.

Being hypersensitive, Gaëlle experienced several situations that could have led her to burn-out, but travelling, individual coaching, working on her personal development, yoga and meditation helped her to better live her professional commitment and to find a balance with her personal life.

Based on this experience, Gaëlle has been developing a consulting and coaching activity since 2020, in order to guide professionals in the solidarity and humanitarian sector, in France and abroad, to cultivate their emotional, relational and spiritual well-being, in order to carry out their commitment with serenity and awareness, taking care of themselves as much as of the communities and causes to which they commit themselves daily.

She is available for peer support activities in French, English, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Manoela Sarto De Lucena

Manoela is a Counseling, Social and Cross-Cultural Psychologist, Mental Health Specialist, EMDR Practitioner and MHPSS Consultant. She is member of EMDRIA (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing International Association) and the Ibero-American Association of Psycho-trauma.

Her areas of expertise are Mental Health and Psychosocial Support, Gender Based Violence, Emergency Psychology, Disaster & Trauma Psychology and EMDR therapy.

She has a strong personal desire to combat the stigma associated with mental health and she believes that working with people’s own beliefs, listening, understanding their needs and raising their confidence are the most important steps that one can take to be able to empower people so they can change their own lives. Manoela has over 10 years of experience in the humanitarian sector and over 5 years in mental health and psychosocial support working in countries such as the UK, Brazil, Peru, Ireland, US and Norway in different local and international organizations including UNICEF and the British Red Cross.

She is titular of an MSc in the Psychology of Global Mobility, Inclusion and Diversity in Society; a BA in Clinical Psychology and some certificates such as EMDR Therapy for Trauma and PTSD, and Mental Health and Psychosocial Care in Disasters.

She is available for peer support activities in English and Portuguese.

Paul Kopelen

Paul grew up in the Federal Republic of Germany along the southern border before moving to the United States (US). He completed a program in Criminal Justice and Psychology prior to taking employment with the US government.

As a young adult, Paul served the US army with NATO in Bosnia supporting UN peacekeeping operations and cataloging genocidal war crime sites across eastern Bosnia. It was his first impression of what war and atrocities.

Paul as US army officer then spent 15 years supporting the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Political/Military Affairs Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA) conducting humanitarian demining operations and other activities within Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

While in these locations, he worked and coordinated with the UN, intergovernmental organizations and NGOs. He gained a robust understanding of what and how the humanitarian work force was being affected by depression, suicide, and PTSD.

Throughout this period, Paul also supported counter terrorism operations in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. He retired from government service and became a contractor in 2017.

He is available for peer support activities in English.

Stéphane Joli

Stéphane is a graduate of the Bioforce International Solidarity Logistician course. At a very young age, he started working in the field as a logistician and then as a programme coordinator in Iraqi Kurdistan and Iraq for EquiLibre and CARE International, then in Bolivia for the Ministry of Health, then in Honduras for France Volontaires, and finally in the Democratic Republic of Congo for Unicef France.

After several years spent at the Samu Social de Paris as coordinator of the mobile aid teams, he joined the Bioforce Institute team as an independent speaker in 2007. He then trained as a trainer, specialising in safety and security management and stress management in humanitarian missions.

He is involved in the development, facilitation and supervision of role-playing exercises and emotional debriefings at the Bioforce Europe training centre in Vénissieux (France) and in the training of trainers at the Bioforce Africa training centre in Dakar (Senegal).

Stéphane has been aware of the problems of returning from missions for many years. He also offers remote emotional support for humanitarian workers on mission and organises annual return support sessions (sports activities, discussion groups and emotional debriefings) in Ariège, where he lives. He is also a musician, paraglider pilot and hiker.

He is available for peer support activities in French.

Hélène Ros, Sébastien Couturier & Christoph Hensch

The three cofounders are also available for peer support activities and will supervise the two first sessions with each Peer Support Specialist of the pool.

Hélène: in French and in English

Sébastien: in French (supervision mainly)

Christoph: in English, in Swiss-German and in German (supervision mainly)

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