Sharing civil society experiences in adapting evidence-based advocacy

SNV puzzle

The Dutch Foreign Ministry, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and SNV organised a virtual event on "Sharing civil society experiences adapting evidence-based advocacy" on 15 July. The event gave CSOs the floor to share how they have adapted (proactively and reactively) by finding innovative solutions to continue engaging with policymakers on the issues they advocate for. Read our CEO's reflections on working toward a new social contract and the role of civil society.

Context and speakers

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a seismic shift in the way our world operates. How can civil society use evidence-based advocacy to effectively contribute to inclusive recovery ensuring sustainable food, energy and water, sanitation and hygiene services in this “new normal”?

The Voice for Change Partnership programme empowers civil society organisations (CSOs) as advocates for policies and practices benefitting poor and marginalised communities through the use of evidence-based advocacy. Amidst the COVID-19 restrictions, the V4CP programme and partner CSOs have adapted their activities, channels and messaging in order to support the COVID-19 response and continue pursuing their objectives in these changing times. Learn more.

This webinar highlighted how the programme adapted (in proactive and reactive ways) by finding innovative solutions to continue engaging with policymakers on the issues they advocate for. The speakers shared concrete examples on the ground, followed by an analysis of the global relevance of evidence-based advocacy from the discussants.

Chair: Jeroen Kelderhuis, Head of Civil Society & Education Division, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs


  • Eugene Rwibasira, Executive Director, Rwanda Development Organization (RDO): centring food and nutrition security in Rwanda

  • David Njugi, Chief Executive, Clean Cooking Association Kenya

  • and Fridah Githuku, Executive Director, GROOTS Kenya: advocacy response to proposed re-introduction of VAT on clean cooking technologies

  • Kwame Owino, Chief Executive Officer, Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA): the role of civil society in the COVID-19 response and adjusted V4CP WASH activities


Nicholas Minot, Deputy Division Director, Markets, Trade, and Institutions Division, IFPRI

Meike van Ginneken, Chief Executive Officer, SNV Netherlands Development Organisation


Mary Njuguna, V4CP Global Advisor FNS/Resilience, SNV Netherlands Development Organisation

Please find speakers' bios below.

Jeroen Kelderhuis, Head of Civil Society & Education Division, DGIS

Jeroen Kelderhuis

Eugene Rwibasira

Eugene Rwibasira, Executive Director, Rwanda Development Organization (RDO)

Jeroen Kelderhuis is a senior diplomat at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A Dutch national, he served over two decades across different geographical regions, including the Balkans, Middle East and Africa. He was also seconded to the Dutch parliament, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and the African Development Bank’s Fragile States Unit. His expertise includes programming in fragile states, economic diplomacy and CSO mobilization. His last mission was as deputy Ambassador at the Dutch Embassy in South Sudan. Currently he is serving as head of the Civil Society and Education Division of the Ministry. His responsibilities include strategic partnerships with civil society, promoting civic space in the broader SDG agenda as well as supporting the implementation of Minister Sigrid Kaag’s education portfolio. Jeroen holds an MA in International Relations and International Policy Studies, complemented with senior leadership training.

Eugene RWIBASIRA is the Executive Secretary of Rwanda Development Organization (RDO), a position he has held for 16 years. Prior to that, he served as a deputy Governor (Sous-Prefet) for the Northern Province of Rwanda for a period of 5 years. He holds an MSc. Agricultural & Applied Economics from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology . He sits on several boards. Chairman Board of Directors of the National Grains and Cereals Corporation, and a Member of the Global Council representing Civil Society from Eastern Africa on  Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC). He is the former Chairperson of the Rwanda Civil Society Platform.

David Njugi

David Njugi, Chief Executive, Clean Cooking Association Kenya

Fridah Githuku

Fridah Githuku, Executive Director, GROOTS Kenya

David Njugi is a mechanical engineering professional with considerable experience in project management, renewable energy technologies, green growth economy, business and technical advisory experience to SMEs especially in renewable energy, water and agribusiness sectors.

He is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Clean Cooking Association of Kenya, CCAK, a membership member body and CSO that represents the clean cooking stakeholders interests including advocating for a conducive business environment for the adoption of clean cooking across the country, capacity building of the sector and promotion of adoption of clean cooking through awareness. Previously, he worked at the Kenya Association of Manufacturers where he coordinated energy projects and managed clean energy promotion programmes whose goal was to catalyse private sector investments in climate change mitigation solutions such as renewable energy and energy efficiency. He coordinated the energy policy and advocacy work with the national government, energy agencies and county governments. He has previously worked with the International Trade Centre, Kenya Climate Innovation Centre which is a business incubator and accelerator in renewable energy, Strathmore Energy Research Centre among other engagements. He is a CPA and Certified Energy Manager.

Fridah Githuku is the Executive Director of GROOTS Kenya, a national movement of grassroots women advocating for women empowerment and gender equality. She is the team leader for the Voice for Change Partnership for GROOTS Kenya, a programme tailored around gender and clean cooking energy. She is a member of the Kiambu County Environment Committee and Policy Committee on Climate Change and Energy where GROOTS Kenya is advocating for mainstreaming of clean cooking energy. She was recently nominated to join the multi-stakeholder team for development of a National Climate Change Learning Strategy by the Climate Change Directorate, Ministry of Environment and Forestry –Kenya.

Kwame Owino

Kwame Owino, Chief Executive Officer, Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA)

Nicholas Minot

Nicholas Minot, Deputy Division Director, IFPRI

Kwame Owino has been instrumental in leading IEA Kenya’s strategic intervention into the go-to think tank for Sub-Saharan Africa and the region. Having risen through the ranks at IEA Kenya, Kwame’s led research and policy dialogue in economic regulation and competition policy. He also has diverse interests on economic regulation, employment economics and public sector reform. He undertakes and oversees research in IEA Kenya’s key policy areas on public expenditure and revenue analysis, international trade, economic regulation, devolution and the use of futures methodologies to inform public affairs in Kenya.

Nicholas Minot is a Senior Research Fellow and Deputy Division Director in the Markets, Trade and Institutions Division at IFPRI. He has carried out research on the impact of trade policy on poverty, agricultural market reform in Africa, value chains, income diversification, spatial patterns in poverty, high-value agriculture, and food price transmission. He is currently working on price stabilisation in Bangladesh, pastoral resilience in Burkina Faso, and food security in Indonesia.  He is also the co-leader of a research programme on agricultural value chains.  He received his Ph.D. in agricultural economics from Michigan State University and his B.A. from Brown University.

Meike van Ginneken

Meike van Ginneken, Chief Executive Officer, SNV

Mary Njguna

Mary Njguna, V4CP Global Advisor FNS/Resilience, SNV

Meike van Ginneken MSc has been innovating in complex environments for over twenty years. Since January 1, 2018, she is CEO of SNV, an international development organisation with specialist expertise in agriculture, energy, and Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH). Previously she held various leadership positions during her sixteen years at the World Bank, including serving as the Banks Water Manager for South Asia. Earlier she has worked for the Global Water Partnership and Doctors Without Borders. Van Ginneken holds Master’s Degrees in Civil Engineering (TU Delft) and in Change Management (HEC Business School in Paris, France).

Mary Njuguna is a development professional with 25 years’ experience in the management of development programmes. Currently she is Global Advocacy Advisor for the Food & Nutritional Security & Resilience themes in the Voice for Change Partnership. Previously, as Agriculture Sector Leader at SNV Kenya, she steered the V4CP programme in Kenya. This entailed building capacity of the CSOs and facilitating policy dialogue with sector actors (policy makers, research and private sector) through multi-stakeholder engagement. As an organisational development practitioner, Mary has long-term experience strengthening institutions, including CSO, local government and entrepreneurs. Mary holds an MSC in Organisational Development.