About the Speakers

Lead Presenters

Bianca Fadel (Brazil)
Doctoral Researcher
Northumbria University, Centre for International Development, UK

Bianca Fadel is a doctoral researcher in the Centre for International Development at Northumbria University, UK. Her research explores identity and belonging in local volunteering experiences during protracted crises, particularly in the case of Burundi. She is also involved in policy-focused projects with volunteer-involving organisations including IFRC, VSO and UNV.

Bianca holds a M.A in Humanitarian Action from UCL in Belgium and has previously worked as advisor for humanitarian diplomacy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Brazil. Her experience also comprises the implementation of local youth engagement volunteering projects at the Brazilian Red Cross.

Alice Chadwick (United Kingdom)
Doctoral Researcher
University of Bath, Social and Policy Studies, UK

Alice Chadwick is a doctoral researcher at the University of Bath, her research explores the role of volunteering within development projects in Sierra Leone and how this interacts with employment and citizenship. At a broader level she is interested in volunteering as a response to crisis and the role of volunteerism within the SDGs.

Alice has previously volunteered with VSO as an International Citizen Service (ICS) team leader in Kenya and Zimbabwe. These experiences ignited her interest in researching the role of volunteering in development.

Alice holds a MRes in International Development from the University of Bath and has previously carried out research for organisations including VSO, Restless Development and CAFOD.


Sarah Henderson (United Kingdom)
Resilience Advisor

Sarah Henderson has been Resilience Advisor at VSO since March 2020 and before that was Regional Resilience and DRR Programme Advisor supporting VSO country offices across Africa, and Resilience Programme Specialist in VSO Uganda. Sarah has previously worked for the UK Civil Service, the British Red Cross and Progressio. She has a Master’s Degree in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law from the University of Essex. She is an active Emergency Response volunteer with the British Red Cross.


Mara Basanovic (Australia)
Volunteering Queensland

Mara Basanovic is the Chief Executive Officer of Volunteering Queensland and has over 13 years’ experience leading volunteering efforts in Australia’s two largest states. Over the past five years’ Mara has led a team that has explored and implemented impactful locally led approaches to community capability and resilience building in disasters. She has been an innovative force behind the development of many initiatives to inform contemporary policy and practice, and build capacity and capability and believes in the transformative power and value of volunteering in strengthening and connecting communities.

Abdulla Al Shehhi (UAE)
Dubai Cares

Abdulla Al Shehhi holds a senior strategic role as Chief Operating Officer within Dubai Cares. Dubai Cares is a UAE based philanthropic organization committed to breaking the cycle of poverty through education. The organization has successfully launched education programs reaching over 20 million beneficiaries in 59 developing countries. In his current position, Abdulla oversees the management of projects undertaken by different departments within the organization to ensure the efficient and effective delivery of operations. His responsibilities include supporting the fundraising process and evaluating the performance and impact of implemented programs to achieve the desired outcomes. Beyond this, Abdulla also directs the Communications Department across Dubai Cares, as well as the Community Engagement function. Al Shehhi has more than 10 years experience in overseeing the implementation of community engagement initiatives locally and globally.


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