In our daily work, we see people’s lives destroyed by organized crime. But we also see shining examples of courage and hope that are born in those very communities that are most affected by such agents of crime. Whether it is to provide services, promote safety, raise awareness or to change attitudes, it is our commitment that this fund will incubate and protect that resilient spirit.

Mark Shaw

Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime Director

About us

The Resilience Fund complements and builds on the Global Initiative’s ongoing work in incubating resilience in communities harmed or threatened by criminal governance.

The Resilience Fund identifies and empowers key civil society actors, and builds their operational capacity, with the aim of creating networks of resilient communities against organized crime and violence.

Who we are

With the support of the Government of Norway, in March 2019, the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime established the Resilience Fund.

The public launch event took place in the margins of the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) in Vienna, on Tuesday 21 May 2019. Over 100 guests from the diplomatic and NGO community heard powerful and personal speeches, from Griselda Triana (activist and wife of murdered journalist Javier Valdez), Rani Hong (CEO of the Tronie Foundation) and Miguel Syjuco (Filipino writer and journalist), as well as opening remarks from GI-TOC Director Mark Shaw and Kjersti Andersen, Norwegian Ambassador in Vienna.

Fund Management Team

The Fund Management Team is supported by a network of field-based GI-TOC Grant Liaisons who work closely with the Fund’s beneficiaries.

The team includes the following members of the Global Initiative's Secretariat:

Siria Gastelum Felix
Resilience Director

Siria Gastelum Felix

Siria Gastelum is an Emmy Award winning journalist from Mexico. Siria started writing stories on organized crime in her own native state of Sinaloa when she was still a child. She directed a documentary on Jesus Maverde, the so-called patron saint of drug traffickers. She has worked on radio, television and print media in Mexico, the United States and Canada.

In 2008, she joined the United Nations Office in Vienna. She has worked at the International Narcotics Control Board and more recently at the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT). In 2001 she received the UN 21 Award from the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon for the creation of the UN.GIFT.HUB, an online knowledge exchange platform on human trafficking.

Siria has a BA in Communications Science from the University of the Americas-Puebla (Mexico) and a Masters of Journalism from Carleton University (Canada). She spends her time between Mexico, Canada and India.

Ian Tennant
Resilience Fund Manager

Ian Tennant

Ian joined the Global Initiative in 2019 as the Fund Manager for the Resilience Fund. He is based in Vienna, having previously worked at the UK Permanent Mission to the UN in Vienna.

During his five years at the UK Mission, Ian led UK engagement with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and represented the UK in several prominent UN negotiations on organized crime and related issues, including the UN General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS 2016), and the UNTOC Conference of Parties which established its Review Mechanism in 2018.

Prior to joining the UK Mission Ian worked in the UK Parliament, and in political consultancy and corporate communications. He has an MA in British Politics, and a BA in French and Hispanic Studies.

Mariana Mora Gomez

Mariana Mora Gomez

Mariana has been working with the Global Initiative since 2018 supporting its resilience initiatives and now the Resilience Fund, besides other Latin American-based work of the GI.

Her past experiences include working in international organisations like IFAD and IDLO where she worked on fragile contexts and projects on violence reduction and agricultural development. A Colombian national, she has also worked at national representation level at the UN in New York, where she started developing her passion towards policy making to reduce violence cycles in Colombia and policy implementation in post-conflict scenarios.

Mariana has a Master’s Degree in International Public Management with concentrations in Latin America and Project Management, from Sciences Po Paris. She also holds a B.A in International Relations from the Universidad Javeriana in Bogota, Colombia.

Advisory Council

A dedicated Advisory Council has been convened to oversee the strategic direction, administrative and financial policies of the fund. The Council held Its inaugural meeting In Vienna on Thursday 23 May.

Advisory Council

The Advisory Council's responsibilities are to advocate for and promote the work of the fund, and to raise funds for the continuation and expansion of the fund’s activities.

The Advisory Council includes the Fund’s founding donors (based upon a minimum contribution) and some geographically representative eminent figures with proven commitment to the objectives of the Fund (for example, prominent journalists, human rights activists or environmental defenders).

The Advisory Council is chaired by Innocent Chukwuma of Nigeria, Director of the Ford Foundation for West Africa. The Council counts with the presence of:

Gwen Boniface
Advisory Council Member

Gwen Boniface

Gwen Boniface served in Canadian policing for 30 years, including 8 as the Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police. In 2006, she was selected to serve as the Deputy Chief-Inspector of the Garda Inspectorate, an organization established to reform and modernize Ireland’s national police service.

From 2010 to 2012, she was the Transnational Crime Expert for the United Nations Police Division. She currently consults on policing and justice issues, internationally and domestically.

Innocent Chukwuma
Chair of the Advisory Council

Innocent Chukwuma

Innocent Chukwuma is the West Africa Director for the Ford Foundation. Innocent is a globally renowned advocate for human rights and good governance. Before joining the foundation in 2013, he founded and led the CLEEN Foundation, to promote public safety, security, and accessible justice in West Africa. CLEEN was the first African nongovernmental organization to receive the prestigious MacArthur Foundation Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. In addition, Innocent has held various posts within the Civil Liberties Organization, one of Nigeria's first human rights organizations.

He was also the chair of the Altus Global Alliance, a global network of non-profits. Innocent is the recipient of numerous honours, including the Reebok International Human Rights Award. He served as visiting lecturer at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, where he designed and taught a course on the management of non-profits in the Global South. He holds a master's degree in criminal justice from the University of Leicester and a bachelor's degree in religion from the University of Nigeria.

Miguel Syjuco
Advisory Council Member

Miguel Syjuco

A novelist, journalist, and university professor from the Philippines, Dr Syjuco is an assistant professor of practice, literature, and creative writing at New York University Abu Dhabi, and a contributing opinion writer for the International New York Times. His debut novel Ilustrado has been translated into 16 languages and was a NY Times Notable Book as well as the winner of the Man Asian Literary Prize, the Palanca Award, and other accolades.

Dr Syjuco has worked in journalism for 20 years, as a copyeditor and freelancer. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, Time, Newsweek, the Nikkei Asian Review, the Globe & Mail, the International Herald Tribune, Rappler, The Boston Review, OpenDemocracy and the BBC, among others. For the past two years he has participated at the World Economic Forum on ASEAN as well as the World Forum for Democracy at the Council of Europe.

Dr Syjuco received a B.A. in English Literature from the Ateneo de Manila University, an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Columbia University, a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Adelaide, and a Radcliffe Fellowship at Harvard University.

Angela Sapina
Advisory Council Member

Angela Sapina

Angela Sapina, a double Swiss and Portuguese national, joined the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in November 1990, serving the institution for 27 years in several senior executive positions both in the field and at the Headquarters in Geneva. From her setting-up in 1998 and ensuing a 10-year development of the division for the strengthening of National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, she brought the institution to extensively engage with local partners in the conduct of humanitarian activities in situations of conflict but also in other situations of violence.

Mrs. Sapina was also Deputy Director of Operations in charge of Global Affairs and Policy, overseeing the ICRC work concerning policy on operational issues of global nature, as well as the institution-wide project “Health care in danger” as well as the specific efforts of global networking for operational purposes. She retired from the ICRC in September 2017 and is living in Portugal, working as an independent consultant.

Geir Michalsen
Advisory Council Member

Geir Michalsen

Geir Michalsen is a Senior Advisor at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Section for Global Security and Disarmament. He has extensive experience in foreign policy and international development within the Norwegian civil service.

His current role covers global security challenges such as transnational crime and countering violent extremism and liaising with international organisations and NGOs. He was previously a counsellor at the Norwegian Embassy in Dar es Salaam working on security policy and emergency preparedness with a special focus on maritime security and has held roles in the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation and the Ministry of Agriculture.

What we do

The Resilience Fund builds and incubates community-resilience initiatives against organized crime.

The Fund equips individuals and initiatives with the financial means, capacity and skills-building tools to seek innovative approaches to citizen security and peacebuilding, and to respond and adapt positively to adversity.

This fund supports local, grassroots, community actors, as well as established civil society organizations. The Resilience Fund supports three priority groups in three inter-related windows of activity. The three priority windows are:

1. Fellowships

2. Journalism

3. Community Resilience Groups

Activities supported under the three windows are designed to complement and support each other, and in some cases, grantees may fall into more than one category.

Mission and values

Grassroots efforts have become crucial in mobilizing peaceful community action against organized crime.

These actors are first responders by creating community cohesion and calling attention to injustice and exploitation. Yet, they are also increasingly vulnerable. The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime has launched the Resilience Fund to support such actors, providing the resources they urgently need. We push as much of the available resources as possible to the designated beneficiaries in communities made vulnerable by organized crime.

With minimal bureaucracy and maximum tangible impact, the Resilience Fund is a vehicle that identifies, enables and protects community actors and their efforts, in the parts of the world most affected by criminal governance.


The overarching goal of this fund is to put the weight of the international community behind individual and collective community activists, journalists, youth groups, and community initiatives.

The Resilience Fund has been intentionally designed to serve as an incubator. Whether it is to provide services, promote safety, raise awareness or to change attitudes – or indeed innovations born of local need that we may not yet have identified – the Resilience Fund supports those initiatives that allow actors and organizations to benefit from a range of financial and capacity support, but ultimately work to ensure that they can stand and thrive on their own merits.