Adolescents, Youth, and Gender

I am committed to providing leadership to strengthen programs and policy enabling adolescents and young people, particularly in adverse settings in sub-Saharan Africa, to thrive. I work across sectors and disciplines, combining training and experience in health, education, prevention science, psychology, child protection, sociology, and international relations, and use a life course approach to advance well-being in the second decade of life (esp. 10-24 years). 

  • One in four individuals worldwide is between the ages of 10 and 24. In many countries, children make up more than half of the population (according to the Population Reference Bureau).
  • Young people are disproportionately affected by preventable or treatable health issues, including mental disorders, violence (including child marriage before the age of 18), complications from pregnancy and childbirth, and HIV/AIDS.
  • While global health programming is often focused on young children (under 5) and maternal needs, increasing youth unemployment serves as a reminder of the importance of upholding the rights of children of all ages and renewing attention toward the healthy development of adolescent and youth.
  • Additionally, improving maternal and child health and economic development will not happen in the absence of increased focus on young people, who are the parents and leaders of tomorrow.
  • Gender inequality often compounds the multiple vulnerabilities and barriers young people face.

SELECT EXPERIENCE

  • At the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, I work within the Gender Equality Division and led the adolescent health and well-being work stream of a new partnership with UNICEF to advance the agenda for addressing the needs of young people within both organizations
  • As an independent consultant for projects commissioned by the World Bank, Harvard Center for Population Studies, and UBS Optimus Foundation, I have led research and published articles that inform program investments in adolescent girls and women’s health and rights, as well as child development, in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Working with the International Children’s Rights and Protection and Children’s Education at private donor organization Wellspring Philanthropic Fund, I redesigned team grantmaking processes and worked with the Director and Program Officer to review program strategy for funding priorities for young people in Eastern and Central Africa.
  • Trained at the Doctoral and Master’s levels, I have taught undergraduate and graduate students, in adolescent and youth health and well-being, maternal and child health and rights, prevention science, and program leadership through training at the public health, education, and public policy graduate schools at Harvard University.