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Alliance Ambassador Program

Launched in September 2016, the Ambassador Program aims to provide individuals working in or with the social service workforce opportunities to develop leadership skills, inform strategy and influence policy at the local, national and regional level in support of social service workforce strengthening efforts. Ambassadors reflect a range of geographic regions as well as stakeholder groups such as academic, training and research institutions, civil society groups, foundations, government representatives; non-governmental organizations (including other networks), practitioners, private corporations and professional associations. Through this voluntary program, Ambassadors play a leading role in growing awareness and interest in the work of the Global Social Service Workforce Alliance to plan, develop and support the social service workforce.

Read about the successes of the current Ambassadors during their first year and plans for the coming year.

2016 - 2018 Alliance Ambassadors

A cohort of eight Ambassadors was initially selected for a two-year term, with seven continuing in the program during year two. Learn about the individuals participating in the program and their work:

Mr. Michael Byamukama, Uganda Country Representative, Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative, Uganda/East and Southern Africa region

As country Representative for REPSSI, he oversees all REPSSI operations in Uganda, social service workforce training and is part of the team that created the training curricula throughout East and Southern Africa Region, including developing the psychosocial training manual, orphan/vulnerable children child protection curriculum and national para-social worker training curriculum. A social worker by training, with 18 years of experience, he is a member of the Uganda National Children Protection Working Group.

Ms. Jane Calder, Regional Advisor for Child Protection in Asia, Save the Children, Thailand/Asia region

With 30 years of experience working in, managing and advising programs for vulnerable children in numerous Asian countries, in Uganda, Tanzania and the UK, she is currently leading the global initiative to train and accredit all Save the Children child protection staff members worldwide, as well as leading efforts in India to develop social work training and in China to pilot the child protection system. Jane is also co-chair of Save the Children’s Global Task Group on Child Protection Systems Strengthening.

Group of Ambassadors and Alliance staff at orientation

Ms. Jennifer Kaberi, National Coordinator, Children Agenda Forum, Kenya

Development worker with a special focus on holistic development for children, she is currently coordinating the Children Agenda Forum hosted by the African Institute for Children Studies that brings together 140 civil society organizations that work with children in Kenya to strengthen policies and services for advocacy and policy change in the area of child protection. She is also a 2016 YALI Regional East Africa Leadership Center Fellow.

Motshidisi Patricia Maquina, Senior Mentor for Community Child and Youth Care Workers in the Isibindi Model, National Association of Child Care Workers (NACCW), South Africa

With 27 years of experience as a child and youth care worker, she has worked in many settings, including managing professional foster care services and working with NACCW to implement components of the Isibindi program. She is unable to continue in year two of the program but the Alliance continues to work with NACCW.

Dr. Suresh Pathare, Professor and Director, Centre for Studies in Rural Development, Institute of Social Work and Research, India

Social work educator, researcher and practitioner, with 22 years of teaching, curriculum development, research, consultation and practice experience in social work, he has previously organized and advocated for migrant workers, slum dwellers and tribal people in India. Currently, he is engaged in teaching social work at the undergraduate and post graduate level and acts as secretary of the National Association of Professional Social Workers in India.

Ms. Betsy Sherwood, Senior Specialist, Psychosocial Support Program, Save the Children US

In her most recent role as the Head of Programs for CBM-Haiti, Betsy oversaw all disability and community mental health activities and served as a focal point for gender and child safeguarding for CBM in Latin America and the Caribbean region. Over the last 10 years, she has also facilitated workshops in other regions on disability and gender-based violence programs to build community-level capacity and overseen case management and monitoring and evaluation of programs. Betsy helped to establish a professional social work association in Haiti.

Mr. Tata Sudrajat, Director of Advocacy and Campaigns, Save the Children International, Indonesia/Southeast Asia region

Trained social worker and social development with 23 years of experience, he has worked in child welfare, child protection and care, social welfare, social development and social protection. In his current role, he is managing implementation of the national program on family-based care in the prevention of institutionalization, providing direct response with a social work case management approach. He leads legal reform and advocacy for alternative care as well as policy reform to support a recently initiated social work licensing system.

Ms. Agnes Wasike, TPO Uganda Officer working as Coordinator of National Child Protection Working Group under Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Uganda

Social work practitioner for the past 19 years, she is currently providing direct input into the social development sector, including interfacing with other sectors with a mandate on child well-being. She specifically coordinates national level child protection stakeholders on policy implementation towards a strengthening child protection system in Uganda.

2018-2020 Ambassadors

Selected applicants will begin their two-year term in September 2018 with an in-person training. Read more about roles and responsibilities and call for nominations to learn more about the program and application process. The 2018-2020 cohort will be the second group in the program.

Dr. Erick Ater Onyango, Senior Children's Officer and Head Researcher, Department of Children's Services, Kenya

Through his current role in the government, Erick participates in developing and reviewing Children’s Policies and programs. He implements and enforce the provisions in the Children’s Act and other legislations, develops National Plans of Actions and Strategic Child Protection Interventions including, child protection in emergencies and, promotes child participation. He also conducts data analysis and generates reports from original research projects to inform children’s policies. He is an advocate for the best interests of the child and coordinates involvement of stakeholders and higher learning institutions in child protection work.

Ms. Nune Balyan, Executive Director, Child Protection Network, Armenia

In her current role, she promotes the rights of children through advocating for policy reform. Within her professional experience she had a special focus on rights of children with disabilities and mental health problems. Prior, she has authored more than 50 projects for local CSOs and was involved as a member of the experts' group for the elaboration of the Child Protection Index aiming to measure a country’s current child protection system against a common set of UNCRC indicators.

Dr. Sanjai Bhatt, President, National Association of Professional Workers in India (NAPSWI), and Professor, Dept. of Social Work, University of Delhi, India

A professor of social work for the last 30 years, Dr. Bhatt has authored numerous books and journal articles. As President of NAPSWI, he leads the largest professional association in India with 1990 members and is leading policy reform efforts for licensing, registration and recognition of social work as a profession.

Ms. Camille Evans, Child Protection Consultant, and Field Instructor, New York University in Shanghai, China

Ms. Evans has consulted for numerous NGOs on child protection, gender-based violence and psychosocial support programs in the US, UK, sub-Saharan Africa, south Asia and now within China. Her work has focused on program implementation and evaluation as well as developing and designing training for staff. She is a clinical social worker by training and a field instructor for social work graduate students, conducting clinical supervision sessions and facilitating field learning to help students link theoretical learning with real world practice.

Dr. Rosemarie Hunter, Associate Professor, Director, Bridging Borders Partnership, College of Social Work, University of Utah, USA, Thailand, Myanmar and Uganda 

With a focus on indigenous knowledge, cross-cultural learning, and supporting regional networks that provide for long-term sustainability, Dr. Hunter's work is centered around creating global partnerships and online learning platforms that extend social work education to communities living at the margins. Her 30 years as a social worker has culminated in the role in her role as the director of the Bridging Borders partnership program that prioritizes community-identified issues and participatory action research as mechanisms for developing local solutions to the issues communities are facing. 

Ms. Lilly Elizabeth Gossman Montenegro, Head of the PROFAMI Psychosocial Care and Family Rehabilitation Program, Secretary of Social Welfare, Guatemala 

Ms. Gossman Montenegro is responsible for providing psychosocial support to indigenous families and children to prevent children from being separated from their families. In her role within the government, she coordinates with the judicial system and the Attorney General to give priority to the child remaining within their family and re-integration. She was previously in charge of overseeing the temporary foster care program through the government in Guatemala.

Mr. Neckvilleus Kamwesigye, Case Management Specialist, World Education Inc./Bantwana, Uganda

In his current role, Mr. Kamwesigye leads design and implementation of program activities specific to case management service delivery and strengthening referrals between community-based social service and health providers. He supervises and coaches over 120 staff and 11 implementing partners across 20 districts in case management approaches, particularly for orphan and vulnerable children. Over the past seven years, he has contributed to national and global best practices on high impact child protection service delivery models and represents WEI/B on the National Child Protection Working Group.                    

Dr. Malineo Matsela, Academic Programmes Manager, Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative (REPSSI), Lesotho and East/Central Africa

Dr. Matsela leads academic programming in the newly established Africa Psychosocial Support Institute (APSSI) in Eastern and Southern Africa. APSSI is being established to expand both the knowledge base about and academic programmes in psychosocial support, with a vision of establishing psychosocial support as a discipline, with focus on promotion of psychosocial and mental wellbeing. She is based in Lesotho. With a background in educational psychology and counselling psychology, Dr. Matsela leads the academic programs aimed at strengthening the social service workforce and expanding the field of psychosocial support.              

Dr. Nkatha Murungi, Head, Children and Law Programme, The African Child Policy Forum, Ethiopia and African continent

Through partnership building, evidence base advocacy, and engagement with a broad range of stakeholders including governments, civil society organizations and funding partners, Dr. Murungi contributes to ACPF’s overall goal of bringing children’s issues to the public agenda by advocating for child friendly laws and policies across the African continent. To achieve this goal, she facilitates inter-sectoral linkages, promotes participation of workforce members in capacity building initiatives and advocates for policies relevant to the workforce with the African Union and its institutions and mechanisms. She is also a Visiting Senior Lecturer at Moi University in Kenya for the post graduate program in Child and Family Law.   

Dr. Salome Namitcheishvili, Assistant Professor of Social Work, Iv. Javakhishvili, Tbilisi State University, and Consultant, Rehabilitation and Resocialization, Ministry of Corrections, Georgia

As an assistant professor, Dr. Namitcheishvili teaches bachelor’s and master’s degree level courses to social work students. She also provides consultation on social work and rehabilitation programs to the Georgian Probation and Penitentiary Services under the Ministry of Corrections and the Crime Prevention Center under the Ministry of Justice within the frames of EU technical assistance to the Government of Georgia. Most recently, Dr. Namitcheishvili was vice president of the International Federation of Social Workers Europe.

Mr. Braima Sellu, Child Protection Specialist, ChildFund, Sierra Leone

In his current role, Mr. Sellu leads the organization’s child protection work in Sierra Leone, including violence prevention and advocacy components. He has experience working on programs related to psychosocial support, child protection in emergencies and development contexts, gender-based violence and children without appropriate care. He has contributed to the development of the regional Community Based Child Protection Mechanism Manual for ChildFund that will be used in the process of strengthening child protection systems in Sierra Leone.