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. Through this competitively selected 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. The first cohort was from 2016-2018, and the second cohort began their two-year term in September 2018.
We are thankful to UBS Optimus Foundation, GHR Foundation, USAID and Rockefeller Foundation for supporting this program over the past few years.
2018 - 2020 Ambassadors
Ambassadors began their two-year term in September 2018 with an in-person orientation in Uganda to review advocacy and outreach, increasing stakeholder support and developing plans of action toward strengthening the social service workforce regionally and globally. Meet this dedicated group:
Dr. Erick Ater Onyango, Senior Children's Officer and Head Researcher, Department of Children's Services, Kenya
Through his current role in the government, Dr. Onyango 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, Ms. Balyan 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, International Children’s Services Manager, Lumos Foundation, UK, and Independent Child Protection, Mental Health and Gender Consultant, China
Ms. Evans is the Technical Lead within the Global Training and Advisory Services (GTAS) team at Lumos Foundation, where she supports the organization's mission for transition from various forms of institutional care of children towards community based child protection systems. Camille has over 20 years’ experience as a practitioner, manager and international consultant working in the voluntary sector, with local authorities and with international NGOs and organisations. She has worked as a practitioner and senior manager in the US and UK, and has designed, implemented and evaluated child protection, gender-based violence and psychosocial support programmes in 10 countries. A clinical social worker, she has served as a social work field instructor for New York University in Shanghai, China, and continues to provide consultation for child protection, mental health and gender related projects in China.
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 40 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, Expert in Mobilization of the Catholic Church, International Justice Mission, Guatemala
Ms. Gossman Montenegro is responsible for mobilizing the church around efforts to end sexual violence and strengthen collaboration between the church and community to jointly realize this goal. She was previously in charge of overseeing the temporary foster care program and psychosocial support through the government in Guatemala.
Mr. Neckvilleus Kamwesigye, Sector Head, Case Management, 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, Deputy Director, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, South Africa
In her current role, Dr. Murungi is involved in post-graduate training in human rights (both masters and short courses), overseeing the Children, Disability and Gender Units, as well as leading the Centre's engagement with the African Union, regional economic communities, and other CSOs on the continent. She is also a Visiting Senior Lecturer at Moi University in Kenya for the post graduate program in Child and Family Law.
Mr. Braima Sellu, Child Protection Advocacy and Gender Advisor, World Vision International, Sierra Leone
Mr. Sellu's experience includes violence prevention, child protection and advocacy. 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. Currently working at World Vision International in Sierra Leone, he recently held a similar role at ChildFund International.
2016 - 2018 Alliance Ambassadors
The first cohort has completed their two-year term as an Ambassador, but remain committed to leading social service workforce strengthening efforts nationally, regionally and globally, and will support the new group of Ambassadors in their activities. Read about their successes.
Mr. Michael Byamukama, Uganda Country Representative, Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative, Uganda/East and Southern Africa region; and President, National Association of Social Workers Uganda
As country Representative for REPSSI, Mr. Byamukama 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, Ms. Calder 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. She is also co-chair of Save the Children’s Global Task Group on Child Protection Systems Strengthening.
Ms. Jennifer Kaberi, Coordinator, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of Children CSO Forum; and Founder, Mtoto News, Kenya
Ms. Kaberi is a trained social worker, with experience in bringing together civil society toward realization of child rights and child protection. She founded Mtoto News as an online and social media platform to increase awareness and interest in child protections issues.
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, Dr. Pathare 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, Incoming Director, Global Social Service Workforce Alliance
Ms. Sherwood will begin her new role as Director of the Alliance in October. Currently she is Senior Specialist, Psychosocial Support Program at Save the Children US, where she is training social workers in delivery of pss services following natural disasters. Previously, she serviced 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. She 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, Mr. Sudrajat 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, Ms. Wasike 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.