World Office Staff
There are currently 15 staff members representing 13 different nationalities based at the World YWCA headquarters and supporting YWCA work around the world. All staff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
General Secretary - Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda
Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, from Zimbabwe, joined the World YWCA in 2007. She has over 10 years of experience with the United Nations, where she served as Regional Director for the United Nations Development Fund for Women in Eastern and Horn of Africa covering 13 countries. She had previously worked as a human rights officer with UNICEF in Liberia and Zimbabwe. She is a trained human rights lawyer with extensive experience in conflict resolution and mediation. Under her leadership, the World YWCA has worked on strengthening the analysis on the linkages between women’s rights, violence against women, sexual and reproductive health and HIV for effective interventions, programmes and services. Gumbonzvanda has also raised the voice of grassroots women and girls, advocating on their behalf for the implementation of key global commitments on women, young women and girls’ rights through CEDAW mechanisms, the Commission on the Status of Women, the Human Rights Council and the International Conference on Population and Development, engaging the movement and partners in these processes.
Gumbonzvanda serves on various boards of development organisations including Action Aid International, CIVICUS and Save the Children UK and the steering committees for Girls Not Brides and Women's Day Live. Gumbonzvanda is also on the High Level Group on HIV Prevention and Sexual Health for Young People in Eastern and Southern Africa, advisor to the Dutch Government in the planning of the Human Rights Thematic Forum for ICPD+20 and chairs the NGO Committee on the Status of Women in Geneva. In May 2014 Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda was named Goodwill Ambassador of the African Union Campaign to End Child Marriage, further consolidating the World YWCA’s important work on ending child, early and forced marriage in a single generation.
Executive Coordinator – Melissa Sciacca
Melissa Sciacca, from Indonesia, holds a Bachelor degree in Business Administration from the University of Preston in Pakistan. She is fluent in English, Bahasa, French and Spanish. Melissa has previously held administrative positions at The League of Arab States, Indonesia Permanent Mission, Japan Tobacco International and SportFive International before joining the World YWCA Office in May 2014.
World Council and Systems Coordinator – Aida Rehouma
Aida Rehouma, from Switzerland and Tunisia, holds a master’s degree in Business Administration and International Relations from the University of Geneva, with a focus on strategy and innovation management. Fluent in French, English, Arabic and Italian, Aida has strong interest and knowledge in issues of governance, leadership, sustainability and social justice including the realization of women’s human rights. Before joining the World YWCA in July 2014 as Events Coordinator, Aida held the role of Community Manager for the World Economics’ Forum Network of Global Agenda Councils, facilitating interactions of 1500 experts and coordinating the Summit on the Global Agenda held annually in the United Arab Emirates. Prior to that, she worked in Canada in corporate responsibility research and reporting for EnCana, a leading energy corporation. She also has experience in NGO management through her tenure on the National Executive Board of AIESEC, the world’s largest student-run organisation dedicated to youth leadership development.
Programme Officer Grant Management – Focal Point Middle East – Mandy Nogarede
Mandy Nogarede, from Great Britain and Switzerland, holds a Bachelor in English and Philosophy from the University of Manchester. Fluent in English and French, Mandy has been with the World YWCA for over 20 years. Mandy joined the World YWCA as a young woman and over the years she has worked on Refugees, Cooperation for Development and Resource Sharing, Leadership Training and Women and Development. Her main interests are economic justice and the environment. She is now leading the Power to Change Fund and is the focal point for the Middle East.
Global Programme Manager SRHR and HIV and AIDS – Focal Point Africa – Hendrica Okondo
Hendrica Okondo, from Kenya, holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Nairobi, Kenya and a Master of Science from the University of London. She has previously worked as Programme Manager for UNIFEM South Sudan and Country Programme Manager for UNIFEM Tanzania. She has extensive working experience in Women’s Human Rights, especially in the context of HIV and Humanitarian settings.
Global Programme Manager for Violence Against Women – Focal Point for the Caribbean and North America - Marie-Claude Julsaint
Marie-Claude Julsaint, from Haiti, holds a Masters degree in International Relations from the Graduate Institute of International Relations in Geneva, Switzerland, and a Masters degree in Development Studies from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Lausanne, Switzerland. Fluent in Haitian Creole, French and English, Marie-Claude has a passion for women’s rights and extensive knowledge in International Human Rights Law. Before taking on the position of Global Programme Manager for Violence Against Women, Marie-Claude held the position of World YWCA Regional Director for the Americas. Prior to that, Marie-Claude worked for Sentinelles, a Swiss NGO, as Programme Officer for the Noma Programme in Burkina Faso and Niger.
Global Programme Manager Women's Leadership and Movement Building – Focal Point Asia/Pacific – Juli Dugdale
Juli Dugdale, from Australia, has extensive experience in working at the grassroot level and for both small and large NGO's. She has qualifications in Community Development, Child Protection from both UK and Australian universities and is presently completing her Masters in International Development. Juli is passionate about young women's leadership and has worked in partnerships and connecting the local voice with the global voice. Before joining the World YWCA, Juli worked in a senior executive leadership position at Melbourne City Mission, and over the years she has been a member of many NGO boards, community forums, government advisory groups. Whilst working in Scotland, Juli was instrumental in introducing a code of conduct in working with children and working to advance children's rights. Juli was elected the first young woman Vice President of the YWCA of Australia and has continued to enjoy her journey with the YWCA at a local, national and now global level.
Programme Officer Membership Support – Focal Point Latin America – Caterina Lemp
Caterina Lemp, from Chile, graduated from the University of Playa Ancha, Valparaíso, Chile, with a degree in Journalism. She has been involved with the YWCA for more than 12 years. Before joining the World YWCA as a one-year intern in 2007, Caterina worked as the Communications Assistant for the YWCA of Chile and coordinator for the YWCA of Chile headquarters in Viña del Mar. From 2008 to March 2011, Caterina worked in the World YWCA Office as Programme Assistant for the Americas, Caribbean, Asia and Pacific. She then became the Programme Officer for Membership Support and Focal Point for Latin America. Caterina is fluent in English, French and Spanish.
Head of Communications – Sylvie Jacquat
Sylvie Jacquat, from Switzerland, holds a Masters Degree in History, Journalism and Social Communications from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. After her studies, she worked as the Communication and Information Officer for the South East Europe regional headquarters of Handicap International, working in countries including Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia, Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo. In 2005, Sylvie worked in Sudan for a grassroots non-governmental organisation, Sudan Social Development Organisation (SUDO) where she was involved in their Human Rights programme. In 2006, she worked in Columbia as Communications Officer for Handicap International’s office in Medellin and was in charge of corporate communications as well as public relations for the organisation. Back in Switzerland in 2007, she started working at the World YWCA as Communications Assistant. In 2009 she completed her postgraduate studies in Public Relations at the Swiss Public Relations Institute. In 2010, she was promoted to Head of Communications at the World YWCA.
Programme Officer Communications – Maja Gosovic
Maja Gosovic, from ex-Yugoslavia, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Masters’ degree in International Relations. Fluent in Serbo-Croatian, English, French and Spanish, Maja has vast international experience. She has worked in Switzerland, Serbia and Cambodia and at the International Labour Organisation in Geneva before joining the YWCA in 2010.
Programme Officer Communications- Marcia Banasko
Marcia Banasko, from the United Kingdom, holds a Degree in International Development and Latin American Studies from the University of Liverpool and a National Diploma in Youth Work and Development from John Moores University. She has been involved with the YWCA for the past 5 years, working as a Project Worker for the YWCA of England and Wales. Marcia has extensive grassroots experience and has worked in Ireland, UK, Turkey and India. She also worked on campaigning and implementing development programmes, and developed a radio talk show. In 2011, Marcia worked as a research officer contributing to a report- Female Voice in Violence which documented and researched how women and girls are affected by gang violence in the UK. This report was presented to the UK government in Parliament. In 2012, Marcia joined the World YWCA Internship Programme as Communications Programme Associate and from January 2013 joined the World YWCA as official staff.
Finance and Operations Department
Head of Finance and Operations - Maria Petty
Maria Petty, from Peru, obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Economics and worked in Lima in economic research before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area, USA, in 1994. She earned her MBA from California State University in 1998 and soon after a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license from the State of California. She has worked for 11 years for public accounting firms and multinational corporations in the US. Past employers include Compaq Computers, Baker Hughes, and Applied Materials. Maria held management roles in audit, financial reporting, project management and controlling and has travelled extensively for international assignments. In 2009 she moved to Switzerland to work on the finance integration of a newly acquired Applied Materials Swiss subsidiary. In March 2012 Mariabecame Head of Finance and Operations at the World YWCA, to pursue a new career path where she may combine her skills with her interest in social issues and women's rights.
Personnel Officer- Marie-Antoinette Santschi
Marie-Antoinette Santschi, from Switzerland, has been working at the World YWCA for over 20 years. Fluent in English and French and with a good knowledge of German, Marie-Antoinette has extensive experience in Human Resources and Finance.
Finance officer – Helen Deslarzes
Helen holds a BS in Accountancy from Saint Louis University, Philippines. She has more than 11 years of experience in Financial, Budgetary, Investment and Trust Accounting. She has worked at Les Bastions Trust Corporation SA, a philanthropic company in Geneva as an Accountant before joining World YWCA and she previously worked as a Trust Accountant in a Fiduciary Company Geneva. She speaks English, French and Tagalog.
Operations Officer – Alena Staliarchuk
Alena Staliarchuk from Belarus joined the YWCA in July 2013 as Operations Officer. Alena has over 10 years experience in the area of management, banking and operations in both Belarus and Switzerland. Alena studied Applied Mathematics & Computers as well as Economic Cybernetics at the Belarusian State University in Minsk. She also has a French language Diploma from Geneva University.
The World YWCA offers two long-term internships and four short-term internships every year: meet the Interns
Each year in the month of February, the World Office bustles with excitement as we welcome our new Programme Associates. For the last 21 years, the World YWCA has selected two young women to spend a year at the World Office in Geneva and learn and grow in an international environment.