The World Young Women’s Christian Association (World YWCA) is a global movement working for women’s empowerment, leadership and rights in more than 120 countries and 20’000 local communities. Empowering women and girls is our way to change the world. Our members and supporters include women from many different faiths, ages, backgrounds, beliefs and cultures.


Our vision

“By 2035, 100 million young women and girls will transform power structures to create justice, gender equality and a world without violence and war; leading a sustainable YWCA movement, inclusive of all women.” Read more

Our strategic priorities

Every four years we develop Strategic Frameworks to implement our vision for 2035. For the next quadrennium, we have three strategic priorities:

  • Strengthening young women and girls’ transformative leadership
  • Realising human rights
  • Sustaining the YWCA movement

Read more


The YWCA was founded in the United Kingdom in 1855 by Lady Mary Jane Kinnaird and Emma Robarts. The movement spread quickly across the world and has been at the forefront to advance women’s rights in areas such as the European refugee crisis after World War II, the civil rights struggle in the USA and apartheid in South Africa. Read more



Every four years, the World YWCA Council meets to make decisions on the World YWCA’s policy, constitution, strategic direction and budgets. The Council includes representatives from the 108 member associations that are affiliated to the global YWCA movement.

The World Council also elects 20 women to the World Board, the governing body of the World YWCA, which includes representatives from all regions. The World Board works closely with the World YWCA office, which handles day-to-day operations for the organisation in accordance with its policies, strategic direction and budgets. Read more about our Constitution  and our Policies.


Deborah Thomas-Austin, President (Trinidad & Tobago)
• Emma Bird, Treasurer (Australia)
• Haifia Baramki, Vice President (Palestine)
• Kathryn Ungard, Vice President (Canada)thumb_IMG_2182_1024
• Marissa Chester, Vice President (Trinidad and Tobago)
• Mimi Han, Vice President (Korea)
• Niveditha Sharat Chandran, Vice President (Aotearoa/NewZealand)
• Andrea Michelle Gradiz Díaz, Vice President (YWCA of Honduras)

World Board Members

• Angele Koloche Biao (Benin)
• Caroline Midttun Rostrup (Norway)
• Jamie Medicine Crane (Canada)
• Jenna Foster (USA)
• Jolien Roetman (The Netherlands)
• Kuena Diaho (Lesotho)
• Lucy Masiye (Zambia)
• Melanie Gentner (Germany)
• Nagham Nassar (Lebanon)
• Rajini Sureka Wijerupa (Sri Lanka)
• Silvina Mariel Gerbaldo (Argentina)
• Valerie Felicia Ho (Taiwan)

Nominations Committee

• Angele Koloche Biao (Benin)
• Lynne Kent (Canada)
• Roslyn Dundas (Australia)
• Younghee Won (South Korea)

World Office

The staff members at the World YWCA headquarter support YWCA work around the world. All staff can be reached at worldoffice@worldywca.org.

  • Malayah Harper, General Secretary (Canada and United Kingdom)
  • Melodie Schlaepfer, Executive Coordinator (France)
  • Rita Muyambo, Head of Programmes (Zimbabwe)
  • Hendrica Okondo, Global Programme Manager SRHR and HIV – Focal Point Africa (Kenya)13517629_10153677896112011_3078037640646242257_o
  • Juli Dugdale, Global Programme Manager Women’s Leadership – Focal Point Asia/Pacific (Australia)
  • Caterina Lemp Bitsacopoulos, Operations Officer – Compliance and Movement Coordination (Chile)
  • Gladys Yegon, Programme Officer (Kenya)
  • Linnea Hakansson, Programme Officer (Sweden)
  • Sophia Pierre-Antoine, Program Associate (Haiti)
  • Vanessa Anyoti, Interim Young Women’s Coordinator (Tanzania)
  • Rebeka Johnson, Monitoring, Evaluation and Research Officer (Hungary)
  • Kathleen Maksymec, Head of Communications (Canada)
  • Lina Borén, Communications Officer (Sweden)
  • Daniela Zelaya, Communications Associate (Honduras)
  • Sara Llort, Head of Finance and Operations (France)
  • Fabrice Sa’a, Finance and Operations Manager (Cameroun)
  • Marie-Antoinette Santschi, Personnel Officer (Switzerland)
  • Helen Deslarzes, Finance Officer (Philippines)
  • Thao Huynh, Finance Assistant (France and Vietnam)
  • Mandy Nogarede, Programme Officer Grant Management – Focal Point Middle East (United Kingdom and Switzerland)
  • Aida Rehouma, Events and Projects Coordinator (Switzerland and Tunisia)
  • Caroline von Kimakowitz Vieira, Events & Operations Officer (Brazil)
  • Frances Gauthier, Resource Mobilization Consultant (United States)


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Contact Us

World YWCA
16 L’Ancienne-Route
1218 Grand-Saconnex
Geneva Switzerland
Telephone: + 41 22 929 6040
Fax: + 41 22 929 6044
Email: worldoffice@worldywca.org

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