The World YWCA office comprises of team members based in Geneva and beyond. The team plays many core functions- is a supporter, a strategist, a catalyst and an advocate for the YWCA movement. All team members can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Casey Harden General Secretary (United States)
General Secretary (USA)
Casey (she/her) is a testament to the YWCAs mission to create space for young women to be leaders, in all their diversities, working together to contribute to gender equality.
Since January 2019, as the 15th General Secretary of World YWCA, Casey has been driving the realisation of the global YWCA movements’ Goal 2035 – 100 million young women transforming power structures – and tackling exciting operational, governance, and partnership opportunities to ensure the vitality and relevancy of YWCA in the 21st century. She demonstrates commitment to transparency, authenticity and inclusion, and a closely held aspiration for World YWCA to be accountable to the leaders of the YWCA global movement, most especially young leaders.
Casey has worked in the local, regional and national sphere of the USA advocating on and ensuring direct services in response to the issues of sexual and gender-based violence, economic justice, health and wellness, leadership and anti-racism. Casey joined the YWCA movement 24 years ago and through varied executive and leadership positions, has shown how to harness a movement that is rich and wide-reaching in its diversity, toward a common goal for collective impact, including a multi-year transformative process toward the YWCA USA mission of racial justice.
Casey serves on the Board of ACT Alliance, as a co-chair of the Multi-Faith Advisory Council to the UN Interagency Task Force on Religion and Development, on the Board of the Global Youth Mobilization, and as a #ThursdaysinBlack ambassador for the World Council of Churches.
An aspiring astronaut, proud mama of four, and YWCA torchbearer who finds joy in simple things, Casey believes that young women and girls will lead the way in realizing the global goal of leaving no one behind.
Director of Operations (Switzerland and Tunisia)
Aïda (she/her) comes with over 10 years of experience working both in profit and non-profit organisations in service of a more equal, fairer, and sustainable and prosperous future.
She joined the World YWCA in 2014 where over the years she has utilized her expertise in strategy and partnership management, general planning and management, and operations and event coordination in multiple roles.
She is passionate about taking impact based work towards helping the World YWCA and the movement achieve the goals envisioned around the empowerment of women, young women and girls. Prior to World YWCA, Aïda has worked for the World Economic Forum in Geneva, non-profit initiatives in North Africa and Switzerland, as well as in the energy sector in Canada. She carries with her dual educational background in Business Administration and International Relations.
Suchi Gaur (Ph.D.)
Director of Global Engagement and Impact (India)
Suchi (she/her) carries with over 10 years of experience working at the confluence of gender, public health and communications technology in the non-profit, startup, parliamentary and research sectors. She joined the World YWCA in 2018, where she is combining her expertise in behavior change, social marketing and community mobilization into her passion and experience around young women and women`s empowerment.
She currently oversees the World YWCA’s daily engagement, programmatic, mission impact and communications activities.
Passionate about writing around issues of service delivery and access, advocacy on rights-based policies for women and youth engagement comes naturally to her. She loves to volunteer to train youth and women across the world. A researcher by training, she was awarded a gold medal and the prestigious Fulbright scholarship for her doctoral work in participatory community communications.
Lead – YW4A Partnership and Initiative (Zimbabwe)
Thabani (she/her) is a strategic partnerships, resource mobilization and grants management professional with 12 years of experience. With specialized expertise in sourcing funding for different thematic areas such as SRHR, HIV and AIDS, MNCH, women and girls empowerment, she joined the World YWCA in 2018.
At World YWCA, she is coordinating and guiding the development of strategic partnerships, mobilizing resources and donor building to enhance the sustainability of the World Office and the movement.
She is keen on linking her expertise in resource mobilization and her commitment to gender equality into generating revenue towards the YWCA Goal 2035 and beyond. She envisions a world where young women have better access to information and reproductive health. She carries with her a MSc. in Strategic Management and in Development Studies.
Caterina Lemp Bitsacopoulos
Senior Specialist- Movement Building (Chile)
Caterina (she/her), with more than 15 years of experience in the YWCA movement and system both locally and nationally at Chile and globally at the World YWCA office, is a champion of movement building, organisational development, good practices and accountability. She began her life as a young women volunteer and staff in the Valparaiso, Chile YWCA.
Working in World YWCA Office since 2007, she has been supporting member associations and governance work, streamlining her work with the larger goals of gender equality, ensuring women and young women are supported and empowered for sustaining the YWCA movement.
Fluent in Spanish, French and English, Cate has utilized her educational background of journalism to strengthen her linkages with the global member association movement.
Senior Specailist- Finance and Operations (Philippines)
Originally from Philippines, Helen (she/her) carries with her over 17 years of experience in finance and accounting. She joined World YWCA in September 2013 working with the finance and operations team. With her expertise in accounting, and her understanding of the development sector, she is working collaboratively around young women`s development and donor management.
Before joining the World YWCA she worked as an accountant for a trust in Geneva providing administrative and related financial management. Thereafter, she moved to a philanthropic office where she developed knowledge in investment accounting and philanthropic activities. She has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Accountancy from St. Louis University (Philippines).
Daniela Zelaya Raudales
Project Specialist (Honduras)
Daniela (she/her) joined the World YWCA, from Honduras, as a young intern in 2016. Currently championing initiatives and engagement at the World YWCA, Daniela has worked across communications and programme roles, coordinating peace building and young women empowerment and leadership programmes. Before joining the World YWCA, she was a volunteer and board member at the YWCA of Honduras where she worked as a peer educator for social and gender justice, violence against women and girls, and sexual and reproductive health and rights.
She has over the years linked her passion and ground knowledge around different thematic areas into young women leadership for development. She carries with her a degree in communications and advertising, with a specialty in administration.
Executive and Operations Associate (Brazil)
Victoria joined the World YWCA in 2018 and currently supports the executive operations.
She applies her experience in a start-up environment to her current role. The causes of stopping Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), human trafficking, and forced child marriage are close to her heart, and she connects deeply with the work of the global YWCA movement.
Victoria has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics. Since moving to Switzerland in 2015, she learned French and now considers the country her new home. She enjoys reading and is a fitness geek and foodie.
Finance Associate (France)
Catherine Wanjiku Kinyanjui
YW4A Technical Programme Manager ( Kenya)
Talisa Avanthay Garcia
Communications Associate (Switzerland and Ecuador)
Talisa (she/her) joined the World YWCA in 2019 with experience of bringing effective communication systems into the development world. Through her work, she has utilised communications in addressing human rights violations in armed conflicts and internal displacements of refugee women in Colombia.
She is keen on enhancing the awareness on effectively utilising communications for better policies for human rights, particularly for less represented communities and minorities.
Passionate about defending freedom of speech and information, gender equality and the fight against early and forced child marriage, she is keen to stand up for the rights of young women and girls.
Rise Up! Leadership Program Manager (Ireland and Australia)
Jade (She/Her) is an Irish and Australian national and comes with almost a decade of experience in both NGO, CSO and the corporate sector and has a broad range of expertise in programmatic, compliance and service delivery with a focus on equity and safety.
A proud intersectional feminist, she has lived and worked in Ireland, India, Switzerland, and Australia and visited almost 30 countries worldwide. She has met and worked with inspiring women and gender diverse people who have shaped and informed her approach and practice. Jade is passionate and committed to social justice for all. She hopes to achieve stronger, safer, and more just communities through better accountability systems, effective governance, and strong leadership through her work. She has worked in multiple capacities across the YWCA movement since 2016 at local, national and world levels. Currently the Program Manager for RiseUp! Leadership Initiative in Asia-Pacific and will work closely with YWCAs in the region for strategic implementation, coordination, and management of the Rise Up! program on the ground.
Jade’s studies focused on gender and identity politics, which focused on sociological theories such as racialisation, gender, migration, ethnic conflict, and peacebuilding, graduating with a BA in Contemporary Culture from Dublin City University and an M.Phil in Race, Ethnicity and Conflict studies from Trinity College Dublin. Jade hopes to bring this knowledge along with her intergenerational approach to leadership, feminist practices and learning-based attitude to innovation to all her work.
Research and Engagement Associate for Rise Up! Leadership Initiative in Asia-Pacific (Nepal)
Nirmala is a passionate, detail-oriented, grassroots-driven advocate who has been part of World YWCA since 2018 in various capacities. She is a YWCA leader who has showcased the power of investing in young women’s leadership and has also done a lot of work under our ecumenical identity.
Nirmala’s work within the YWCA has its root in the YWCA of Nepal. She specialises in co-designing, implementation, evaluation and youth-led evidence generation. She is a firm believer in the YWCA model of young women’s leadership and has extensively spoken about breaking formal and informal power structures. For many years, she has delivered training for young women through communities and national levels on issues that matter to them- sexual and reproductive health and rights, mental health, gender justice, and more. As a human-rights advocate, Nirmala has been working with youth across Asia for a long time.
Nirmala holds a Master’s degree in Rural Development from Tribhuvan University, Nepal. With her current role as a RESEARCH AND ENGAGEMENT ASSOCIATE, she will guide and support the work under evidence-based storytelling, streamlined communications and coordination, and provide support to manage a technical pool of assistance. Her skills, experiences, understanding and in-depth knowledge of the YWCAs in the region will complement the Global Engagement and Impact team in meeting the objectives of Phase IV of the RiseUp! Leadership initiative in Asia-Pacific.
Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) Specialist for Rise Up! Leadership Initiative in Asia Pacific (India)
Bijita joined the World YWCA in 2022 and is based out of Hyderabad, India where she works closer to the YWCAs of the Asia-Pacific region for the monitoring, evaluation and learning of the Riseup! Leadership Initiative, leading the work on implementation of our feminist MEL framework.
Bijita comes with a decade plus of extensive experience in leading gender transformative evaluation and learning-oriented evaluation approaches such as outcome mapping, development evaluation and utilization-focussed evaluation in designing frameworks that critically examine gender-norms and power-relations while studying impact, capturing shifts in experiences, perceptions, attitudes and transformative change.
Bijita has been trained in facilitating participatory sessions and skill building exercises using tech tools. In her previous roles, she has done a lot of work around SRHR, WASH, and Adolescent & Child Rights, Child Protection and Education. She holds an M.Phil and M.A. in Sociology from University of Delhi, India and has completed many professional certificate courses in feminist and development evaluation approaches.
In her free time, Bijita enjoys baking ambitious and fun cakes along with her two daughters, loves painting folk art forms from India and is a yoga practitioner.
Program Coordinator for Rise Up! Leadership Initiative in Asia Pacific (Fiji)
Veena Singh is a Fiji Islander, born and raised in a small rural town in Fiji and is of mixed ethnicity (her mum is an Indigenous Fijian woman and her dad is a Fiji Islander of Indian descent). She is a feminist development practitioner and is a strong advocate of ‘shifting powers to create positive change’ and in ‘building an economy of kindness’. Her work experience has largely been in the areas of Human Rights, Gender Equality and Social Inclusion, and she has more than 18 years of professional experience working specifically in women and children’s rights, Women, Peace and Security (UNSCR 1325), Human Security, Community Development and Community Media.
Veena has worked and volunteered for several Fiji and Regional based NGOs and agencies before joining the World YWCA- The Pacific Community (SPC), Fiji Women’s Rights Movement, FemLINKPacific, Fiji Red Cross and Save the Children (Fiji). Additionally, Veena has worked on a wide range of development areas and issues, including Access to Justice, Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), Women’s Political Participation, Leadership and in Decision Making, and more recently in the area of Gender Statistics. Outside of the office, she likes to work on promoting and protecting the environment; raising awareness on positive mental health and wellbeing; and spending time on writing.
She is a mum to 11 cats, proud wearer of sarees and a collector of postcards. Veena holds a Degree in Community Development with Murdoch University (Australia) and a Postgraduate Diploma in Social Policy with the Fiji National University.
Executive Office and Governance Associate ( Scotland)
Originally from Scotland, Vicki joined the World YWCA in 2022 and is based in Geneva working in the World Office. She joins the team with over 20 years of professional experience in the private and non-profit sector in a variety of roles that have contributed to her having a wide array of skills and competence across administrative and governance functions.
Before joining the World YWCA she worked in the Trade Union movement, championing the improvement of workers’ rights and equality for women.
Our Board Officers
Ms. Mira RIZEQ was born in East Jerusalem – Palestine. She got her graduate degree in Business Administration in the United States then did her second master’s degree in International Development in the Hague.
Mira is a recognized leader with over 30 years of solid local and international experience in the NGO sector and Municipal Development, especially in areas of strategic planning, good governance, monitoring and evaluations. She is an activist in the area of human rights, and especially women’s rights. She has served on several boards of women institutions and international churches in the USA, and established herself as a passionate public speaker on human rights and justice issues.
She accredits her first development experience Save the Children U.S.A. in Palestine where she started her career by designing credit as well as entrepreneurship development programs specifically for women, to be soon replicated in the Middle East region.
In the early 90’s, Mira worked as Team Leader for the Local and Rural Development Program at the United Nations Development Program in Palestine (UNDP). She succeeded in designing one of the most successful fiscal decentralization and partnership programs between civil society and local governments, who were trained to implement participatory gender-sensitized strategies to empower women as equal partners in local development.
Later, Mira has headed the first Palestine National NGO Project funded by the World Bank and managed by a consortium of international NGO’s headed by Welfare Association. Through this program, she has designed special training manuals for NGO’s especially in areas of strategic planning, fundraising, good governance, monitoring, evaluations and reporting. She has joined a team of professors to deliver NGO management courses in the university of Toledo – Spain, for NGO leaders in the whole of the Middle East while doing her second graduate degree.
Mira has been an active YWCA member since her childhood, and served as the National General Secretary at the YWCA of Palestine from April 2006 to April 2020, until she was elected as President in the 29th World YWCA Council Meeting held in Johannesburg South Africa.
Emma is Treasurer of the World YWCA, and has previously served as the treasurer and president of YWCA Australia. She is a chartered accountant with over 20 years of experience in the finance industry, and she currently works for the Australian government as a director of finance.
Previously, Emma worked for a fund manager in Sydney, Australia, managing investment portfolios and bespoke investment products. She has also audited various companies, government organizations and departments, and NGOs.
Emma believes passionately in the power of the YWCA movement. She is excited to have been elected for a second term as Treasurer, as the World YWCA seeks to grow more sustainable and remain relevant to young women in the future, on the path to achieve Goal 2035
Vice President (Zambia)
Vice President (Korea)
Vice President (Grenada)
Rickol is a junior accountant in Grenada who is dedicated to advocating for the rights of women, young women, and girls throughout her island. Before being elected to the World YWCA Board in 2019, she was the President of the YWCA Grenada: Youth Arm.
Rickol loves numbers and accounting information systems, and is currently working towards her ACCA Professional Qualifications. She cherishes her Christian values, and enjoys spending time on the beach with a warm cup of coffee. Her favorite quote is “If not me, who? If not now, when?”
Vice President (Honduras)
Isabella has been involved in the YWCA movement since 2014. She currently manages a scholarship program in Honduras focused on providing low-income kids with opportunities and access to private, quality education.
She previously served as Vice President of YWCA Honduras, and in 2017, was selected as the representative for Latin America for the movement’s young women’s Global Advisory Council, which provided counsel and feedback towards working to achieve Goal 2035.
Isabella is passionate about working with and for young women and girls, and she believes that when women empower and support each other, they can all grow and strengthen their lives for the better.
Caroline Midttun Rostrup
Vice President (Norway)
Jamie Medicine Crane
Vice President (Canada)
Our Board Members
Dede Fafa Eyram Attiogbe
Board member (Togo)
Dede has been involved in the YWCA movement for nearly 14 years, and is a leader at YWCA Togo, where she pioneered their first-ever youth section and works with young people to raise funds to provide school kits to girls in need. Additionally, Dede created “Vacending,” a safe space project that she has coordinated for the past three years aimed at empowering girls.
In addition to the World YWCA Board, Dede currently serves on the Nomination Committee and the National Board of YWCA Togo. Previously, she served as the youth coordinator at YWCA Togo. With her experience across different levels of nonprofit social justice work, Dede brings robust analysis and understanding of advocacy, governance structure, and youth leadership to her work.
Fluent in French, English, and German, Dede holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Ghana, and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree at the University of Buea in Cameroon. She is passionate about advocacy and human rights, with a focus on gender equality and women’s empowerment. She occasionally appears on an English radio program to discuss various topics related to women, girls, and youth.
Board member (India)
Dr. Margaret Jip Kou
Board member (Taiwan)
With a lifelong passion for volunteerism, Jip has been involved with the YWCA movement since 2003. She became a board member of the National YWCA of Taiwan in 2009 and currently serves as the second vice president.
Jip has over 20 years of experience as a university educator and sports nutrition and human sciences consultant, and she utilizes her expertise in visioning and intergenerational leadership to promote gender equality, sustainability, and the transformative leadership of young women and girls. She believes in the power of love to champion change, and strives to create a safe, healthy, and sustainable world for women and girls.
Jip has a doctorate degree in nutrition and food science from Fu Jen University, and is passionate about sharing knowledge about women’s health and promoting human rights and welfare. She enjoy running, and in 2014, ran an ultra-marathon to benefit the International Training Institute of Young Women.
Board member (Lebanon)
Elise Gebrayel joined the YWCA of Lebanon since she was 15 years old (13 years ago) as a volunteer in fundraising events. After digging more in the movement and attending many youth camping events and leadership programs, she found herself as youth mentor and the chair of the fundraising committee in her local association that promotes gender equality, empower women to be change makers, mentoring new youth members and organizing fundraising events.
Believing in making a difference, she managed to stepped from regional and national levels into international levels. She always fought for women’s right and equality since she was a child and she is very passionate about gender equality and supporting impoverished families.
She holds a bachelor degree in Nutrition and a baccalaureate diploma in piano. She is the founder of Fur Elise music school, a private piano tutor (worldwide/online) and a music introduction instructor for kids.
Board member (Haiti)
Adrianna Sosa is certified by Bocconi University in corporate sustainability as well as entrepreneurship and is currently working as an Administrator for an import/export company in Haiti. She has received two consecutive awards for Outstanding Academic Achievement and has graduated school as a Valedictorian. In her free time, besides advocating for better conditions for young women and girls, she is probably lost in a book, or practicing her photography.
Having been raised in a small household consisting of two women, her mother and grandmother, Adrianna has grown up to be a feminist with a keen sense of independence and ambition. She has volunteered in rehabilitation programs for the handicapped, participated in events hosted by the Rotary Club, and has been actively involved at the YWCA Haiti since 2015. As of 2019, she was nominated as a World Board member at the Word Council that took place in South Africa. Since then, she has contributed to the academic support and life skills programs by giving her input on the different topics that need to be addressed with the young girls in Haiti.
She is an open-minded person, who always looks out for the empowerment of youth, and especially young women. Through her experience as a YWCA Haiti volunteer and board member, she has learned a lot about the reality of young Haitian women and girls and has continuously used her platform as a young photographer and aspiring change maker to voice their stories and advocate for the respect of their rights.
Board member (Great Britain)
Board member (Malawi)
World YWCA Board Member (Switzerland)
Yvonne was elected to the World YWCA Board at the 29th World YWCA Council in 2019. She first joined her local YWCA/YWCA over 15 years ago, and has continued to develop her leadership skills through different positions within YWCA/YMCA Switzerland.
Starting from a local scouting group and growing into the regional, then national and international levels, Yvonne has had the opportunity to teach the next generation of leaders and share her passion for feminism and youth participation. She previously served on a number of boards and commissions, and is particularly enthusiastic about youth participation, transparency and good governance on boards.
Yvonne holds a Bachelor’s degree in history and German language and literature and a Master’s degree in history and gender studies from the Univesrity of Berne in Switzerland. She has been passionate about feminism, challenging archaic role models, and hearing stories from women around the world since she was a child.
Gabriela Cerda Oyarce
Board member (Chile)
Board member (USA)
Board member (Canada)
Board member (New Zeland, Aotearoa)
Our Nominations Committee includes Dede Attiogbe (Togo), Young Hee Won (Korea), Jeannette Van Dongen (Netherlands) and Valeria Rojas Borda (Bolivia) Yedidiyah Allen (Trinidad and Tobago). One Nominations Committee position is vacant and currently under filling procedure, to be announced on September, 2021.