Who We Are

A problem of this magnitude cannot be solved by one actor or one sector alone.

Together for Girls is a global partnership working to end violence against children and adolescents, particularly sexual violence against girls. The partnership brings together more than 20 national governments, civil society organizations, UN entities, development partners and the private sector to improve violence prevention, healing and justice. Together for Girls uses an innovative model of data, advocacy and action to drive lasting change and create a safer world for all.

THE

PARTNERS

Strength in Numbers: The Together for Girls partners are global leaders in their areas of work and each one contributes unique expertise and skills to strengthen our collective impact at national, regional, and global levels. Partners include the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the following:
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Founder 

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Gary Cohen, Board Chair, Together for Girls, Inc.

 

Gary Cohen is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Maternal Newborn Health Innovations (MNHI), a public benefit corporation (B-corp) focused on reducing maternal and newborn mortality. MNHI is expected to commercialize its first medical device in early 2023, the Odon Device™, designed to assist delivery of newborns in circumstances of prolonged, troublesome labor during the second stage of childbirth. Approximately 25% of newborn mortality, 50% of stillbirths and 15% of maternal mortality occur during the second stage.

 

Prior to co-founding MNHI, Gary served as Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) of AeroFarms, an award-winning indoor vertical farming technology company and B-corp on a mission to grow the best plants possible for the betterment of humanity. Gary continues to serve on AeroFarms Board of Advisers.

 

Prior to joining AeroFarms, Gary served as Executive Vice President (EVP), Global Health and President of the BD Foundation at BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company), a global medical technology company. In this role, he and BD engaged in extensive collaboration with international agencies, governments and non-government organizations to address unmet health needs worldwide. Prior to this position, he served in BD as EVP of International Operations, and EVP/President of the Medical Segment, where he had responsibility for approximately half of the company’s global operations.

 

Gary is a recognized expert and leader in utilizing the capabilities of the business sector to advance progress on challenging social problems. He has served as an expert speaker and advocate in venues including the United Nations, Vatican, World Bank, World Health Assembly, U.S. Department of State, and World Economic Forum-Davos. He presently serves as chair of the Corporate/CDC Roundtable on Global Health Threats, board co-chair of GBCHealth, and board director of UNICEF USA and the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children.

 

He previously served on the UN Commission on Life Saving Commodities for Women and Children and as board director and chair of the CDC Foundation.

 

Gary is also a social entrepreneur. In 2009 he founded Together for Girls, a global partnership of national governments, UN agencies and private sector organizations dedicated to stopping violence against children, particularly sexual violence against girls, and he continues to serve as board chair of this nonprofit organization. In 2017 he founded the Antimicrobial Resistance Fighter Coalition, presently comprised of a diverse community of stakeholders from over 50 countries dedicated to combating the global threat of antimicrobial resistance.

 

In 2018 he founded the Rutgers Institute for Corporate Social Innovation at Rutgers Business School, to educate business leaders on how to embed social impact and ESG principles into their business strategies and priorities.

 

Gary holds B.A. and an M.B.A. degrees from Rutgers University and previously served on the University’s board of trustees. In 2016, he was named a Rutgers 250 Fellow in association with the university’s 250th anniversary. He has been honored for his humanitarian work by numerous other organizations.

Secretariat Staff

 

Dr. Daniela Ligiero, Executive Director & CEO

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Dr. Daniela Ligiero is the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Together for Girls, a global partnership working to end violence against children and adolescents, particularly sexual violence against girls. The partnership brings together more than 20 national governments, civil society organizations, UN entities, development partners and the private sector to improve violence prevention, healing and justice. Dr. Ligiero also serves on the Executive Committee of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children.

 

Before she joined Together for Girls, she served as the Vice President of Girls and Women’s Strategy at the UN Foundation and developed the foundation’s gender integration strategy. In addition, she spent over five years at the U.S. Department of State where she led the integration of gender issues into all foreign policy and investments in global health—working with over 70 countries and over 1 billion dollars in investments on issues like preventing gender-based violence and improving the sexual and reproductive health of girls and women. She helped develop the first ever International U.S. Government Strategy to End Gender-Based Violence.

 

Dr. Ligiero also served in leadership roles at UNICEF, as Chief of HIV and then as Senior Program Officer in the UNICEF Brazil Country Office. In addition, she has held positions at the World Bank and the US Senate, and has worked directly with survivors of sexual assault in a variety of settings. She is also a survivor of sexual violence herself, and has been speaking publicly about her story for the last decade. She earned her doctoral degree counseling psychology from University of Maryland, College Park, ranked the No. 1 program in the US. Dr. Ligiero is fluent in four languages: English, Portuguese, Spanish and French.

Sandie Taylor, Chief Operating Officer

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Sandie Taylor is the Chief Operating Officer at Together for Girls (TfG). She previously served as TfG’s Director of Communications and Operations. Before joining Together for Girls in 2013, Ms. Taylor was senior manager of corporate marketing and communications with Conservation International’s Center for Environmental Leadership in Business, managing cause marketing activities and partnership communications with companies including Starbucks, the Walt Disney Company and Hewlett-Packard. She also held positions as a marketing manager and alumni magazine editor at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin. In addition, Ms. Taylor serves on the board of directors for Latinitas, a nonprofit empowering young Latinas using media and technology, and has volunteered for the organization for more than 10 years. She earned her MBA from Wake Forest University and a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a concentration in women and gender studies from the University of Texas at Austin.

Ana Caceres-Silva, Senior Operations and Finance Officer

Ana Caceres Silva - Who We AreAna Caceres-Silva is the Senior Operations and Finance Officer at Together for Girls, where she provides essential support on operations management and assists in the establishment of new systems to efficiently oversee the secretariat’s portfolio of grants, contracts, and staff needs. Ana joins TfG with more than ten years of experience in project, operations, and compliance management at non-governmental organizations, working with donors in the public and private sectors. She earned a Master’s in Business Administration and a Graduate Certificate in Management Leadership from the George Washington University, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs from the University of Georgia.

T.J. Carter, Administrative Assistant

TJ Carter - Who We AreT.J. Carter is the Administrative Assistant at Together for Girls (TfG). Prior to joining TfG, T.J. worked as an Administrative Coordinator in the Africa Regional Office of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), where she focused on international travel logistics and grant contracting. Previously, T.J. worked for more than a decade in the Communications Division of IFPRI, where her primary duty was coordinating an institute-wide publication series. T.J. graduated with honors from Marymount University in Virginia with a degree in Psychology.

Sarah Pryke, Senior Development Advisor

Sarah Pryke - Who We Are

Sarah has 15 years experience building funding partnerships, and has served at a number of international organisations in the fields of International Development and Conflict Prevention. Prior to joining TfG, Sarah worked for International Crisis Group where she was Director of Philanthropy, leading a multi-country team to build meaningful, long-term partnership with philanthropists, family foundations and the private sector. During her tenure she created and led the Women’s Global Alliance for Peace, an initiative bringing together an international network of women philanthropists who share a desire for a safer, fairer and more peaceful world. Prior to this, Sarah led fundraising teams at ActionAid International, where she supported the growth of High Value income across the federation, and Oxfam Great Britain, where she led on fundraising from Trusts and Foundations. She has travelled extensively across Africa and Asia as part of her work, and also takes every opportunity to visit new places on vacation. Sarah has a BSc in Psychology from the University of Kent, and a Postgraduate Certificate in Development and Conflict from the Open University.

Carla Perdiz, Executive Assistant

Carla Pediz - Who We Are

Carla Perdiz joined the TfG team to provide executive assistance to Daniela Ligiero, TfG’s CEO and Executive Director. Carla has over 20 years of program management experience in the development sector and NFP organizations, and more than 15 years experience working with different UN agencies in Brazil. She earned her MA in Governance and Development from IDS/University of Sussex in the United Kingdom as a Chevening Program Fellow and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Brasília/Brazil. Carla is fluent in Portuguese, English and Spanish.

Chrissy Hart, Director, Policy & Advocacy; Regional Lead, Sub-Saharan Africa

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Chrissy Hart is the Senior Advisor at TfG, overseeing the partnership’s work in sub-Saharan Africa. She has been working in the area of human rights, gender equality, and international development for over a decade. Chrissy served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Burkina Faso in the area of girls’ education and empowerment, followed by positions working in advocacy, partnerships, and research at RFK Human Rights, the University of Denver’s Human Trafficking Center, Women Thrive Alliance, where she lead the organization’s portfolio on gender-based violence, and most recently, the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women and UN Women. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from Colgate University and an M.A. in International Human Rights from the University of Denver.

Begoña Fernandez, Director of Data and Evidence

0 3 - Who We AreBegoña Fernandez is the Senior Technical Officer at TfG, a public-private partnership dedicated to ending violence against children, particularly sexual violence against girls. At TfG, she oversees the data-to-action model in Latin America, Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe. Begoña has a background in sexual and reproductive health and health policy and over seven years of experience working in both domestic and global public health programs. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Health from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and a BA in International Economics from American University.

Constanza Ginestra, Policy and Research Specialist

Constanza pic - Who We AreConstanza joined TfG in 2022 to work as a Policy and Research Specialist. She has experience working as a gender researcher in different UN agencies, including UNODC, UNICEF and UNESCO. Before joining the TfG team, she was a researcher at the Global Education Monitoring Report, where she investigated issues related to gender equality, sexuality education and violence in schools. Constanza holds a MA in Social Policy from the University of Linz (Austria) and a BA in Political Science from Universidad Nacional de Rosario (Argentina).

Manuela Balliet, Advisor

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Manuela Balliet is an Advisor at TfG and provides VACS country support in Cote d’Ivoire and other Sub-Saharan African countries. She manages the research fellowship programs in Uganda and the VACS secondary analyses conducted by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Manuela is a Public Health Researcher with experience conducting mixed-methods research on violence against children in schools and evaluating interventions to prevent violence against children. She is a PhD Candidate at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine where she is also a member of the Child Protection Research Group. She holds an MSc in Global Health and Public Policy from the University of Edinburgh (United Kingdom) and a BSc in Genetics from the University of Manchester (United Kingdom).

Alexandra Tucci Thomas, Director of Communications

Alexandra Headshot - Who We AreAlexandra Tucci Thomas is the Director of Communications at TfG. A mission-driven storyteller, Alexandra has nearly a decade of experience in public relations, digital strategy, and brand management. Previously, Alexandra worked for the WPP specialized healthcare communications agency GCI Health, where she focused on patient advocacy, corporate social responsibility, and digital storytelling. She graduated from The University of Alabama with dual degrees in international studies and advertising/public relations and is a proud alumna of the Global Health Corps. 

Natalie Brown, Communications Officer

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Natalie Brown is the Communications Officer at Together for Girls (TfG). In this role, she focuses on editorial oversight and resource development. She has spent the past six years supporting the missions of a number of international non-profit organizations through content creation and storytelling. Prior to TfG, she worked in Senegal for the agricultural NGO, myAgro, where she focused on digital media storytelling. Previously, she supported the marketing and communications efforts of Kiva, helping a greater number of entrepreneurs around the world access microloans. Natalie graduated from Elon University in North Carolina with a degree in International Studies. She currently resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and in her spare time enjoys writing and playing ultimate frisbee.

Roz Pen, Digital Communications Advisor

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Roz Pen is the Digital Communications Advisor at Together for Girls. She has been digitally storytelling for 15 years, creating SEO content and crafting data-driven user journeys for charity accelerators, NGOs and fintech startups. Rosalyn has delivered expansive communications projects for international organizations such as IPPF and Transparency International. She holds a BA (Hons.) in English Literature and an MA Digital Media from the University of Sydney. Passionate about empowering women through education she also holds a TESOL from Trinity College to teach English to marginalized communities.

Leadership Council

Gretchen Bachman, USAID

Regina Benevides de Barros, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Stephen Blight, UNICEF

Luisa Cabal, UNAIDS

Gary Cohen, BD

Sarah Craven, UNFPA

Kathleen Flynn-Dapaah, Government of Canada

Claudia Garcia Moreno, WHO

Alessandra Guedes, PAHO/WHO

Susan Hillis, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Alethia Jimenez, UN WOMEN

Howard Kress, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Daniela Ligiero, Together for Girls

Lauren Marks, U.S. Department of State’s Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator

Greta Massetti, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

M. Catherine Maternowska, End Violence Lab, University of Edinburgh

Marta Santos Pais, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Violence against Children

Janet Saul, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator

Mathew Watson, USAID

Cornelius Williams, UNICEF 

Board of Directors

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Photo by John OíBoyle

Gary Cohen, Founder and Board Chair, Together for Girls, Inc.

Gary Cohen is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Maternal Newborn Health Innovations (MNHI), a public benefit corporation (B-corp) focused on reducing maternal and newborn mortality. MNHI is expected to commercialize its first medical device in early 2023, the Odon Device™, designed to assist delivery of newborns in circumstances of prolonged, troublesome labor during the second stage of childbirth. Approximately 25% of newborn mortality, 50% of stillbirths and 15% of maternal mortality occur during the second stage.

 

Prior to co-founding MNHI, Gary served as Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) of AeroFarms, an award-winning indoor vertical farming technology company and B-corp on a mission to grow the best plants possible for the betterment of humanity. Gary continues to serve on AeroFarms Board of Advisers.

 

Prior to joining AeroFarms, Gary served as Executive Vice President (EVP), Global Health and President of the BD Foundation at BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company), a global medical technology company. In this role, he and BD engaged in extensive collaboration with international agencies, governments and non-government organizations to address unmet health needs worldwide. Prior to this position, he served in BD as EVP of International Operations, and EVP/President of the Medical Segment, where he had responsibility for approximately half of the company’s global operations.

 

Gary is a recognized expert and leader in utilizing the capabilities of the business sector to advance progress on challenging social problems. He has served as an expert speaker and advocate in venues including the United Nations, Vatican, World Bank, World Health Assembly, U.S. Department of State, and World Economic Forum-Davos. He presently serves as chair of the Corporate/CDC Roundtable on Global Health Threats, board co-chair of GBCHealth, and board director of UNICEF USA and the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children.

 

He previously served on the UN Commission on Life Saving Commodities for Women and Children and as board director and chair of the CDC Foundation.

 

Gary is also a social entrepreneur. In 2009 he founded Together for Girls, a global partnership of national governments, UN agencies and private sector organizations dedicated to stopping violence against children, particularly sexual violence against girls, and he continues to serve as board chair of this nonprofit organization. In 2017 he founded the Antimicrobial Resistance Fighter Coalition, presently comprised of a diverse community of stakeholders from over 50 countries dedicated to combating the global threat of antimicrobial resistance.

 

In 2018 he founded the Rutgers Institute for Corporate Social Innovation at Rutgers Business School, to educate business leaders on how to embed social impact and ESG principles into their business strategies and priorities.

 

Gary holds B.A. and an M.B.A. degrees from Rutgers University and previously served on the University’s board of trustees. In 2016, he was named a Rutgers 250 Fellow in association with the university’s 250th anniversary. He has been honored for his humanitarian work by numerous other organizations.

Chernor Bah Headshot2 - Who We AreChernor Bah, Co-founder and Co-CEO, Purposeful

A feminist leader, activist, and champion, Chernor Bah works in Sierra Leone and around the world to empower girls and young people. As the Co-founder and Co-CEO of Purposeful, the first Africa-rooted global feminist hub for girls activism, he dedicates his time to building power and amplifying the voices of girls and young women while promoting distribution of unrestricted funds to girls and feminist activists in Sierra Leone and over 150 countries around the world.  A lifelong champion for human rights, at age 15, Bah founded the Children’s Forum Network, a mass movement of children who mobilized to demand their voices be included in peace and reconciliation efforts after Sierra Leone’s civil war.

Barchi Francis 1 1 - Who We AreFrancis Barchi, Rutgers University

Francis Barchi is assistant professor in the School of Social Work and a member of the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research at Rutgers University. Prior to joining the faculty at Rutgers, she was a senior fellow in the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania where she continues to develop training programs in clinical and research ethics for health professionals and members of ethics review committees in developing countries. Current programs include training activities for clinicians in Tanzania and Guatemala, and the development of a clinical ethics curriculum for nursing faculty and students in Botswana. In addition, Dr. Barchi is an associated faculty member of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Public Policy and Planning at Rutgers and a member of the Center for African Studies. 

 

Dr. Barchi’s personal research focuses on global health ethics as well as the social and behavioral factors that influence women’s health in southern Africa. In 2009, she completed the first major quantitative study on women’s autonomy and gender-based violence in northern Botswana, the findings from which identified strong associations between alcohol, violence, and poor health outcomes. She is currently studying comprehension and voluntariness among HIV-positive women being screened for cervical cancer at a government clinic in Botswana’s capital city and examining the extent to which understanding may impact a woman’s adherence to recommended treatment and timely return to follow-up care. In addition, she is heading an NIH-funded effort through the Penn Center for AIDS Research to explore IRB perspectives in Botswana on the collection, use, and storage of biological specimens for HIV research. 

 

At Rutgers, Dr. Barchi currently teaches a doctoral course on research ethics and integrity in the social sciences and an undergraduate introductory course on global health. She also regularly visits Botswana where she leads training initiatives in research ethics for university faculty, members of ethics review committees, and community advisory groups. 

 

Dr. Barchi holds a PhD in Social Welfare from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and Masters degrees in Bioethics and Non-Profit Leadership from the same institution. She completed her undergraduate degree at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. 

Karen headshot e1549292436334 300x286 - Who We AreKaren Carolonza, Green Room Communications

Karen Carolonza is a proven public relations and communications professional with more than 20 years of global experience in the healthcare, chemical and TV news industries. Karen is one of the founding partners of Green Room Communications and built strategic communications teams around the country with a headquarters in Northern New Jersey to meet the critical and evolving needs of her clients.  Green Room recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary providing corporate and brand communications, media relations, advocacy relations, creative services and contract staffing to global healthcare companies.

 

Before starting Green Room, Karen was the director of worldwide public relations at BD (Becton Dickinson & Company) and was responsible for the creation of the first-ever global public relations department. She and her team developed public relations and advocacy programs in support of key businesses including, HIV/AIDS, TB, Diabetes, Influenza, Healthcare-Associated Infections, Ophthalmology, and other global health issues. During her time at BD, Karen liaised with UNAIDS to announce the Clinton Foundation’s move to cut prices on AIDS tests. Karen also served as a volunteer on the CDC Foundation to advocate for Health Protection Goals.

 

Prior to joining BD, Karen was responsible for leading public relations teams and programs at the Pharmacia Corporation (now Pfizer) supporting the Hospital Products and Oncology businesses.  She also served as communications lead at DuPont-Merck as part of the launch team for the first, once-daily HIV medicine.

 

Karen has additional expertise in corporate PR, including Exxon Chemical Company where she was hired away from TV news to help manage the Valdez crisis. Karen spent the first part of her career as an NBC affiliate television news reporter in the Midwest and  in cable news on the East Coast, reporting on key healthcare and political issues.

 

Karen is a member of the ExlPharma PR Steering Committee and chaired its annual national Summit for six years. She is also on the Boards of a Soft Bones: The U.S. Hypophosphatasia Foundation, and cancer organization, Mary’s Place by the Sea. She has been recognized as a Leading Woman Entrepreneur in New Jersey and in 2014, was among the top 25 in the state. In 2016, she was awarded Brava’s SmartCEO award.

 

Karen resides in Mountain Lakes and Ocean Grove NJ and is married to her husband, Stephen  and has three teenage children, Todd, Sara and Kate.

HRC Carolina Lopez COLOR - Who We AreCarolina López, Principal, CMLópez Consulting

Carolina López works with non-profit organizations at all stages of growth, focusing on organizational development, financial and contracts management, including program and organizational audits, as well as strategic planning and change management. Her philosophy and hands-on style is deeply influenced by her 15 years of work in the Harm Reduction movement as the Deputy Director of Administration and Finance at the National Harm Reduction Coalition, a United States-based advocacy and capacity-building organization that promotes the wellbeing and dignity of people and communities affected by drug use, and as the Executive Director of New York Harm Reduction Educators (NYHRE), which houses the largest syringe exchange on the East Coast and led to the creation of the first-ever Overdose Prevention Center in the US.

0 6 - Who We AreMichele Moloney-Kitts, Former Executive Director of Together for Girls

Michele Moloney-Kitts is currently an independent consultant, serving on the Board of Directors of the Together for Girls partnership and as the Vice Chair of the Technical Review Panel of the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria.   

 

Professionally Michele has been a leader in international public health for over thirty years.  She most recently served as the founding Executive Director of Together for Girls, a private public partnership dedicated to ending violence against children and as a Senior Advisor to the Executive Director of UNAIDS.  A career foreign service officer with USAID, Michele also served as the Assistant Global AIDS Coordinator for the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) responsible for oversight of field implementation and multilateral relations, including on the Board of the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria where she also served as Chair of the Portfolio and Implementation Committee.  Other USAID assignments included long term postings in Morocco, Cambodia, South Africa and Washington, DC.   Michele began her career as a nurse practitioner and a nurse midwife, with a particular focus on underserved populations, especially adolescents.  She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Boston College and a Master’s Degree from the University of Pennsylvania.   

 

Now a resident of Chatham Mass., she is an active member of Friends of the Marconi/RCA Triangle, serves as a volunteer land steward for the Chatham Conservation Foundation and is on the Board of Directors of the Friends of Chatham Waterways.

UndieHeadshotWebsite3 - Who We AreChi-Chi Undie, Senior Associate, Population Council

Based in Population Council’s International Programs Division in Nairobi, Kenya, Chi-Chi Undie is a senior associate providing intellectual leadership, strategic direction, management oversight, and technical support for the implementation of complex, regional research and intervention programs. Her research focuses primarily on sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and girls’ education. For over a decade, she has directed the Population Council-led ‘Africa Regional SGBV Network’—a multi-country, multi-partner SGBV response and research initiative in the East, Horn, Great Lakes, and Southern regions of Africa. She is also the inaugural Board Chair of the Sexual Violence Research Initiative, the world’s largest network on research around violence against women and violence against children. She currently directs two five-year, regional research consortia, one on sexual and reproductive health and rights in refugee settings and the other on female genital mutilation/cutting, funded by the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.