Rain Barrel is privileged to be able to draw on the diverse talents of media and social-change experts — all personal friends and colleagues — who comprise our roster of over 50 Associates. 

They live in every region and many are experienced in field assignments in some of the world’s hotspots. In recent years, our Associates have worked in Latin America, the Balkans, South Asia, Central Asia and Africa on a wide range of assignments. We know how to get around in diverse environments and deliver under the most difficult conditions.

Our current Rain Barrel Associates are:


Elena Azaola is a Senior Investigator at the Center for Advanced Studies and Research in Social Anthropology in Mexico City.
She has a Ph.D. in anthropology and is a trained psychoanalyst.
Elena’s research has focused on juvenile and women’s justice institutions, human rights, sexual exploitation and violence. She has received numerous awards and grants for her diverse research projects and has more than 150 published works to her name.

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Roberta Brangam is a writer and editor with over 20 years of editing experience at the United Nations, specializing in social and economic issues. Her recent freelance projects range from the preparation of the Report of the UN Secretary-General on Protecting children from bullying to editing statements of visual artists for the German publishing house Steidl Verlag. A native of Northern Ireland, Roberta learned about social injustice firsthand. As a student of world history at McGill University in Montreal, she was a member of the first group of international students invited to study in China during the final years of the Cultural Revolution. Following a sojourn in the financial sector and working in radio news in Hong Kong, she joined the four million immigrants who call New York City home.


Martin Burcharth is the correspondent for North America of the Danish daily Information, based in New York and Boston. He has worked and lived as a foreign correspondent in Poland, Italy, France and Germany. Fluent in the principal languages of the continent, Martin also closely follows European political and economic affairs. He is the author of four non-fiction books, reflecting his interests in international relations, economics and finance as well as transatlantic defense and security policies. His account of the 2008 election campaign of Barack Obama explored the unique opportunity that his leadership provided as the US seeks to sustain its role as the pre-eminent liberal democracy in the 21st century.


Alice Cahn is a corporate social responsibility consultant with expertise in using media to create and sustain positive social change. Her experience over the past 11 years with Turner Broadcasting focused on CSR partnerships with business, government, educational and community-based organizations.

Cahn founded the network’s STOP BULLYING: SPEAK UP project that was embraced across Time Warner brands in the US, Latin America and Europe. Her consulting clients range from Cartoon Network to the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Previously, Alice served as a Managing Director of the Markle Foundation’s Interactive Media for Youth program and SesameWorkshop, where she served as President of the Television, Film, and Video Group.

She serves on the advisory boards of several organizations, including the American Media Literacy Association.


Andrew Carlson is an academic and consultant specializing in Communication for Development and communication research. As an academic, he works in the classroom to promote participatory approaches to solving local problems using C4D principles. In the field, he conducts research and communication assessments to support C4D initiatives and the programmatic work. He played a key role in the development of a hybrid online learning course on C4D with Ohio University and UNICEF. His main area of expertise is in the intersection of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and communication research, and the potential for their use in the creation of effective, participatory, and measurable communication interventions. Andrew, a Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, Minnesota.


Sara Cameron McBean, a senior social development consultant, has conceived and led development of several innovative advocacy and communication programs for UN agencies. Recent work includes regional advocacy strategies for UNICEF in Eastern and Southern Africa, and UNFPA in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. She is a specialist in civil society mobilization and child rights advocacy linked with parliamentary and council elections. Working with religious leaders in Kenya, she led the award-winning Child Alive communication and fundraising strategy for child survival. She is an experienced development researcher and author of advocacy publications on adolescents, children in conflict, child participation, gender, and challenges facing children who live in remote locations. Sara, a UK national who resides in Edinburgh, is also author of Natural Enemies, an award-winning novel available on Amazon. Read more about her work at www.saracameron.org


Beth Carmona is one of the most experienced professionals in Latin America in the area of children’s media. She is Director of her company, Singular, Arquitetura de Midia. She has worked for TV Cultura and TVE Brazil, public channels, as well as for Discovery Latin America and for the Disney Channel. With her rich experience in programming and production for both television and new media, Beth has a strong presence in any discussion about quality content, and has served on many international juries for such awards as the Prix Jeunesse International, Banff and Japan Prize.


Carolina Casas is a Colombian researcher and education specialist with 13 years of field and academic experience. She has worked internationally as a consultant and program manager on issues ranging from citizenship education and education policy implementation, to the development of innovative educational content. Currently Carolina is the Regional Director of Education and Community Engagement for Sesame Workshop, one of the leading organizations in the development of educational media around the world. Previously she served as the Managing Editor for The Inter-American Journal of Education for Democracy as well as in management positions with several non-profit organizations.


Nicolás Chausovsky is an Argentine journalist and audiovisual producer specializing in the research, development and production of television programming, documentaries and communication campaigns. Most recently, he served as Director of Content at MTV in Latin America. He has worked on projects related to the problems of poverty, at-risk youth, sexual exploitation and education, bullying and environmental protection in and around Latin America.

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Lucy Conger is a Mexico City-based freelance writer and development consultant. She specializes in financial markets, microfinance and economic development. Her 25 years of experience in Latin America includes work as a financial journalist and as a grants officer and consultant to foundations (including USAID, the Inter-American Foundation, Open Society) that support grassroots development associations and transparency organizations in Latin America. She writes regularly for microfinance networks, development agency magazines and Business News Americas. Lucy is the co-author of The Mustard Tree: A History of Microfinance in Peru (2009).


Carmen Cronin works on a range of projects addressing maternal and child health, violence against children, and hygiene and sanitation with a special focus on Communication for Development (C4D) and monitoring and evaluation. Working in Spanish and French, she has taken on assignments in Latin America and the Caribbean, East Africa, and South Asia. She is an Adjunct Assistant Professor and Research Project Coordinator in the Department of Community Health and Prevention at Drexel University School of Public Health in Philadelphia.


Jacobia Dahm is a freelance photographer with a focus on portraiture and social issues, currently based in New York, USA and Berlin, Germany. She graduated from the documentary photography and photojournalism program at the International Center of Photography (ICP) in 2014, and hold a Master’s in Comparative and English literature. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, VICE, Mother Jones, Rangefinder Magazine, Makeshift Magazine, and elsewhere.


Jim Dawson is a technologist with 21 years of experience working across international development, for-profit technology companies and experimental theater. He has developed and implemented web strategies for numerous UNICEF teams and has expertise with UNICEF’s information infrastructure and their Information and Knowledge Management practices. He has built division-level web tools for SAP, LexisNexis and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and websites for companies such as Home Is A State of Mind and The Media Beat. He also creates original sound designs for The Wooster Group, Trisha Brown Company, Coen Brothers, Jay Schieb and Jean Butler. Jim is based in New York City.


Shalini Dewan is an editor, writer and media wrangler with over 35 years’ experience in strategic communications, publishing, branding for corporate visual identity, event planning and election monitoring.
She has held senior management positions in the United Nations, including Chief of Editorial and Publications at UNICEF in New York and FAO in Rome. She brings panache and editorial rigor to the most lackluster publications, as well as an eye for design and delivery of advocacy campaigns and media strategies. As Director of the UN Information Centres in Italy and India, Shalini championed human rights, promoted development goals through art and culture and designed highly effective public sensitization campaigns.


John Dinges, an award-winning investigative journalist and professor at the Columbia School of Journalism, is a former foreign correspondent and the author of three books on relations between the United States and Latin America. He has served as managing editor of National Public Radio News and as correspondent and editor at the Washington Post and other publications. More recently, he has been deeply involved in projects to improve media quality in Latin America, creating two investigative journalism centers in Chile. John’s most recent book is The Condor Years: How Pinochet and His Allies Brought Terrorism to Three Continents.


Madeline Eisner is a strategic communication and advocacy specialist with long experience with UNICEF at headquarters and in the field. She recently spearheaded UNICEF’s global campaign on Violence against Children, which won the organization’s award for creativity, outreach and dedication to children’s rights. As regional communication chief for UNICEF in Africa and Asia, she designed, coordinated and implemented a wide range of multi-media strategies in response to the HIV/AIDs pandemic, the tsunami emergency and in support of key interventions in health, nutrition, education and child protection. Madeline uses her journalistic, organizational and public relations skills to hone messages and deliver effective communication strategies and materials.

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Sara Franky has extensive experience promoting human and children’s rights through communication initiatives. She has served as UNICEF´s Communication Specialist in El Salvador and Colombia, and has also worked for the Colombian government, among others.

Sara has designed and implemented communication strategies for development, external relations and fundraising. She has led adolescent-participation initiatives, two of which have won an Emmy Award and a Prix Jeunesse Prize. She also has experience working with indigenous and African-descent communities, with local and international celebrities, in gender-equality initiatives, in emergency response, developing educational material and as a publications editor. Sara currently resides in Bogota.


Wolfgang Friedl is a broadcast media, Emergency Communication and C4D specialist. For the past two decades, he has worked in media and government in Colombia and, for 14 years, with UNICEF in Latin America & the Caribbean and the Middle East & Northern Africa. He instituted the ongoing MENA Regional Newsdesk Initiative on Children & Development at the time of the Iraq war in 2003. As UNICEF Bolivia’s Chief of Communication & External Relation, he established an innovative CSR programme to facilitate private sector commitments to the eradication of child labor in Bolivia. As the founder of All4One Networks, Wolfgang organizes training for Crisis Communication experts and humanitarian organizations across Latin America. A Colombian national, he is based in Bogotá.


Mel Friedman writes children’s fiction and non-fiction and has long experience as a journalist and as an editorial consultant. He has written extensively on issues around freedom of speech, freedom of the press, women’s and children’s health and nuclear non-proliferation. Having taught English in China and to Chinese immigrants in New York, Mel is interested in collaborating to develop meaningful ESL and “survival” materials for immigrants and for teachers of immigrants. Mel often collaborates with his wife Ellen Weiss writing educational materials for in-classroom use by teachers and students.


Sara Ann Friedman has been a writer and editor about international development since the early 1990’s, when she cut her teeth on the new field of child rights. Working with UNICEF and U.S.-based NGOs, she continues to produce materials in print and online related to health and the human rights of children, women, minorities and other marginalized groups. For five years, she was managing editor of a 24-page newspaper called Global AIDSLink, for which she solicited, wrote and extensively revised stories on all aspects of HIV/AIDS. Sara has published five books and is at work on a sixth.


Kul Chandra Gautam, a former United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, is a public policy expert and peace advocate.  A Nepali national, he has served as Special Advisor to the Prime Minister of Nepal on International Affairs and the Peace Process. A senior development practitioner, diplomat and civic leader, Kul serves on the boards of a number of international and national foundations and charitable organizations as chairman, member or advisor. He is a prolific writer and lecturer and serves as a special advisor to Rain Barrel Communications.


Liz Gibbons is a content specialist in advancing rights and wellbeing of children and adolescents. She is currently a Senior Fellow at the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights in the Harvard School of Public Health. Experienced in developing, mentoring and leading multi-cultural teams in new strategic directions, Liz joins Rain Barrel Communications after a career with UNICEF. There she headed its offices in Haiti and Guatemala, and held senior policy positions at headquarters in New York. Liz is the author of Sanctions in Haiti:  Human Rights and Democracy under Assault, and a contributing author to several other books, most recently Human Rights and Adolescence (University of Pennsylvania 2014).


Rina Gill served as UNICEF’s Associate Director of Policy and Practice, guiding the strategic integration of human rights, gender equality, child participation and disability inclusiveness across its global advocacy, policies and programming. As Chief of Communication for Development (C4D), Rina spearheaded its repositioning as a cross-cutting practice in UNICEF’s policy and program work. She has worked in technical and managerial UN positions, with civil society organizations, and in the public and private sectors of developing and post-conflict nations in Asia and Africa. Expert in child development, Rina also specializes in social communication, film-making and visual anthropology.


Donna L. Goodman is the founder of Earth Child Institute and a former Program Advisor for UNICEF, initiating development of UNICEF’s climate change, children and environmental education resource pack for Child Friendly Schools. She is an innovative program developer and author of several United Nations, UNICEF and UNDP publications, many of which target young people and environmental issues. With the empowerment of children in mind, Donna is the author of a soon-to-be published action/adventure eco-series entitled Ecomasters.


Cindy Hawes is a Mexico-based journalist, writer, editor, translator, TV producer, radio reporter and online news director. She was the editor-in-chief of The Herald, a partnership between the Miami Herald and El Universal, and editor of the website and living section of The News, an English-language publication in Mexico. Cindy has worked for the international press, including ABC News, CTV (Canada), PBS, for Newsday and other publications, and has served on the board of directors of the Foreign Journalist Association in Mexico City.


Tony Hewett is a writer and editor with 17 years’ experience in print journalism in Australia, on Fleet Street and in New York, plus 25 years at UNICEF, with a focus on development cooperation, management and policy-setting, including country-level responsibility for programme development and implementation for three Asian nations. He has broad management and training experience and a liking for critical analysis and problem-solving. Recently he has worked on conflict resolution/transformation, and with UN field offices on solutions for programme bottlenecks. He also continues his role in a middle school curriculum project promoting skills training for climate change.


Bill Hinchberger is a freelance writer, communications consultant and educator. He is the Paris correspondent for Devex, a media platform for the global development community. Bill has taught at the Sorbonne, and conducted journalism and media training programs, including for the Thomson Reuters Foundation at the Rio+20 Earth Summit and training for journalists in Lusophone Africa for the U.S. State Department. His book credits include National Geographic Traveler Brazil, a guidebook. Bill lived in Brazil for over two decades, reporting from the region for The Financial Times and other media and managing his online travel guide BrazilMax.com. His institutional clients have included WWF, IUCN, UNEP, the World Economic Forum and the World Women’s Forum. His credits as a Rain Barrel associate include the 2013-2014 annual report of ECPAT International, an NGO working for the elimination of the sexual exploitation of children.


Barbara Kolucki is an educator and trainer with expertise in building local capacity to produce holistic, developmentally appropriate, culturally sensitive and inclusive communication for children and adults. She has over 35 years of experience in Asia, Africa, Europe and the USA with organizations as diverse as UNICEF, Sesame Workshop, Rehabilitation International, numerous NGOs and universities. Barbara has pioneered a “Master Class” with local cross-sectoral teams and specialists working with children to develop world-class communication. She has facilitated the production of communication on the topics of early child development, disability inclusion, gender equity, HIV/AIDS and addressing the psycho-social needs of children living in emergencies. Barbara is co-author of UNICEF’s “Communicating with Children: Principles and Practices that Nurture, Inspire, Excite, Educate and Heal”. (http://www.unicef.org/cwc)

Saville Kushner

Saville Kushner is a long-time advocate and practitioner of Democratic Evaluation including case study methodology – he was one of its early developers. He is Professor Emeritus whose most recent post was Professor of Public Evaluation at the University of Auckland. He has served as Regional M&E Officer for UNICEF (LAC), as Chair of the Evaluation and Research Board for the New Zealand Aid Program and as evaluation adviser to New Zealand and UK governments. In 2010-11 he was President of the UK Evaluation Society. Saville has published numerous books on evaluation methods and has led many program evaluations. He has worked in Latin America, Eastern Caribbean States, Indonesia, Tanzania, and China.

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Silvia Lovato is a children’s interactive media specialist turned researcher. She has over 15 years of experience developing educational games and other interactive features for children ages 2 to 12. She has worked on a range of projects, from formal curriculum areas like math and science to music, consumer education and emotional well-being. Silvia has spent much of her career with the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) where, besides managing PBS KIDS interactive products, she spearheaded initiatives to enable public TV stations in communities across the United States to collaborate in creating their own digital media tools. She currently researches how children understand and use media and communications technologies available to them. A native of Brazil, Silvia started her career in online journalism before moving to the United States. She has a master’s degree in Communication, Culture and Technology from Georgetown University.


At age 14, Sandra Jimenez Loza was already a longtime advocate for young people and people living with disabilities when she wrote a book entitled, If I can, why can’t you?. Since then she has been a tireless activist around children’s rights and become an accomplished filmmaker.
A Mexican national, Sandra has worked with organizations like UNICEF (she is currently on its advisory board in Mexico) and the Council to Prevent Discrimination (CONAPRED).
Sandra now heads her own video production company, which has to its credit a documentary about handicapped people that won the Zanate Award for best documentary. She is working with the Ministry of health on a program entitled Sigamos aprendiendo en los hospitales (Let´s keep learning at hospitals), for handicapped and ill children who face long-term hospitalization.


Cassio Luiselli, professor emeritus at the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterey (ITESM) in his native Mexico, is an international development economist and a geographer with extensive experience in public policy and diplomacy. He has served as the Mexican ambassador to Uruguay, South Korea, and South Africa, and was the first Mexican ambassador under the government of Nelson Mandela. Cassio also served as a Deputy Minister (Undersecretary) for environmental regulation and as General Coordinator for the Mexican Food Policy Program. He was the Deputy Director General of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and held other executive positions in international organizations and government. Cassio is the author and coauthor of several books and academic articles.


Manuel Manrique Castro, a Peruvian national, is author of several books on Latin American issues such as the origins of social policy, urban poverty and housing policies in the region. He writes a column on children’s issues for the newspaper El Mundo in Medellín, Colombia, where he resides. Manuel worked for 20 years with UNICEF where he was Programme Coordinator in Brazil, Representative in Colombia/Venezuela and Guatemala. While in México, Manuel worked as a producer of Plaza Sésamo. He is an active participant in the debates on C4D within the UN, drawing on his conviction that communication is essential to the promotion of social development and a culture of human rights.


Maria Cristina Montaño Lund is the Director of the Mexico-based MUND Group, a strategic media-marketing and public-opinion research firm working in Mexico and Latin America. With a Ph.D. from UCLA, Cristina possesses a profound knowledge of public opinion and policy issues. She directs MUND’s analysis of global development and market trends. MUND’s studies provide insights into government policies, opinions of the élite and local culture to optimize market and policy strategies. For nearly a decade, Cristina worked with a leading academic research institute to survey conditions of women inmates in Mexican state, municipal and federal prisons.


Janet Nelson is a former UNICEF staff member, serving most recently as Deputy Director of the Geneva Regional Office. During her 29 years with UNICEF, she was a writer and editor and, throughout the ’90s, oversaw partnerships with NGOs. She helped bring girls’ issues into the broader women’s movement and worked with coalitions against child labor and sexual exploitation. In Geneva, Janet focused on these issues, developing advocacy strategies for industrialized countries. She is on the Executive Board of the International Movement ATD Fourth World and is a UNICEF and UN Country teams trainer in gender mainstreaming.


PCI Media Impact is an international NGO with 30 years of experience in the field of Entertainment-Education. It is a leader in utilizing storytelling media strategies to positively shift social norms and change knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of target audiences and impacted communities, countries and regions. PCI Media Impact works with the most vulnerable and disadvantaged populations in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean as well as in the U. S. to tackle difficult health, empowerment and environmental issues and promote positive and pro-social values. It has collaborated with local partners worldwide to produce more than 5,000 radio and television episodes in over 100 serial dramas that have influenced lives in over 50 countries — reaching more than a billion people worldwide. Sean Southey is Media Impact’s CEO. mediaimpact.org.


Loch has been making films for 30 years, plain and simple. He left graduate school thinking fiction but quickly got bounced into documentary via his first good job as the primary video editor for UNICEF in New York. From there he moved into shooting and producing, traveling widely. His videos for UNICEF and other international organizations have been televised from China to Brazil and on CNN International. More recently Loch has been working with the Emmy-winning production company Hock Films, directing films for ESPN, Fox Sports, and Major League Soccer. He is a director for Hock’s ongoing series, MLS Insider, and is still traveling to far-off locations for international aid organizations via his company, Off Ramp Films.


Larissa Pissarra, a Brazilian national living in Atlanta, is a public-relations expert specializing in broadcast media and the entertainment industry. She has led a corporate social responsibility program for Cartoon Network Latin America, part of Turner Broadcasting, for the past six years. She has been instrumental in creating a comprehensive media campaign against bullying in Spanish and Portuguese (http://bastadebullying.com/), which has received notable success among Cartoon Network’s audiences – kids, parents and teachers alike – across Latin America. Larissa works with ease in English, Spanish and Portuguese. She has a deep understanding of the corporate world and the heart to translate it into pro-social projects, especially with kids.

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Alyce Russo and Steven Schall each have 30 years’ experience in domestic and international community development. After meeting at MIT’s Urban Planning program, they created the consulting firm Schall & Russo Planning Works, blending their expertise in leadership, program operations and physical/capital planning. They work with visionary non-profit, NGO and foundation leaders. Steve, who has worked as a non-profit executive, planner, educator and social worker, oversees its successful executive search (headhunting) work. Alyce, an urban planner and project leader for capital development and infrastructure projects, takes the lead on managing the space planning, design and build-out for groups focused on the interplay between their physical space and their work styles. Steve and Alyce join forces on their business and operational consulting. See: http://www.schallrusso.com/

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Alyce Russo and Steven Schall each have 30 years’ experience in domestic and international community development. After meeting at MIT’s Urban Planning program, they created the consulting firm Schall & Russo Planning Works, blending their expertise in leadership, program operations and physical/capital planning. They work with visionary non-profit, NGO and foundation leaders. Steve, who has worked as a non-profit executive, planner, educator and social worker, oversees its successful executive search (headhunting) work. Alyce, an urban planner and project leader for capital development and infrastructure projects, takes the lead on managing the space planning, design and build-out for groups focused on the interplay between their physical space and their work styles. Steve and Alyce join forces on their business and operational consulting. See: http://www.schallrusso.com/


Mercedes Sayagues, originally from Uruguay, has lived in and reported about Africa for 24 years. She has survived stepping barefoot on a scorpion in the Kalahari, being taken hostage by Unita during Angola’s civil war, and expulsion from Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe for reporting human rights abuses. She alternates years of freelancing with longer-term media projects throughout Africa. Between 2010 and 2013, she was a Knight Health Fellow in Mozambique. Her brief was to improve health reporting through coaching local journalists, enabling them to highlight inequalities, progress, and trends. In short: show that health is as exciting as politics. Mercedes is fluent in Spanish, English, Portuguese, French and Italian, and lives in South Africa. See more of her work on health, gender and human rights at: http://msayagues.wix.com/mywork


Chris Schuepp serves as Rain Barrel’s “youth antenna” through his work in media and youth outreach with Youth Media Consulting, his consulting company. He specializes in outreach to young people on a range of issues in Europe and Central Asia. He manages theOneMinutesJr., a UNICEF video initiative that highlights and celebrates the diversity among youth around the world. With an MA in journalism from the University of Dortmund, Germany, Chris is fluent in English, German and Russian. ​See http://ypmn.blogspot.com and http://theoneminutesjr.org/


Ami Sengupta is a Communication for Development (C4D) consultant specializing in gender, participation and child protection. Her professional experience spans strategy development, research and training. Ami has worked on communication, gender and development projects with UNICEF, Ohio University and UN Women at the global, regional and national levels, including in Afghanistan, India, Madagascar, Peru and Sierra Leone. She has extensive experience in technical and report writing for international agencies including articles in international journals and books. Ami has a Master’s degree in International Development from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in Communication from Ohio University. A Nepali national, Ami resides in Hanoi.


Singular, Arquitetura de Mídia is an 18-year-old company positioned at the centre of the Brazilian communication industry. Specialized in media and content and directed by Geraldo Leite and Beth Carmona, the company provides strategic planning, research, market analysis and multimedia project development, specialized in children and youth. Sao Paulo-based Singular’s portfolio includes training and seminars offered to professionals who want to stay on top of the world of media and communication, customized projects for communication companies, platform development and implementation, and media marketing analysis. Singular also oversees the ComKids project, which is dedicated to the development of audiovisual and digital interactive content mainly for children and youth. It provides consulting services for children´s media channels, companies and studios. For more information, see http://comkids.com.br/es/


Suruchi Sood has worked inside and outside academia for over 20 years, specifically around research processes associated with the design, implementation and evaluation of health communication programs. Her area of expertise is in studying Entertainment-Education, i.e. the embedding of educational messaging within popular communication formats and channels. She has extensive experience in managing and conducting both qualitative and quantitative research across global multi-sectorial projects. Suruchi, who has a Ph.D., is an Associate Professor at the Department of Community Health and Prevention, School of Public Health at Drexel University in Philadelphia.


Brigitte Stark-Merklein is a former UNICEF staff member with extensive experience in the editorial field, external relations and Communication for Development. She worked at New York headquarters and offices in Angola, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Mozambique and Nicaragua. During her 24 years at UNICEF, she served in different capacities, including editor, copy editor, project manager and girls’ education campaigns coordinator. She also headed the External Relations team in UNICEF Mozambique, and the External Relations and C4D Sections in UNICEF Central African Republic. Before joining UNICEF, Brigitte worked as a freelance translator and photographer. She is fluent in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and German, her mother tongue. Brigitte resides in New York City.


Georg Steinboeck is an award-winning documentary filmmaker based in Vienna. His professional and personal work focuses on social themes like AIDS, violent extremism and medical research. To capture the authenticity of the moment and to maximize flexibility, Georg works alone or with a small team, taking advantage of today’s increasingly mobile digital equipment. Georg’s special talent is to craft intimate and authentic portraits of people who live on the margins of society. He has filmed in India, Indonesia, Mexico, Pakistan, Yugoslavia and other countries. Georg also works regularly as a video/photo coach, both for beginners and advanced users. He specializes in helping institutions to use digital communications more creatively. Since 2009, he has conducted over 40 workshops on four continents.


Markus Stoffel, an award-winning German videographer based in Nuremberg, has worked as a cameraman, sound mixer and video director since 1987. As a member of the German Society of Cinematographers (BVK), he is working extensively on documentary films, videos for social media, commercials and image films, often with a focus on social and cultural themes.

Working in over 25 countries, Markus has covered the civil war in Bosnia and other crises and often worked on videos featuring children, refugees and people traumatized by political violence. He has collaborated with other directors on documentaries featuring international celebrities. Markus was nominated for the German Camera Award for best documentary cinematography for “Inside me”, which followed the lives of seven persons with intellectual disabilities. He recently produced seven videos for social media about the commercial sexual exploitation of children for ECPAT International, an NGO which works to end child commercial sexual exploitation. Visit Markus’ website.


Teresa Stuart Guida is a former UNICEF official and policy adviser specializing in health, nutrition, social protection, agriculture and the environment. She has done extensive work on communication for development (C4D) in the above areas, aimed at behavior and social change. Her expertise includes the design of country-specific, research-driven and human rights-based communication action plans. This requires the preparation of program guidelines, budget and protocols for national to community-based implementation, management, monitoring and evaluation. Teresa also designs, conducts and evaluates learning workshops in C4D and facilitates team building for organizational retreats.


Batilloi Warritay is a C4D Specialist with extensive experience in East, West, Central and Southern Africa. As UNICEF Chief of Communication in Angola and Nigeria, he designed and implemented multi-media strategic plans, advocacy and media products. His skills are in national communication policy design, strategic planning, media campaigning and materials development.

As UN Resident Coordinator and UNICEF Deputy Representative in Sao Tome and Principe, Batilloi coordinated multi-agency strategic programmes that halved infant mortality and malaria and strengthened girls’ education. He worked with UNICEF and government teams in social mobilization for the Ebola eradication campaigns. As a broadcaster and theatre director, he initiated the UNICEF Theatre for Development for Children’s Rights programmes and training manuals. An American and Sierra Leonean citizen, Batilloi also serves as Chairman of the West African Democracy Radio, a network of community radio stations.


Ellen Weiss is a Grammy award-winning writer, producing books, videos, songs, television scripts and articles for and about children since the 1970’s. In addition to writing over 150 books, fiction and non-fiction, for children of all ages, Ellen has worked as an editor for Scholastic, Xerox Education Publications, Children’s Television Workshop, Jim Henson Productions, and HarperCollins Children’s Books. She was a staff writer on Nickelodeon’s preschool program Eureeka’s Castle, and she has written articles about children for Parents Magazine, The Sesame Street Parents’ Newsletter, and UNICEF. She frequently collaborates with her husband, Mel Friedman. A passionate supporter of the arts in public schools, Ellen has been a moving force for the past 20 years in Opus 118, a group that brings music lessons to kids in East Harlem. ellenweissbooks.com opus118.org


Maria Gabriela de Vita is a former UNICEF official who worked at diverse duty stations including Viet Nam, the Central African Republic, Burundi, Mongolia and New York. She has particular experience in the management of development programmes including those in complex emergency situations. During her six years as a Gender Equality and Social Change Specialist at UNICEF, she worked closely with academics in the area of harmful practices and social norms such as female genital cutting, laying the foundation for much of the work on this topic now being done. An Italian national, Maria is fluent in French and English. She lives in Zurich.


Silvio Waisbord has more than 25 years of experience in communication for health, education, and civil society in developing countries, particularly in Latin America and Africa. He has conducted behavioural research and communication assessments, designed and conducted communication interventions and journalism workshops. He has also written on advocacy and communication aspects about a range of global health issues. He has authored articles on communication, development, and social changes that are widely used in academic courses and professional training around the world. Silvio, a Ph.D., is a professor at George Washington University.


Mehr Khan Williams is chair of the Board of International Service for Human Rights. From 2004 to 2006, she was Assistant Secretary General and Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva. Prior to that she has served in senior positions in UNICEF including Regional Director in the East Asia and Pacific region, Director of Communication in New York, Director of the Innocenti Research Centre and Deputy Director of UNICEF’s Programme Funding Office. She has also served on the Board of a number of NGOs including UNICEF United Kingdom, Plan International and Minority Rights Group. Before joining the United Nations, Mehr worked for the Associated Press of Pakistan and United Press International and taught journalism at the University of Karachi. She has a Masters degree in Journalism from Karachi University and has studied communication at the East West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.


John Williams is a New York-based communications specialist, writer and editor. His career with UNICEF included management of global outreach to media and to NGOs, liaison with governments on social development policy and programs, private-sector fundraising and work with UNICEF ambassadors, notably with Audrey Hepburn. Earlier, he worked as a journalist on political and social issues in Southeast Asia, Europe and North America for various media outlets including Reuters and the Guardian. He has contributed extensively to The International Herald Tribune and to media in Australia, his native country. John works easily in a French-speaking environment.