Avert team at a conference

Our people include a team of experienced staff based in the UK and Zimbabwe, led by CEO Sarah Hand, a Board of Trustees who govern our work, and a review panel who review content produced across our projects and platforms.

Our review panel includes topic experts, people working on the frontline of the HIV response, and those most affected by HIV.

Our staff

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    Sarah Hand (she/her)

    Chief Executive Officer

    Sarah joined Avert with a wealth of senior experience from the INGO sector. Sarah has worked extensively across the HIV response since the mid-1990s, initially in the UK and then internationally in countries across Southern Africa and the Eastern Caribbean. Sarah has experience of HIV programming and implementation in areas including working with key affected populations, HIV prevention, and behaviour change communication. Sarah previously served as a Trustee of STOPAIDS.

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    Simon Moore (he/him)

    Director of Communications and Digital Health Strategy

    Simon has over 20 years’ experience in communications for social change and has been working in HIV, health and development for 18 years. As well as roles at Avert, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance and conflict prevention organisation Saferworld, he has consulted for a range of health and development organisations. Simon has a MSc in Behaviour Change and an MA in International Policy and Diplomacy.

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    Yael Azgad (she/her)

    Senior Content Editor and Project Manager

    Yael has been a development communications specialist for over a decade with a focus on digital and a passion for co-creation and collaboration. She has worked across the global health, development and humanitarian sectors for organisations including the UN, think-tanks, and NGOs.

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    Jon Edgell (he/him)

    Director of Finance and Operations

    Jon has over 20 years' specialist finance, management and governance experience in the charity sector. Jon has a BA in Economics and has served as a Governor on the Board of local primary and secondary schools. In his spare time he has interests in music, writing, travel and sport.

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    Florence Roff (she/her)

    Digital Marketing Manager

    Florence has worked in the health and charity sectors since 2014. She has a Masters in Marketing and since graduating her roles have focused on digital communications. She has extensive experience in creating and implementing digital projects and campaigns across web, social media and email.

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    Lucy Gale (she/her)

    Content Editor and Project Manager

    Lucy has over 10 years’ experience in communications and international development, with a particular focus on working with young people. She has created digital content, campaigns and publications for a number of charitable organisations including the ESU, ActionAid and TimeBank.

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    Emma Collingbourne (she/her)

    Fundraising and Partnerships Manager

    Emma has over 10 years’ experience working in international development with a focus on health, including HIV, sexual and reproductive health, and non-communicable diseases. In particular she has worked with programmes that reach marginalised populations and have a focus on empowering young people.

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    Meena Ganesh (she/her)

    Content Editor and Project Manager

    Meena has over 10 years’ experience in the digital communication and charity sectors. She has created content and strategy for web and social media channels for various organisations, including Barnardo’s. Meena holds a degree in Media and Journalism, and has experience writing for both professional and public audiences.

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    Sarah Oughton (she/her)

    Content Editor and Project Manager

    Sarah is a digital communications specialist with 20 years’ experience working for international non-profits. She is committed to using her skills in writing, photography and video for impact across the global health, development and humanitarian sectors.

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    Tinashe Madamombe (she/her)

    Digital Content Writer

    Tinashe is a communications specialist with a deep understanding of women and gender issues. She has a passion for creating content that is informative and thought-provoking. Tinashe has experience in creating content for both online and offline audiences and running social media campaigns. She also brings experience of working in multi-cultural environments obtained from Ireland, USA and Zimbabwe. Tinashe holds a Masters in International Public Policy and Diplomacy.

Our Trustees

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    Simon Forrest

    Chair of the Board of Trustees

    Simon is an academic with a career long interest in HIV, sexual health, gender and sexualities, with a particular focus on the role of education in prevention. He is currently a Professor in the Sociology Department and the Principal of the College of St Hild and St Bede. He has written for both academic and general audiences on all these issues.

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    Emily Hughes


    Emily Hughes has worked in the UK voluntary sector since 2005, focused on strategic volunteer management. She currently leads the Volunteer Experience team at Girlguiding, supporting over 80,000 volunteers to support girls and young women to have adventures. Emily joined Avert after returning from a year with VSO in Zambia supporting a grassroots organisations delivering peer education to reduce HIV transmissions. Emily is also a trustee of the Directory of Social Change (DSC).

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    Andrew Walker


    Andrew is a partner at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors specialising in corporate restructuring and insolvency matters. Andrew has a keen interest in providing support to young people lacking the knowledge to effectively combat the HIV epidemic. Andrew regularly advises charities facing financial challenges assisting them in successfully restructuring or re-organising in order to continue to provide their vision on a financially sustainable basis. He has been a Charity Trustee for nearly 30 years including two Arts Charities in Yorkshire.

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    Carole Leach-Lemens


    Carole is a writer and editor with over 30 years’ experience in the field of HIV. She has substantive experience in sub-Saharan Africa and a specialism in maternal and child health. She has consulted for organisations including Comic Relief, John Snow Inc. and UNICEF. Carole holds a Master of Public Health and has been writing news for Aidsmap since 2009.

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    Anna Becker


    Anna has over 15 years’ experience developing donor engagement strategies, successful funding proposals, and managing strategic relationships with institutional funders in the health and HIV sectors. She is currently Director of Institutional Funding at Sightsavers and plays a role in overall organisational management through membership of the Management Team.

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    Carol Sherman


    Carol has over 25 years’ experience as a senior director in large scale non-governmental programmes in complex emergencies and low income countries. She has worked across MENA, Asia, Africa, Pacific and the Balkans. Carol has kept gender analysis, child protection and safeguarding, local partnerships and local ownership, central to all initiatives. She now works as a coach and international development consultant.

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    Max Cuvellier


    Max is passionate about how technology and local innovation can address global challenges. He currently leads Mobile for Development (M4D) at GSMA, a team working to improve access to basic services for local populations through technology. M4D partners with bilateral donors, private foundations, mobile operators, entrepreneurs, investors, governments and international NGOs across Africa, Asia-Pacific and beyond.

Our review panel

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    Ms. Tikulirekuti Banda

    Content Reviewer

    Tikulirekuti is a public health specialist working with community healthcare workers in Zambia. She is currently based at the Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ) where she is managing adolescent sexual and reproductive health activities. She has recently co-designed CIDRZ first adolescent health mobile application. She is an investigator on a number of research projects and is part of various national, provincial and district health technical working groups.

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    Harerimana Ismail Shema

    Content Reviewer

    Harerimana is a Peer Educator working with Kabale Regional Referral hospital in South Western Uganda and Young People and Adolescent Peer Supporter (YAPS) where he supports the work of the Ministry of Health. Harerimana is also an Ariel Ambassador and a member of the Committee of African Youth Advisors (CAYA) at Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric Aids Foundation (EGPAF).

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    Fumane Kokoali

    Content Reviewer

    Fumane has been a medical doctor for 21 years, having qualified and trained in South Africa and worked as a GP in the UK for the last 10 years. Being South African and having trained in the time of high rates of illness and death due to HIV and AIDS when there was lack of education, awareness and antiretrovirals, HIV has always been an area of interest. She brings this knowledge and experience to ensure Avert’s content on managing and living with HIV is at the highest standard.

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    Ms. Savita Kulkarni

    Content Reviewer

    Savita has 20+ years of professional experience with focus on Gender Mainstreaming, Documentation, and Capacity Building of NGOs and Community Based Organizations. Savita has worked with Government Ministries in India, Afghanistan, and Myanmar. She worked with local NGOs in Mozambique, Myanmar, and Philippines. Savita has five years of International Development Experience. She has worked in number of multi-location and multi stakeholder projects.

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    Felix Mbangweta

    Content Reviewer

    Felix is a psychosocial counsellor working in the adolescent department at Chawama General Hospital. He previously worked for the Centre for Infectious Disease Research Zambia (CIDRZ) and Latkings Outreach Program on research, service delivery and advocacy projects focused on adolescents and young people. Felix has served as part of the Chawama Youth Friendly Executive as publicity secretary. He hopes to build a youth led organization which have a positive impact on society.

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    Joshua Ochieng Oliyo.

    Content Reviewer

    Joshua was born with HIV. He is now a trained counsellor and offers psychosocial support to young people living with HIV working for the Elizabeth Glaser Peadiatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF). He has vast experience in peer education and has represented adolescents and young people on advocacy platforms such as Sauti Skika Network Steering Committee, Youth Advisory Council for Health Homabay County, EGPAF Committee of African Youth Advisors (CAYA). He is currently an Empower for Change Advocate.

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    James Phiri

    Content Reviewer

    James is a professional psychosocial counsellor, and has worked in the health sector for almost his entire career with organizations like Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF), the Centre of Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ) and most recently Tackle Africa. Having lost both parents to HIV at a very young age, James has been obsessed with awareness and prevention of HIV and has dedicated his life to speaking and teaching about HIV working towards zero new infections.

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    Amrita Sarkar

    Content Reviewer

    Amrita has been working for the LGBTIQ+ and mainly for the transgender community for more than two decades and has been involved in numerous capacity building initiatives for them at the national and global level. She is the one of the founding members and the Secretary of IRGT – A Global Network of Trans Women and HIV. Currently she is working as the Advisor: Transgender Wellbeing and Advocacy at Alliance India. Amrita is a trained counsellor and completed her post-grad in social welfare.

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    Rohit Sarkar

    Content Reviewer

    Rohit Sarkar has over two decades of experience in HIV/AIDS working with affected communities, including MSM, transgender, and people living with HIV. He has expertise in developing evidence based innovative strategies towards community system strengthening in respect of public health services. Rohit is currently working as Programme Manager: Gender, Sexuality and Rights in India HIV/AIDS Alliance.

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    Lilian Tutegyereize

    Content Reviewer

    Lilian is an accomplished executive with 15 years of experience in the wider sexual and reproductive health space. Currently, her work includes leading the acceleration of the introduction and scale-up of new and emerging HIV biomedical prevention products in Uganda. She is a member of a number of technical working groups at the Uganda Ministry of Health.