Current SVRI Leadership Council

Dr Chi-Chi Undie (Co-chair)

Dr Undie is an Associate in the Reproductive Health Program of the Population Council. She coordinates and provides strategic and technical oversight for the Population Council-led ‘Africa Regional SGBV Network’ – a network of partners in the East and Southern Africa region which designs, implements, and tests innovative response models to SGBV in low-resource settings. In addition, her SGBV-related research has centered on responses to intimate partner violence in East Africa. This work is currently being adapted and tested to meet the needs refugees and children in the region. She holds an interdisciplinary doctoral degree in Language, Literacy, and Culture from the University of Maryland, and was formerly a Ford Foundation post-doctoral fellow, and later, an Associate Research Scientist, at the African Population and Health Research Center; and a Lead Ethnographer at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is an Advisory Group member of the Institute of Development Studies’ Sexuality and Development program (University of Sussex).

Alessandra C Guedes (Co-Chair)

Alessandra Guedes is currently the Manager for Gender and Development Research at UNICEF Office of Research Innocenti, based in Florence, Italy. She has worked intensively in the areas of public health and prevention of violence against women and violence against children for the past 20 years, including as WHO’s Regional Advisor for the Americas. She has published widely on this topic and is particularly interested in the intersections between violence against women and violence against children. Alessandra is the recipient of a British Chevening scholarship and holds an MSc in Public Health for Developing Countries from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and an MA in Art Therapy from the George Washington University. She is currently the co-chair of the Leadership Council of the Sexual Violence Research Initiative (SVRI) and was previously vice-president of the board of Promundo, an international NGO working with men and boys to promote gender equality. She has participated in various professional groups and consortia, including: Post-Abortion Care Consortium (co-chair of Safe Motherhood Task Force), International Emergency Contraception Consortium and Latin American Consortium for Emergency Contraception (member of the Steering Committee).

Dr Claudia Garcia-Moreno (SVRI Forum Chair)

Dr Garcia-Moreno is a physician from Mexico with a masters in community medicine from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She has over 25 years of experience in health care delivery, research and policy, working in Africa, Latin America and Asia. Increasingly her work has  focused on sexual and reproductive health, women's health and gender in health.  For the last 15 years she has been leading the World Health Organization's (WHO) work on gender and women's health,  violence against women and HIV/AIDS in women and girls and currently leads the team on Gender, Reproductive Rights, Sexual Health and Adolescence in the Department of Reproductive Health and Research, WHO. She is coordinator of the WHO Multi-Country Study on Women's Health and Domestic Violence Against Women, a large research initiative involving  now over 15  countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa. She is a founder and SVRI Leadership Council member and on the Steering Committee of the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS.

Professor Rachel K Jewkes

Professor Rachel Jewkes is the Executive Scientist for Research Strategy in the Office of the SAMRC President. She is an A1 rated scientist. She was formerly Director of the South African Medical Research Council’s Gender and Health Research Unit and is an Honorary Professor at the University of the Witwatersrand School of Public Health. She is the Secretary of the Sexual Violence Research Initiative and the Consortium Director of the DFID-funded What Works to Prevent Violence? Global Programme which is leading prevention of violence against women research in 13 countries.  She has led research in South Africa and globally on the intersection of gender inequity, gender-based violence and health and is the author of over 300 peer reviewed journal articles, reports, training manuals and book chapters.

Elizabeth Dartnall

Liz is a health specialist with over 20 years’ research and policy-making experience on health systems, mental health, violence against women and children. Having worked in several countries, in both government and research positions, Liz has a deep understanding of the policy process and use or research to inform policy and practice. For example, in South Africa, Liz worked for the Department of Health at both provincial and national levels in epidemiology and health information systems. In Australia she worked in mental health for the Western Australian state government. Since 2006, Liz has managed the Sexual Violence Research Initiative (SVRI), and recently with support of multiple partners, launched SVRI as an independent NGO. The SVRI, with more than 6600 members, is one of the largest networks in the field of research on violence against women and violence against children. The SVRI produces leading publications and materials; strengthens research capacity, provides research grants and technical assistance for research on violence against women in low and middle income countries; and hosts the key global biannual event in the field – the SVRI Forum. Liz is committed to research and policy-making that is women centred, ethical, equitable and partnership based. Further, through the SVRI and our partners we are reversing the global imbalance in research capacity and resources to ensure research on violence against women in low and middle income countries is led by researchers in low and middle income countries and knowledge production is driven by research priorities and needs of the global South.

Professor Heidi Stöckl

Heidi Stöckl is a Professor of Social Epidemiology and Director of the Gender Violence & Health Centre at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine with more than 20 years of experience in researching the epidemiology of intimate partner violence, violence related mortality and human trafficking, including studies on the prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence among the general population, pregnant and older women, the global prevalence of intimate partner homicide and perpetrators of child homicide, trafficking for sexual exploitation and forced marriage in Uzbekistan and China. Dr Stöckl’s research mainly consists of large scale survey data analysis and evidence synthesis, and primary research including a randomized control trial in South Africa, cross-sectional surveys, penal file analyses and qualitative and methodological work in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Europe. She is currently running the first longitudinal study among adult women on intimate partner violence in sub-Saharan Africa with four waves of data collection to explore the predictors and consequences of intimate partner violence, a qualitative study on perceptions and conceptualizations of sexual harassment in Tanzania and formative work through adaptive programming to develop an intervention addressing sexual violence among adolescent boys in Nigeria. Dr Stöckl conducted the first prevalence study on intimate partner violence during pregnancy in Germany.   

Tesmerelna Atsbeha

Tesmerelna Atsbeha is a senior program officer on the Women’s Rights team at Wellspring Philanthropic Fund. Her grantmaking focus is reproductive rights in Latin America and the global prevention of Violence Against Women. She previously worked at UNWomen in the Policy Division and at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health as part of the International AIDS Care and Treatment Program (ICAP). Prior to that, she was based for ten years in Eastern and Southern Africa and Latin America.  During that time, she was part of Sexual and Reproductive Health research and implementation projects with UNDP, The Global Fund and several academic institutions. She bring her knowledge of the violence against women and girls research field specifically related to prevention of intimate partner violence, including relevant research institutions, leaders, civil society partners and violence prevention practitioners. She holds a BA in International Relations from Brown University, a MPH from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; and a MA in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University.

Professor Kumudu Wijewardena

Prof. Kumudu Wijewardena is a retired professor of community medicine and is now emeritus. Kumudu was a Co-chairperson of the Gender Equity and Equality Standing Committee of the Universities Grant Commission (UGC) which is planning and coordinating university education in Sri Lanka. Previously, Professor Kumudu was the first female Dean to work at the faculty of graduate studies University Sri Jayewardenepura where she was responsible for training and awarding Diplomas, Masters, and PhDs, in Humanities, Social sciences, Science, Management and Medical disciplines at the university of Sri Jayewardenepura. Professor Kumudu is a research leader in adolescent health, gender-based violence and in Monitoring and Evaluation. She has carried out both quantitative and qualitative research across Sri Lanka examining health issues of vulnerable populations including adolescents, single mothers, sex workers, pregnant women, women in menopausal age, estate populations, migrant workers, children of migrant workers and war widows. She has over 80 research publications – some in very prestigious journals which has resulted in presidential awards. She reviews articles for more than 8 prestigious journals.

Joanna Włodarczyk

Joanna Włodarczyk is a researcher at the Empowering Children Foundation. The Foundation is one of the biggest organizations in Poland, and the local leader for Central and Eastern Europe in the field of violence against children. She holds a Master’s degree in Sociology (2006-2011) from the Institute of Applied Social Sciences at Warsaw University. She holds a position of a Research Department Coordinator and Managing Editor of the journal “Abused Child. Theory, Research and Practise”. Joanna has extensive experience in conducting qualitative and quantitative surveys in the field of violence against children.