People

Staff

Sarah Blakemore - Director

Sarah joined Keeping Children Safe in March 2015. Prior to this Sarah was Director at the Cluster Munition Coalition - International Campaign to Ban Landmines - Cluster Munition Coalition (ICBL-CMC). She has also worked at End Water Poverty, Save the Children and Oxfam.  Sarah is a passionate dynamic leader and ready to challenge the sector to do more to safeguard children. 

 

Alexander Dressler - Head of Capacity Building

Alex brings to his position a wide range of experience in child safeguarding, child rights, investigating child safeguarding concerns, and auditing child safeguarding procedures. He has designed and facilitated workshops for hundreds of organisations serving millions of children in dozens of countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, North, Central and South America. In partnership with UNICEF and to promote greater collaboration around child protection, he facilitated workshops in four regions of Nigeria for senior officials from the courts, police, education, prisons, and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. Alex has also audited the child safeguarding procedures of organisations in nearly a dozen countries.

He has more than 20 years’ experience in international development. He was a regional organisation development delegate for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, assigned to support Red Cross Societies in Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America. Prior to that he was a regional resource development delegate for Central and Eastern Europe and the Baltics. More recently, Alex was the director of the Consortium for Street Children. While the director, he was asked by the government of Tanzania to help develop a national strategy for vulnerable children.

 

Maryam Ehsani - Child Safeguarding Network Manager

Maryam leads the development of the international movement to safeguard children. She supports 48 international, national and local organisations working in every almost country and serving millions of  the world's most vulnerable children.  Maryam is accountable for driving quality in implementation of the International Child Safeguarding Standards within the KCS network.  She is able to provide support in English, French, Farsi and Arabic. She is developing an international child safeguarding community of practice, provides ongoing technical advice and coaching to members and undertakes certification and auditing for all full members. She recently led the certification of Terre Des Hommes across 68 countries. 

In addition, she was involved in providing her child safeguarding expertise to deliver child safeguarding workshops during the partnership of KCS and USAID- PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS and Relief) programme in Africa. She successfully led the first child safeguarding conference in Africa in 2014 which brought together 250 participants including Government bodies, donors and local and International NGOs across 49 countries to examine the implications of the child safeguarding measures in the African context. She is currently leading the development of the first ever Latin American child safeguarding conference to take place in 2018.

Maryam has an MA in International Children’s Rights specialising in global childhood development, child health and international child protection and child safeguarding issues.

 

 

Paz Redondo - Global Capacity Building Coordinator

Paz has worked in international development for seven years. She started working in psychosocial and community based programs in Mexico and Benin. She has also worked for World Vision Spain and participated in evaluations for UNFPA in Cameroon and EU funded projects in Israel & OPTs. In 2013 she developed and coordinated the event TEDxBurgos and has been linked to the University of Burgos in Spain as Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She has experience in consultancy services for charities and social enterprises in the Netherlands and Spain. She has also led programmes to protect unaccompanied minors and refugees in Spain for Asociación Hechos. She holds a MA in International Development from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and a MBA from the Universidad Europea de Madrid

 

Helen Carter - Finance and Operations Manager

Helen joined Keeping Children Safe in April 2016.  She brings over 34 years' experience in finance and operational management and a firm commitment to good governance. Before joining Keeping Children Safe, Helen worked for an architectural practice and for the Centre for Accessible Environments where she held many roles including Interim Director, Head of Finance and Company Secretary. Helen has made a commitment to the aims and objectives of Keeping Children Safe and will support the team implement the new strategic plan. 

 

 

Naresh Chaudhary

Naresh Chaudhary - Global Head of Fundraising and Communications

Naresh Chaudhary is responsible for developing, implementing and overseeing global fund raising strategy to ensure the organization’s sustainability. Naresh is especially focused on brand development across the globe. He comes with extensive experience of more than two decades of fundraising in the social sector. He has worked with several child centric organizations amongst others in India and Asia, particularly in the middle income countries. Previously he was working with SOS Children’s Villages International as Director Fund Development and Communications Asia Region. In SOS CV, he oversaw the establishment of fundraising offices, campaigns and crisis communication, and initiated the process of paperless fundraising using digital technology. He was the Chairperson for Advocacy and Fundraising Committee, a consortium of 18 countries from Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America supported by ICS (International Child Support) Netherlands to provide assistance for fundraising. Naresh has also worked with Childreach International as the Country Director, India and was the Chairperson for the global child protection committee.

Naresh has been proactive with representing his organisations in media with interviews, articles, and opinions. He has experience in devising and successfully executing long and short term strategies for programmes, image building, sustainability, networking and advocacy. 

 

Conor Foley

Conor Foley - Senior Advocacy Advisor

Conor Foley has worked on legal reform, human rights and protection issues in over twenty conflict, post-conflict or fragile zones including in: Aceh, Afghanistan, Angola, Azerbaijan, Albania, Armenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Colombia, Cote d’Ivoire, Darfur, Democratic Republic of Congo, Georgia, Indonesia, Kosovo, Liberia, Macedonia, Malawi, Mozambique, Peru, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Serbia, Tajikistan, Timor Leste, Uganda and Zimbabwe. 

He is a Visiting Professor at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC Rio), a Research Fellow at the Human Rights Law Centre, University of Nottingham and a Visiting Fellow at the University of Essex. His books include: Another system is possible: reforming Brazilian justice, published jointly by the IBA and the Brazilian Ministry of Justice in 2012, The Thin Blue Line: how humanitarianism went to war (Verso: 2010), A Guide to Property Law in Afghanistan (UNHCR: 2005) and Combating Torture: a manual for judges and Prosecutors (FCO, 2003).  

 

Trustees

Jane Connors

Jane Connors is Chair of Keeping Children Safe. She is currently the Director of International Advocacy of Amnesty International's International Advocacy Programme and a Visiting Professor in Practice at the London School of Economic's Centre for Women, Peace and Security.  Jane is the former Director of the Research and Right to Development Division at the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). She worked in the United Nations from 1996 first as the Chief of the Women’s Rights Section in the Division for the Advancement of Women in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs in New York and since 2002 in OHCHR.  There she held positions in the Human Rights Treaties Division and the Special Procedures Branch.

Before joining the United Nations, she was a law teacher at the School of Oriental and African Studies in the University of London, the Universities of Lancaster and Nottingham, in the United Kingdom, and the University of Canberra and the Australian National University in Australia. 

She has written widely on United Nations human rights mechanisms, in particular human rights treaty bodies and the Human Rights Council’s special procedures, the human rights of children and women, and violence against children and women.  

 

Mariama Deschamps

Mariama joined Keeping Children Safe in 2007. Mariama is the Global Head of Keeping Children Safe at Plan International and as such is the organisation’s representative on the Coalition. Mariama’s role at Plan involves developing and leading on Child Protection Policy initiatives which ensures the safety of children that the organisation, it staff and associates comes contact with directly and indirectly.

 

Benyam Dawit Mezmur

Benyam Dawit Mezmur, from Ethiopia, is an academic who specialises on children’s rights law. He is the Chairperson of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, and the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) of the African Union. He previously served as the Chairperson of the ACERWC (2012- 2014) and Vice-Chairperson of the CRC Committee (2013-2015). Benyam is an Associate Professor of Law at the Dullah Omar Institute for Constitutional Law, Governance, and Human Rights [formerly known as the Community Law Centre] of the University of the Western Cape (UWC) in South Africa where he is the Senior Researcher and Coordinator of the Children’s Rights Project. 

 

 

Steve Smith

Steve Smith has been the Chief Executive of Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) since January 2012. AOAV is a UK-based, international NGO, with the mission of reducing the global incidence and impact of armed violence. Steve came to AOAV from a military background, which saw him serve on operations in Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Iraq and a number of other unstable regions. He therefore brings a broad spectrum of experience of conflict zones and fragile states to KCS.

Steve holds Master’s degrees in War in the Modern World (KCL) and Risk, Crisis and Disaster Management(Leicester). He is the author of 3-2-1 Bomb Gone, a history of the fight against the terrorist bombers in Northern Ireland during ‘The Troubles’. He was appointed MBE in 1993 for his work in Northern Ireland.

 

Alaa Murabit, M.D

Alaa Murabit is the founding president of  The Voice of Libyan Women (VLW) to champion women’s participation in peace processes and conflict mediation. Her programs, such as the groundbreaking “Noor Campaign” are replicated internationally.  Nicknamed “The Libyan Doogie Howser” by Jon Stewart and applauded by Oprah for her innovative approach to security, Murabit acts as advisor to numerous international security boards, think tanks and organizations. Most recently she was nominated to the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (women, peace and security) Global Advisory Board, UN Women Global Advisory Board and Harvard University’s “Everywoman, Everywhere” initiative.

The first Ashoka Fellow elected from Libya, Murabit is the youngest recipient of the Marisa Bellisario International Humanitarian Award by the Italian Government, was named the “International Trust Women Hero 2014” by The New York Times and "One of 25 women under 25 to watch" by Newsweek.  Most recently she was selected as a "100 Top Woman" by the BBC and the SAFE Global Hero. 

 

Aneeta Williams

Aneeta Williams is an International Consultant with Bridging Worlds Consulting  and has been part of Keeping Children Safe since June 2007. With her legal and child rights background, Aneeta has 20+ years experience of advising and evaluating a range of organisations, faith-based communities and multi-disciplinary professionals in preventing and responding to child abuse and gender-based violence in development and humanitarian contexts. She is also a Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative Expert (Legal/GBV) under the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and was deployed to the borders of Syria. 

 

Jenny Myers

Jenny Myers is a qualified social worker and company director of her own safeguarding consultancy. She has over 30 years experience of working in child safeguarding across both the statutory and third sectors in the UK and internationally. She previously held national roles as a senior consultant with the NSPCC and latterly as Head of Safeguarding for Barnardo’s, she has also worked for Government Ministries in the same field. Jenny was one of the founders of Keeping Children Safe and was the designer/author of the original Keeping Children Safe toolkit.

 

Théophane Nikyèma

Mr Théophane Nikyèma is the Executive Director of The African Child Policy Forum (ACPF), an independent pan-African institution for policy research and dialogue on the African Child. As a passionate advocate for children rights and wellbeing in Africa, Mr. Nikyèma has more than twenty years experience in international development having served in leadership positions within the United Nations System in Africa and Asia. His previous appointments include UNICEF Representative in Mali (2012),  UNDP Resident Representative, UN Resident Coordinator, Designated Official, and Humanitarian Coordinator in Uganda (2006-2012), UNICEF Deputy Regional Director for West and Central Africa (2003-2006), and UNICEF Country Representative in Rwanda (2000-2003).

 

Fionna Smyth

Fionna Smyth is currently Senior Advocacy Adviser SDGs, UN Women. Previously she was Head of Campaigns at Amnesty UK, and worked for Oxfam where she worked across a number of humanitarian and development contexts. During her career she has worked in advocacy and campaigning to address impunity for Sexual violence in The Democratic Republic of Congo and worked  as the  Director of Middle East Gender Hub which delivered programming on gender based violence, women’s access to Justice and women’s political participation in Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Yemen and Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.