The Secretariat is made up of dedicated professionals who carry out the strategic vision, make programmatic decisions, and manage the funds raised.

Each member of our team brings a unique background and expertise but are united in their commitment seeing all children reach their full potential. 

Amanda Germanio

Global Coordinator of the Global Initiative to Support Parents

Amanda is an experienced international development professional who works as the Global Coordinator of the Global Initiative to Support Parents (GISP), an interagency platform dedicated to parent and caregiver support. The initiative is spearheaded by ECDAN, UNICEF, WHO, Parenting for Lifelong Health, and IRC on behalf of partners working to support parents across the world and across sectors. Since 2022, she has acted as coordinator on behalf of the five partners across GISP’s four pillars of innovation, scale, evidence, and advocacy. Amanda has previously worked with UNICEF, WHO, the University of Edinburgh, and the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children on a variety of topics related to child protection and supporting children’s development and wellbeing. She has an MA in International Development from the Geneva Graduate Institute and a BA in History and French & Francophone Studies from the University of Florida. She is dedicated to creating a world that is safer, more equitable, and more just for all children.

Brett Weisel

Global Policy and Advocacy Lead

Brett is an experienced government relations professional, trainer, and advocate who has successfully developed and executed innovative US and global issue campaigns and advocacy programs. During his career, Brett has built advocacy programs for several nonprofit organizations, led the planning and implementation of campaigns across a range of policy issues, and pioneered inventive strategies to assess, measure, and evaluate campaigns and advocacy organizations. Brett served as Director of Advocacy for Feeding America where he was responsible for designing, implementing, and overseeing Feeding America’s advocacy strategy including advocate recruitment and development, grassroots mobilization, capacity building training, content development, strategic planning, and impact measurement. He guided Feeding America through major legislation including two Farm Bills and Child Nutrition Reauthorization. Prior to ECDAN in 2021, he worked at the Global Health Advocacy Incubator, a Program of the Tobacco Free Kids, as the Associate Director of Capacity Building and Training. His role was to strengthen the advocacy capacity of global grantees and partners to advance public health policy campaigns, develop systematic tools and processes to evaluate campaign impact, and plan strategic advocacy initiatives. Brett has a Masters in Applied Politics from American University and a Bachelors in Political Science from Villanova University.

As the Global Policy and Advocacy Lead, Brett develops, oversees, and coordinates ECDAN’s overall policy and advocacy strategy. He works with a range of partners elevate ECD policy priorities on the global agenda, develops and disseminate tools and resources support grass-roots advocates, and respond to emerging issues.

Caroline Mochoge

Communications Associate

Carol is a communications professional with over eight years of experience in developing and implementing communications strategies for non-profit organizations. Prior to joining ECDAN in 2022, she worked with organizations like Youth Agenda, Save the Children, Oxfam, Global Communities, and UN OCHA to build their brands and promote social causes. Carol is passionate about tactics as tools for creating social impact, behavior change, and influencing decision-makers. She published her first academic paper, entitled Portrayal of Different Genders and Their Influence on Consumer Behavior, in December 2017. Her expertise spans development communication, PR, digital media and branding. She is committed to using her expertise for good and helping organizations tell compelling stories that inspire action. Carol mentors the next generation of leaders at the Good Kenyan Foundation, demonstrating her commitment to giving back to her community and empowering the youth of Kenya to reach their full potential. Carol has won regional and photography awards, and her work has been featured in prominent Kenyan publications. She earned a First-Class Honors Degree in Communication Studies from St. Paul’s University.

As ECDAN’s Communications Associate, Carol prepares content and graphics that promote ECDAN’s offerings across channels to reach the widest audience possible. She collects news and resources from partners so that they can be shared and uplifted in different ways. Carol brings creativity, strategic thinking, and a solutions-oriented approach to her work, helping ECDAN share its impact and connect meaningfully with audiences.

Elizabeth Lule

Executive Director

Elizabeth is a widely recognized expert on international development and global health issues and has devoted her career to strengthening global commitments and programs addressing the needs of women, adolescents, children, and infants. Before joining ECDAN, she served in senior leadership, management, and technical positions at the World Bank for 17 years. She also worked at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as Director, at Pathfinder International as their Africa Regional Vice President, and as Technical Advisor with USAID in Nigeria. She started her career in academia and served as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University in Global Health. Elizabeth is very passionate about addressing social inequalities and has been instrumental in establishing and supporting global partnerships, networks, and coalitions to break down silos and improve the wellbeing of women and children and other development issues. She serves on several Boards of Directors, including Save the Children International, the Africa Institute for Development Policy, and Concept Foundation. She has also served as a member of several global think tanks, including several UN Inter-Agency Task Teams. Her work is published in peer-reviewed journals, and she has received several service awards. She has a joint advanced degree in Medical Demography from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the London School of Economics and Political Science. As ECDAN’s Executive Director, Elizabeth coordinates with the Executive Leadership Council to set the network’s strategy, manages the Secretariat as they implement the strategy, and leads partner engagement and fundraising.

Emily Gilkinson

Senior Program Officer

Emily has nearly 15 years of experience leading programs that serve vulnerable communities in the US and abroad. She is deeply driven to increase equity and has specialized in improving the effectiveness and efficiency of child-centered programs by developing resources and offering continuous professional development for implementers. Emily is a teacher by training with experience teaching the early grades in the US and internationally in Africa. Building on her classroom experience, she spent 8 years working for international nongovernmental organizations in Rwanda and Kenya, managing early literacy and community development programs. During that time, she focused on early childhood initiatives at both the national and community level. Emily also brings experience managing domestic social programs that offer education and health services utilizing volunteers. Prior to joining ECDAN in 2023, she worked for a national refugee resettlement agency and led the launch of community sponsorship programs, which involve community members in welcoming and supporting refugee families, at local sites across the agency’s US network. Emily holds a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of the Pacific in California.

As ECDAN’s Senior Program Officer, she coordinates and quality assures the Secretariat’s work to enhance achievement of its strategic objectives.

Hannah Frohm

Senior Program Assistant

Hannah has over six years of professional experience conducting outreach, developing briefs, engaging the media, carrying out research, leading trainings, and managing projects for social change organizations. With an academic background in sustainable development and field experience in both East and West Africa, Hannah strives to use her skills to make a difference on both the local and global level. She studied abroad in Ghana and focused on poverty alleviation as well as detecting and treating neglected tropical diseases among local schoolchildren. She also completed a fieldwork internship in Uganda working for the Foundation for Sustainable Development on a sustainable latrine construction project among rural school communities. Prior to joining ECDAN in 2023, Hannah worked as an intern at the United Nations Association of Rochester, Administrative Assistant for the World Affairs Council of Rochester, Legal Clerk for a disability law firm, and Program Assistant for the National Endowment for Democracy. Hannah has a Bachelors in International Relations from SUNY Geneseo and a Masters in International Relations, focused on international negotiation and conflict prevention, from American University.

As ECDAN’s Senior Program Assistant, she provides a wide range of essential support to all members of the Secretariat to ensure smooth operations and close collaboration with key partners.

Katherine Shek

Senior Communications Officer

Katherine is a former journalist with more than 15 years’ experience leading in communications and advocacy efforts for nonprofit organizations. She has worked with organizations focused on education from PreK to university level, public health, and advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion across society. Prior to ECDAN in 2023, Katherine was the Deputy Director of Communications for the New America Foundation, where she focused on the responsible use of cutting-edge technologies. Before that, Katherine served as Campaign Communications Director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Katherine advocated for public health with a focus on communities experiencing health disparities. Through multi-channel communications campaigns, she helped score policy victories, secured key media coverage, and increased partnerships to advance the organization’s goals. Katherine also led communications programs for the Committee for Economic Development, the American Constitution Society, and the National School Boards Association, where she grew its advocacy network tenfold in one year. Katherine has a Bachelors in Communications and Journalism from George Mason University in Virginia.

As ECDAN’s Senior Communications Officer, Katherine develops and implements ECDAN’s communications strategy, amplifying the impact of the network to external audiences through traditional and digital media, storytelling, and multimedia campaigns.

Lucy Minayo

Executive Director of NurtureFirst

Lucy Minayo is an African educated feminist human rights lawyer who is currently serving as the Executive Director of NurtureFirst  a global funder and capacity builder established in 2022 to build systems that support home based childcare providers. The Initiative is hosted by the Early Childhood Development Action Network (ECDAN) in partnership with the Global Development Incubator. Under her leadership, NurtureFirst has established itself as a thought leader on building systems for home based childcare providers that recognize the service as a public good and a human right. NurtureFirst is working closely with sub-national governments, local partners and families to strengthen the ecosystem that supports children aged 0-3 and is supporting the implementation of learning interventions that are aimed at shifting the system towards recognising providers, ensuring services are affordable and providers are earning a living wage, improving nutrition of children and supporting the agency and representation of providers. Before joining NurtureFirst, Lucy led the implementation of global health, governance, and human rights programs in international NGOs such as Hivos, the Center for Reproductive Rights, Ipas. Lucy also served as an investigator at the African Union Commission of Inquiry in South Sudan. She is skilled in strategy formulation and implementation, coalition building, program management and organizational development. She is based in Nairobi.

Sarah Marjane

Director of Finance and Operations

Sarah is a seasoned public health management professional with over 15 years of experience supporting the operations, implementation, and financial management of a variety of programs and initiatives aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of vulnerable populations around the globe. She is passionate about leveraging partnerships to maximize the impact of global health solutions and is recognized for her innovation and leadership. As a long-time, experienced leader at PATH, Sarah became ECDAN’s Director of Finance and Operations when it became hosted by PATH in early 2021. ECDAN is one of several initiatives that Sarah supports within PATH’s Program’s and Innovations Department. Prior to joining PATH in 2010, Sarah served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mozambique and an Assistant Manager at NCBA/CLUSA. In addition to her responsibilities with PATH, Sarah serves as the part-time Executive Director of Partners for Andean Community Health (PACH), empowering local partners to provide high-quality medical care to Indigenous communities in the Andean region of Ecuador. Sarah holds a Masters Degree in Public Health from Benedictine University and a Bachelor’s of Science in International Studies from The University of Scranton.

As ECDAN’s Director of Finance and Operations, Sarah oversees the financial management of ECDAN, ensures contractual compliance of ECDAN initiatives, and acts as ECDAN’s liaison to PATH’s operational service departments. Inclusive of her other assignments, Sarah oversees financial management of a portfolio of projects valued at $30+ million dollars, implemented in over a dozen countries in the global south.

Shekufeh Zonji

Global Technical Lead

Shekufeh Zonji provides technical leadership to ECDAN and spearheads key knowledge, learning, and strategic partnership initiatives for the network. She brings her extensive experience built over fifteen years in global Early Childhood Development within the sectors of Education, Child Protection, and Health to the role. She has worked on critical challenges to the well-being of young children across Latin America, East Africa, and South Asia. In Bangladesh, she designed innovative ECD models for a range of vulnerable contexts including urban slums, garment factories, tea estates, and fragile flood-prone communities. In Afghanistan, she led the Aga Khan Foundation’s national ECD portfolio contributing significantly to Afghanistan’s national pre-primary policy development. She has worked as a senior consultant on strategy and policy development, research, curriculum design, and intervention design for global think tanks and civil society organizations like BRAC and Save the Children. She also runs a design practice in collaboration with architects to design urban interventions in spaces for children based on the science of child development. She speaks eight languages and completed her education at McMaster University in Canada in Biology and Psychology, specializing in cognitive science and neuroscience.

Solving the challenges facing young children will require deviating from business as usual.

If you are wondering what you can do to make a difference, we have suggested actions you can take.

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