ECDAN has a lean secretariat to help partners achieve their joint vision for young children.

Elizabeth Lule

Executive Director

She 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 as a senior consultant with the World Bank Group supporting the Global Financing Facility for Every Woman and Every Child and increasing financing for multisectoral pandemic preparedness at both global and national levels. At the World Bank, she also held several senior management and technical positions including Interim Director and Manager of Africa Regional Integration, Sector Manager of the HIV-AIDS program and Global Advisor for Population and Reproductive, Maternal and Child Health. She’s worked previously at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as their Director of Family Planning, at Pathfinder International as their Regional Vice President for Sub-Saharan Africa, and with USAID in Nigeria. Elizabeth has been instrumental in establishing and supporting global partnerships, networks and coalitions to improve reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health and HIV programs, and was the founding chair of the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition. She serves on several Boards of Directors, and has been a member of global think tanks, UN Inter-Agency Task Teams and global advisory groups. Elizabeth is a passionate advocate for the rights and well-being of women and children. She has a joint advanced degree in Medical Demography from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the London School of Economics.

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.

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. By taking a data-driven, process-management approach to policy change, he has pioneered inventive strategies to assess, measure, and evaluate campaigns and advocacy organizations. Prior to ECDAN, 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 international grantees and partners to advance public health policy campaigns, develop systematic tools and processes to strengthen campaign strategies and evaluate impact, provide technical assistance, conduct strategic planning initiatives, and design and execute comprehensive advocacy trainings. As Director of Advocacy for Feeding America, he was responsible for designing, implementing, and overseeing Feeding America’s overall advocacy strategy including advocate recruitment and development, grassroots mobilizations, capacity building, training, content development, strategic planning, and creating innovative ways to measure results and impact. He guided Feeding America through major legislation including two Farm Bills and Child Nutrition Reauthorization.

Wairimu Macharia

Content and Community Manager

Wairimu is a seasoned digital professional whose expertise lies at the intersection of communications, technology, and design. She has worked in international development, advertising, and research and has managed the digital presence for various organisations including Afrobarometer, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Equal Measures 2030 and OgilvyOne Worldwide. She has great interest in issues pertaining to internet freedom and internet governance and has been instrumental in communicating citizen’s perceptions in Africa on several issues ranging from governance, democracy, human rights, gender equality among others. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Maseno University and a certificate in Media Campaigns for Social Change from Radio Nederland Training Centre – Hilversum, Netherlands.

Debjeet Sen

Senior Advocacy and Policy Lead

Debjeet is recognized as a rising global thought leader on nurturing care for early childhood development (ECD). He has worked in the fields of maternal and child health, nutrition, and ECD for over 11 years—of which he has spent more than 9 years living and working in sub-Saharan Africa. His skillsets are varied and include project design and management, new business development, partnership management, capacity-building, communications, research study management, and design of social and behavior change communication strategies and information, education, and communication materials. Since 2012, he has played a critical role in helping PATH test, redesign, articulate, and disseminate a compelling model of how routine health services can expand their mandate to promote child development through provision of developmental monitoring and counseling. He possesses graduate degrees in international development, international relations, and molecular biology from Syracuse and Cornell universities in the United States. His travels have taken him to 160 countries and all 7 continents.

Jacqueline Deelstra

Communications and Knowledge Management Lead

Jacqui Deelstra joined ECDAN in October, 2021 and joined PATH in 2017. In her most recent role as an En- gagement Officer with PATH’s Center of Digital and Data Excellence she led communications for the Living Labs Initiative and managed global communications products for the Tanzania Data Use Partnership. Prior to joining PATH, Jacqui was a Technology for Development Associate in the Creative Development Lab at Creative Associates International. The Creative Development Lab’s focus areas included technology for education, civic participation and youth engagement. Previously she also served as an ICT for Development Consultant with Plan International in Benin and a Communications Assistant with the NGO Tostan in Senegal. She also spent a year as a volunteer in Loja, Ecuador with WorldTeach. Jacqui holds a master’s degree in International Affairs from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy at Tufts University and a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and International Relations from the University of Southern California. Jacqui lives in Seattle, WA.

Nina Garcia Wright

Program Assistant

Nina Garcia Wright joined ECDAN and PATH in April, 2021. She is currently a Program Assistant at PATH supporting ECDAN and the Center of Digital Excellence. Nina obtained her B.S. Global Health from George- town University in May 2021 with a minor in English. Nina has had the opportunity to work across several organizations in the Global Health field including the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood and the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), as well as at Primeros Pasos in Guatemala. Her skillset includes supporting programs and communications for health organizations, and her passion is bringing health eq- uity to local communities worldwide. Nina was born in Mexico City and moved to California after 8 years, but now resides in Seattle, Washington.

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