Our Team

Dr. Jonathan Blagbrough
Founder and Director
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Helen Veitch
Founder and Director

Jonathan has 30 years’ experience of working with exploited children, specialising on child domestic work. From 1992 to 2006 he coordinated Anti-Slavery International’s child labour programme, and since then has been an independent consultant on child exploitation issues for a range of organisations. Over the years he has collaborated closely with civil society organisations on child protection issues across Asia, Africa and Latin America and, as an independent consultant since 2008, has undertaken research and provided expertise on project and programme design, monitoring and evaluation and policy. Jonathan has worked with international agencies, grant-makers and local groups, including most recently in Tanzania, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ethiopia, India, Ghana, Nepal and the Philippines. He has recently undertaken doctoral research on intra-generational relations between child domestic workers and the children they serve in Tanzania.  Jonathan is currently working part-time for Family for Every Child and is undertaking consultancy for organisations such as the Freedom Fund as a technical advisor on child domestic work issues.

Education

 

PhD in Human Geography at Dundee University

Masters of International European Comparative Law, Keele University

BA Sociology, University of York

 

Helen has over 25 years of working in the children’s rights field, focusing on the sexual exploitation of children and children’s participation. Helen began her career working with a community of street children in Indonesia in 1994, then spent eight years building children’s rights advocacy group ECPAT UK (Every Child Protected Against Trafficking) from a single issue campaign to a multi-faceted NGO. Between 2004-2006 Helen was based in Bangkok and worked as a Consultant on Children’s Participation at the East Asia Pacific Regional Consultation for the UN Study on Violence Against Children. After studying for a Masters Degree in Sociology of Childhood and Children’s Rights at the UCL Institute of Education, in 2009 Helen founded Children Unite, where she has facilitated and promoted participatory advocacy and research with exploited children.  In 2015 Helen become an Oak Fellow on Children’s Participation in Preventing Sexual Violence, working in a partnership between the Oak Foundation and Bedfordshire University International Centre: researching child sexual exploitation of children, violence and trafficking, where she focused on strengthening participatory activities with children from across the globe who have been affected by sexual violence. For the past five years Helen has increasingly worked with networks of NGOs and philanthropic donors as a technical advisor on children’s participation and safeguarding for youth activism.

Education


Masters in Sociology of Childhood and Children’s Rights, UCL Institute of Education, London

Associates

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Dr. Alphonce Omolo

Alphonce is the director of Lensthru Consultants in Kenya, is a consultant in the field of children and youth safeguarding, practicing at the local and international levels. He has previously worked with children and youth living and working in the streets in Kenya and Tanzania for over two decades at the levels of street and informal educator, programme manager, organisation administrator and organisation director. He has also work and research experience with detached children and youth in London, Guatemala City, Puebla in Mexico and Jonglei in South Sudan.  As a consultant Alphonce works with organisations in conducting needs assessment and baseline studies, project design and review, policy development and policy audit/analysis, capacity assessment and capacity building, developing practice handbooks and training contents amongst others. He is a recipient of the pontifical decoration of BENEMERENTI for exceptional service to the Catholic Church and Civil Society by Pope Saint John Paul II in 2004.  Alphonce is among the Commonwealth specialist pool of consultants for youth projects and a member of the faculty training Ministers and Permanent Secretaries on Strategic Leadership Management: accelerating youth policy implementation in the Commonwealth by 2030. He is an associate of the African Institute for Children Studies (AICS) and the Thematic Coordinator for Education and Youth at the AICS, and is a member of the Youth Workers Association, Kenya. He is an adjunct lecturer at the Loyola Institute for Ministry, Loyola University in New Orleans USA and a visiting lecturer at Tangaza and Hekima University Colleges in Kenya. 

Alphonce is based in Kisumu, Kenya.

Education

Doctor of Philosophy in Comparative Education, Ruhr University, Germany

Masters in Sociology of Childhood and Children’s Rights, UCL Institute of Education, UK

Key Publications
•    Violence against Children in Kenya: An ecological model of risk factors and consequences, responses and projects. (2015) 
•    Book chapter: Conditions for Socialisation and Education of Violated Children in Kenya – “The Good Education and Africa’s Future: Concepts, Issues and Options” edited by Mugo et al. (2019)

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Rabia Gungor

Rabia has over 18 years’ experience of child rights, participation and safeguarding. A key theme in her career has been child rights and protecting high-risk children and young people such as children living on the streets, ex-child soldiers, sex workers, young women and girls and those with disabilities or long term health conditions such as HIV and AIDS.  


Rabia started her career with children and young people in the UK, working with gangs, young offenders and those in care. She developed ground-breaking participatory programmes such as The Prince’s Trust Young Ambassadors programme. She then moved to Sierra Leone to work on livelihoods, children and youth rights and protection for VSO, Restless Development, GOAL and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation Sierra Leone.  


Rabia has particularly significant experience of safeguarding and has developed policies, tools, led training and investigations for a variety of international organisations; Anti-Slavery International, Deaf Child Worldwide, Womankind Worldwide, African Initiatives, ChildHope, Girl Effect, Kings Global Health Partners, Orchid Project,  Leonard Cheshire, Schistosomiasis Control Initiative Foundation.


Rabia has interests in children and young peoples participation, safeguarding and protection using a feminist approach to unpick power, privilege and abuse.  

Rabia is based in Turkey.


Education

MSc in International Childhood Studies,  Birkbeck, University of London, UK

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Dr. Silvie Bovarnick

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With over 20 years of work experience, Silvie has a particular expertise of conducting ethical and participatory research on violence and abuse issues with vulnerable groups both in the UK and internationally. Silvie is currently a Research Fellow at the University of Bedfordshire within the ‘International Centre: Researching child sexual exploitation, violence and trafficking’. In recent years, she has undertaken and advised on a number of projects promoting the participatory involvement of children and young people in decision-making and knowledge generation on sexual violence in the UK, Eastern Europe and South East Asia. She has previously served as a Senior Research Officer at the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) and as a Research Associate at the Department of Health (England) undertaking a national research programme on the health and mental health implications of violence and abuse.  To date, much of Silvie work has focused on strengthening links between research, policy and practice in fields of violence prevention and responses. Silvie has worked for a number of NGOs in Europe and Latin America including Amnesty International. With a background in International Relations, Silvie has expertise in a range of women’s and children’s rights issues. Her ESRC-funded doctoral thesis explored the effectiveness of human rights frameworks in protecting women and girls from gendered forms of violence in Mexico and Pakistan.

Silvie is based in Berlin, Germany

Education

PhD in Politics, University of Bristol, UK
M.A. in International Relations, University of Warwick, UK

Kirsche Walker

Kirsche has over 10 years experience of working with children and young people affected by sexual violence with a focus on campaigning, advocacy and youth voice in strategic decision-making. Kirsche is currently a Research Assistant at the University of Bedfordshire's, Safer Young Lives Centre where she coordinates a group of young people who identify as being affected (indirectly or directly) by sexual exploitation supporting their involvement in advocacy and research projects on child exploitation.

As an expert by experience Kirsche has experience of campaigning on child sexual abuse, and of co-creating and co-facilitating campaigns with peers who have been indirectly or directly affected by sexual violence. Kirsche has significant experience of public speaking and campaigning, winning the runner’s up award for best speaker at the 2017 Sexual Violence Research Initiative conference in Brazil. While studying for her BSc Kirsche created a survivors support network at Nottingham Trent University which supports students that have suffered from sexual or physical violence, including hate crimes. Kirsche is a passionate environmental campaigner on key green political health issues such as; how young people’s health is affected by cities and countries with high emissions and whether Clean Air acts have a place in supporting young people’s general health and wellbeing. She is currently starting a campaign with a group of young people that focuses on these areas.

Some of Kirsches’ key interests include; young people’s agency and autonomy, their participation rights and access to services.

 

Kirsche is based in Nottingham, UK

 

Education

BSc in Politics and International Relations at Nottingham Trent University

Level 3 Spanish language