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SPOTLIGHT SERIES

The Global Network on Mental Health and Child Marriage would like to present the Spotlight Series.
We hope this series of interviews will bring more attention to the amazing work, challenges and contributions which exist in the field of mental health and child marriage.

 

JOANNA MORRISON

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SUZANNE PETRONI

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MARINA PLESONS

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PROFESSOR NORA GROCE

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CHANTALLE OKONDO

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LOVENESS MUDZURU

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"I have seen fear dripping down in a person when asked to speak. [Survivors] need an environment which encourages them to speak their opinions without feeling inferior.”

Loveness is the Founder and Director of Passionate Circles Trust. Advocate for the women and girls rights. Game Changer - changing of laws and alignment of laws that discriminate against girls and women. Champion in Ending Child Marriage. 
Voice for the Inferior.

"Mental health doesn’t happen in a vacuum and highlighting the importance of looking at the wider impacts of child marriage is key."

Chantalle Okondo, MSPH, is a researcher with over seven years experience in gender, women's rights, public health, maternal and child health. She is passionate about elevating young women's voices, their creativity, resourcefulness and resilience.

"Only a small percentage of what we now know is reaching mainstream media/ general public"

Professor Nora Ellen Groce, an anthropologist, is Director of the UCL International Disability Research Centre at UCL.  Known for her work in applied global health and international development focusing on social justice, she has concentrated on vulnerable populations and particularly on people with disabilities. Previously on the faculties of Harvard  (1984-1990) and Yale (1990-2008) before coming to UCL in 2008, Prof Groce is widely published and also serves on a number of national, international and UN committees and advisory boards.

"I am interested in the issue because it reminds us that while we work to prevent child marriage, we also need to do more to support the health and social needs of the 12 million girls who are still married each year."

Marina Plesons is a technical officer at the World Health Organization. She works on adolescent sexual and reproductive within the Department of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Research and the UNDP-UNFPA-UNICEF-WHO-World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction. She received a Masters in Public Health, focused on Global Health, from the University of Washington.

"Understanding how child marriage affects a range of outcomes over the life course, including mental health, may help us to meet the needs of girls and women who were married as children, as well as to advocate for an end to this harmful practice."

Dr. Suzanne Petroni founded the consultancy, Gender Equality Solutions, LLC, in September 2017 to support donors, governments, UN agencies and civil society to design and implement high-quality and gender-equitable global health and development programs. Suzanne brings nearly 30 years of experience in foreign policy and global development, having worked in the governmental, philanthropic, nonprofit and research sectors.

"The mental health effects of child marriage are not often researched or discussed, and there has been a focus on the health effects of early pregnancy and the effect of child marriage on girls’ education. My research in Nepal has shown that boys and girls suffer mental stress associated with marriage, their increased responsibilities, and family upheaval."

Dr Joanna Morrison specialises in qualitative and participatory methodologies with marginalised groups to develop an understanding of contexts, and understand the barriers to, and facilitators of healthy behaviours in low- and middle-income countries. Her research enables the participation and engagement of a wide variety of stakeholders in the development of health interventions that directly address problems as they are experienced, in the systems that they are experienced. She has applied these research methods to non-communicable diseases, child marriage, maternal, newborn & child health, nutrition, and health systems.