W4GF Global Coordinator
Sophie’s work spans two decades of pioneering grassroots work and top-level policy development focusing on women and young people in developing and developed countries. Living with HIV for 25 years, she is a vocal advocate for policies and programmes that work for all women, and that integrate Sexual and Reproductive Rights and Health with HIV. In 2001 Sophie founded Choose Life, a grassroots youth led organization and developed a comprehensive sexuality education and HIV training program, implemented in 30 schools in Zimbabwe over five years reaching over 7000 youth. From 2006 to 2011 Sophie worked at the global level for the World YWCA and developed/implemented their Global SRHR and HIV Strategy. In 2012, Sophie supported AIDS Strategy Advocacy and Policy (ASAP) to analyse the gender aspects and impacts of the Global Fund’s programmes through Rounds eight and nine and played a substantial role in supporting Women4GlobalFund in its inception phase, and played a key role in the capacity-building workshops in 2013 and 2014. Sophie re-joined the W4GF Secretariat as the Programme Coordinator in 2015 and then assumed the role of Global Coordinator in August 2016. Since 2012 Sophie’s other work focused on the rights of women living with HIV playing a key role in developing the WHO guidelines on the SRHR of women living with HIV and a Checklist (endorsed by UNAIDS and now owned by WHO) to support its full implementation in-countries. Key engagements include: being a member of the Conference Coordinating Committee for the 2008 and 2010 International AIDS Conferences, the European Regional Representative on the Board of ICW from 2007 – 2009, A Technical Advisory Group Member of the 2010 – 2012 Commission on HIV and the Law, and an International Steering Committee Member of the Robert Carr Network Fund from 2012 to 2016. In May 2019 was elected as Chair of the WHO Advisory Group of women living with HIV. Sophie lives in Zimbabwe with her 7 year-old son.
Nyasha Phanisa Sithole
W4GF Support Officer
Nyasha Phanisa Sithole is a dynamic advocate on sexual and reproductive health and rights, HIV and gender equality. Nyasha has a special interest in the health of girls and women and community development with key strengths in building capacity, mobilization and advocacy and training and facilitating different processes around the development of girls and women. Nyasha is the co-founder and trustee of a youth led organisation focusing on youth developmental issues called My Age Zimbabwe Trust operating in Masvingo and Mashonaland East Provinces in Zimbabwe – A key part of Nyasha’s role there is to manage the gender programmes. Nyasha holds a Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Sociology and Gender Development studies to further enhance her passion. Nyasha is currently working with the Athena global network as a National Trainer for Ready To Lead project to provide mentorship and improve the leadership and advocacy skills of young women. Nyasha is part of a recognised group of young people in Zimbabwe who have tirelessly worked to have secure the Zimbabwe Youth Empowerment Strategy which focuses on youth development and this demographic dividend in Zimbabwe. She has recently become part of the Next Generation Zimbabwe Youth Task Force convened by the British Council in Zimbabwe. Nyasha wears many hats including: a member of the Young Peoples Network on Sexual and Reproductive Health HIV and AIDS an affiliate to AFRIYAN; Chair of the Comprehensive Sexuality Education Thematic group in the AfriYAN regional network in Eastern and Southern Africa; Global Ambassador and country team leader for the Milky Way Youth Movement; National representative of the Ignite Youth Africa Movement, Global advocate – ACT2015! Have you Seen My Rights, Millennium Campus Conference on International Development- Campus Ambassador 2015; and a Global Youth Power Leader 2017-2018. Nyasha has served also as the Interim Deputy Executive Chairperson of the African Youth Commission and Secretariat of the African Youth Network on Population and Development in Eastern and Southern Africa. Nyasha joined W4GF in July 2019.
W4GF Strategic Advisor
Robin Gorna has been involved in AIDS since 1986. She wrote one of the first ever books on women and AIDS in the early 1990s: Vamps, Virgins and Victims: How can women Fight AIDS? Robin’s work began with the UK’s Terrence Higgins Trust, and subsequently she became the Executive Director of the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO) and set up programmes in the Asia- Pacific region, and was co-chair of the 2001 International Conference on AIDS in the Asia and Pacific (ICAAP). She also co-chaired the International AIDS Conference in 1998 (Bridging The Gap, held in Geneva) and went on to serve as the Executive Director of the International AIDS Society (IAS) from 2009 – 2010. Before IAS Robin worked in government, establishing the Global AIDS Policy Team at the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) playing a key role growing the UK’s action on AIDS. Her team prepared the first ever UK Strategy on AIDS in Developing Countries, with a £1.5 billion spending target. She was a member of the UK-Australia Delegation to the Board of the Global Fund, and supported DFID and the Prime Minister’s office on substantial global advocacy through the G8 & UN resulting in the Universal Access agreement and the Three Ones. In late 2006 she moved to Pretoria to lead DFID’s Southern Africa HIV and Health programmes, covering SADC including working in Angola, Lesotho and South Africa. In 2010, Robin established a community-based consultancy – AIDS Strategy, Advocacy and Policy (ASAP Ltd), and oversaw all projects, many related to the Global Fund and gender equality. It was through this work that she was instrumental in the creation and support of W4GF in 2013, including securing core funds from ViiV Healthcare to establish the W4GF Secretariat in 2015, when she moved to Geneva to serve as the Executive Director of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH). In 2017 she was asked to co-Lead the SheDecides movement, working with brilliant politicians, young leaders and advocates and evolving this idea to a pledging conference. SheDecides is now a global movement with 140,000 Friends in 174 countries, and over 40 Champions (Ministers, young leaders, NGO Leaders etc) uniting for a world where every girl and every woman decides about her body, without question. Robin handed over to Naisola Likimani in April 2019, and is now working on her second book, a feminist take on 30+ years of AIDS.