Meet the team

Koen Sevenants

Technical lead for MHPSS

Koen Sevenants, Belgian, is the technical lead for Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) in the global UNICEF-led Child Protection Area of Responsibility. Koen Sevenants has a PhD. Degree in child and adolescent psychology.

In his 26 years of experience, he worked in China, DPRK, Cambodia, Russia, Ukraine, Greece, Ghana, Niger, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Iraq, Jordan, Ecuador, Belgian, Spain and the US. His main fields of expertise are MHPSS, Child Protection, Children associated with Armed Forces and Armed Groups (CAAFAG/child soldiers), children whose parents are in prison or are executed and Inter-Agency Coordination. He was deployed by both INGOs (Handicap International, Islamic relief, Action Against Hunger, etc.) and by UN-agencies (IOM, UNICEF).

Koen has received various national and international awards, including the China Charity Award, the Belgian Christoffel Plantin award and the Global Leadership Award (Rotary). Koen is multilingual, father of two daughters and a passionate cook.

Sarah Harrison

Technical Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Advisor

Sarah Harrison, is a Technical Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Advisor at the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) – the world’s largest humanitarian organisation. She is also the Co-Chair of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings (IASC MHPSS) – a position she has held on behalf of the IFRC since February 2016.

Sarah is responsible for providing country level support to MHPSS working groups in over 40 humanitarian settings, conducting humanitarian diplomacy with Governments, Donors and within the humanitarian cluster and refugee coordination systems. Sarah also provides technical support to the Dutch standby partner RVO and its roster of MHPSS experts (who are currently deployed to 7 humanitarian contexts). Sarah sits on the Steering Committee for a number of inter-agency initiatives such as the creation of a Minimum Service Package for MHPSS in humanitarian settings, a Joint Operational Framework between global health and protection clusters and a project to provide better victim support and assistance for children affected by explosive remnants of war. She also sits on the Advisory Board of two international research projects related to MHPSS in emergency settings.

Sarah has worked for multiple humanitarian organisations, including the IFRC, UN Agencies, Action Aid International, International Medical Corps and the ACT Alliance network in various emergency, refugee and migration contexts since 2007. She is a Psychologist and based in Copenhagen, Denmark at the IFRC Reference Centre for Psychosocial Support.

Suzan J. Song

Humanitarian MHPSS consultant

Suzan J. Song, MD, MPH, PhD is a child/adolescent & adult psychiatrist and humanitarian mental health and psychosocial (MHPSS) consultant. Currently, she is the Director of the Division of Child/Adolescent & Family Psychiatry and Associate Professor at George Washington University. Her work as a humanitarian MHPSS consultant with agencies such as the MHPSS Collaborative for Children and Families in Adversity, UNHCR, the International Medical Corps, and the International Rescue Committee is informed by her clinical care of forcibly displaced youth, adults, and families (survivors of torture, refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied minors, survivors of trafficking, and returned hostages) for over 10 years as medical director of two community clinics.

She is adviser to the U.S. State Department on human trafficking and refugee mental health, and has provided numerous testimonies to Congress on the mental health of unaccompanied minors and survivors of child trafficking. Dr. Song completed training from the University of Chicago, Harvard, Stanford, and the University of Amsterdam. Her two decades of global mental work span Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ethiopia, KwaZulu/Natal, Haiti, Burundi, Syria/Jordan, the D.R. Congo, and in the U.S. as technical adviser to multiple refugee and survivor of torture programs.

Anne-Sophie Dybdal

Senior Child Protection Advisor

Cand. Psych. from the University of Copenhagen in 1990. During her career, Anne-Sophie Dybdal has worked as a psychologist in Danish counties, municipalities, and in private practice in the field of clinical child psychology. From 2000 -2002, she worked for UNICEF in Cambodia and since then her international humanitarian work includes: the earthquake response in Iran in 2003, the tsunami response in Asia in 2004 as well as in several war and conflict zones.

In 2007, she began her work as a psychologist with Save the Children Denmark on efforts in Haiti, Somaliland, Sierra Leone, the West Bank, Lebanon, Jordan and South Sudan. This work has focused on ensuring the protection of children and working to secure the best possible conditions for them to growing and thrive. This work includes development and implementation of play-based activities for children and parents as well as training of staff on children’s development and their specific needs. Anne-Sophie is the co-author of 14 textbooks, as well as numerous online materials that focus on psychological support and support to children’s development in war and natural disasters.

Marie Diop

Child Protection Specialist

Ndeye Marie DIOP is the Child Protection Specialist (Emergencies) at UNICEF Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO). Her portofolio notably includes CAAC, preparedness, GBViE and PSEA, Children on the Move, MHPSS and human rights reporting mechanisms. She has been working for UNICEF in Eastern DRC for 3,5 years and in Dadaad for 1,5 years. Marie also worked at WCARO as a Consultant on child migration and as a FMG/C focal point at Senegal CO. Marie is Franco-Senegalese and has a legal and policy background.

Michael Copland

Global coordinator with the Child Protection Area

Michael Copland has been working in child protection for more than 20 years, having started his career as a Social Worker in the United Kingdom and Australia.

He has worked extensively in emergency settings across the globe including Timor Leste, Sri Lanka, Uganda and Lebanon for UN and INGO’s. This has included technical roles in children and armed conflict, He holds degrees in Social Work and International Law from the University of Melbourne, Australia. For the last three years Michael has held the position of global coordinator with the child protection area of responsibility, based at UNICEF.

Masumi Yamashina

Child Protection (GBV) Specialist

Masumi Yamashina is a Child Protection (GBV) Specialist in UNICEF EMOPS Geneva and have worked with UNICEF-led clusters and AoR and UNICEF country offices to integrate GBV risk mitigation since 2017. She has nearly 15 years of experiences mostly in the field with UNICEF country offices, IFRC, Japanese Red Cross and NGO.

Before the current post, she worked in UNICEF County Office as GBV specialist where she created a GBViE programme and the GBViE team. The GBV programme is one of the biggest GBViE programme in UNICEF globally and considered as a best practice. Before that she worked in UNICEF Zimbabwe country office and was responsible for both Child Protection in Emergencies and GBViE portfolios. Before that, she worked in China, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan with IFRC, Japanese Red Cross and a NGO mainly in DDR, livelihoods and disaster management with strong protection focus.

Rachel Maina

Consultant Clinical Psychologist & MHPSS expert

Rachel Maina is a consultant clinical psychologist and a Mental Health and Psychosocial expert. Her research, trainings and clinical work are characterised by mental health interventions within humanitarian settings, emergency departments, as well as developing countries.

She is competent in conducting psychological assessments; organising and facilitating resilience and awareness activities; trauma trainings and management; Psychological First Aid (PFA); Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR); Suicide Prevention; as well as, research and statistical work. She is currently supporting the Kenyan government efforts in combating COVID-19 through mental and psychosocial support. Her current efforts in this are in offering PFA sessions and trainings to frontline workers..