Isabelle Guitard
Director of Programmes

Isabelle has responsibility for heading the programme work of Child Soldiers International, and leading our activities towards the realisation of our strategic aims. Isabelle joined us in 2011, having previously worked for UNICEF Iraq as Child Protection Specialist. Prior to this she headed the International Advocacy Programme for Defence for Children International in Palestine, and worked at the Child Rights International Network (CRIN). Isabelle holds an MSc in Violence, Conflict and Development from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

Carol Steel
Director of Operations

Carol has responsibility for strategic management and leading the day to day running of Child Soldiers International. Carol specialised in international tax with KPMG before a stint of voluntary work convinced her to move to the NGO sector, where she joined War Child UK as Finance Director. Carol joined us in 2007, and now has over fifteen years’ experience heading financial systems, operations and legal compliance for international NGOs. Carol is a graduate of Cambridge University, and qualified with the Chartered Institute of Taxation (ATII).

Melanie Doucakis
Office Manager 

Melanie joined us at the end of 2016 as our part-time Office Manager, having stepped across from the anti-trafficking sector. Melanie has a BA in Cultural Studies, an AA in Communication Arts and Media, and a BA Hons in History. She is currently undertaking an MSc in International Development and Social Anthropology at Birkbeck. Melanie has a varied professional background, having worn the hat of humanitarian photographer, investigative photojournalist, researcher, and media analyst. Previously based in South Africa from 2009, Melanie contributed to the mobilisation of its fledging anti-trafficking sector.

Chris Matthews
Media Manager 

Chris joined us in 2017 and focuses on our communications and media coverage. He previously worked as a freelance journalist in Africa reporting from Uganda, Ghana and Rwanda, among other countries. His work has featured in the likes of The Economist, The Guardian, BBC and Quartz, often with a focus on human rights and development issues. An NCTJ-trained journalist, he holds a BA in English Literature and Language from Newcastle University. 

Lianne Minasian
Programme Manager: Projects, Fundraising and M&E

Lianne joined us in 2013 and has responsibility for project management, fundraising and monitoring and evaluation. Prior to this she worked for the Oak Foundation, supporting their International Human Rights Program. Before moving to London, she ran the China, Taiwan and Thailand programmes for an international adoption agency. She graduated from the University of California, Davis with degrees in International Relations and French, and has an MA in Human Rights from the School of Advanced Study, University of London.

Sandra Olsson
Programme Manager: Child Protection

Sandra joined us in 2015 to conduct research and advocacy on Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo. She now leads these programmes and helps manage the organisation's research, policy and advocacy work on Child Protection. Sandra previously worked in child protection for UNICEF in Senegal, supporting countries affected by the Nigeria crisis. She holds a BA in History of Ideas and an MA in Global Studies, both from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. During her MA Sandra also interned for the Pan African Organisation for Research and Protection of Violence on Women and Children in Ghana.

Hiba Qaraman
Senior Advocacy Consultant

Hiba joined us in 2017 to coordinate advocacy and outreach efforts at the United Nations in New York in support of the organization’s strategic plan. She was previously the Senior Humanitarian Advocacy Advisor with Save the Children’s United Nations office in NY and worked in research, communications and advocacy in Save the Children’s country office in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Hiba also worked in research and advocacy with Defence for Children International in Palestine and has consulted with the International NGO Council on Violence against Children. She holds an MA in International Affairs from the School of Advanced International Studies at the Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC and is currently based in New York. 

Rachel Taylor
Head of Campaigns

Rachel joined us in 2010 to lead our work on international implementation of the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, with a particular focus on the minimum recruitment age. Since 2003 she has worked extensively with UN human rights bodies, national governments, judicial bodies and law enforcement agencies to promote the implementation of human rights law. Rachel previously worked for Amnesty International in the Europe and Central Asia Programme, and at the Quaker United Nations Office in Geneva. She has also worked pro bono for the British Refugee Council and UNHCR in Costa Rica, and holds an MA in Human Rights and Democratisation.

Rochelle Thompson
Project Manager

Rochelle joined us in 2018 on secondment from the Civil Service Fast Stream. She is on a leadership programme which specialises in project delivery. Rochelle is working to enhance the capability of the Child Soldiers World Index and supporting the next phase of its development. Prior to joining the team, she worked for the Ministry of Justice on the Prison Estate Transformation Programme. Rochelle obtained a BA in International Relations at King’s College London and holds the APM Project Management Qualification.

Charlotte Cooper

Charlotte joined us in 2018 through the Peaceworker scheme, run by Quakers in Britain. She works on the UK campaign to end the military recruitment of under-18s. Charlotte has experience working in organisations supporting and advocating for the LGBT community and marginalised young women in the UK and with activist groups campaigning for economic and gender justice. Charlotte has a MA in Gender and Sexuality Studies from SOAS, University of London.

Imke Steimann
World Index Volunteer

Imke joined us in September 2018 as a volunteer to support the implementation of Phase II of the Child Soldiers World Index. She is currently enrolled in a MA programme on Human Rights at the University of Vienna where she is preparing her dissertation on the reintegration of children formerly associated with armed groups. She holds a BA in Liberal Arts and Sciences from the University of Freiburg in Germany and has also volunteered with Amnesty International among other organisations.

Laura Foster
Marketing and Fundraising Volunteer

Laura joined us in September 2018 as a volunteer. She supports our awareness raising work and international fundraising efforts. She has previously worked at Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation in Vietnam as a mentor and volunteered with a Vietnamese orphanage. She will study Politics and International Relations in 2019 at the University of Bath.