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The Leprosy Mission's Advocacy Working Group

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Hans Jørgen Knudsen - Working Group Convenor

Following his studies in medicine, Hans Jørgen has served as a Director of Communication, Fundraising and Public Affairs for several NGOs since 1997. At Mission East he raised funds and participated in project relations with the EU, engaged the public and advocated for human rights to access food, WASH and health services. In 2004 he worked as a political adviser and Party Secretary for the Christian Democratic Party in Denmark.

Since then, he has worked with Action Aid and Lifeline, a Danish suicide prevention NGO. Whilst with Lifeline, Hans Jørgen secured funding from the Finance Act for people with suicidal thoughts to access anonymous advice during night hours. In addition, we also secured political support to limit packs of over-the-counter pain relievers, which is a preferred suicide method for young women. Between 2013 and 2023, Hans Jørgen has been a self-employed consultant for NGOs, educational institutions, and a health research program at Copenhagen University College.

Today, Hans Jørgen is the Country Leader of TLM Denmark and teaches political communication at Zealands University College outside Copenhagen. His aim for TLM Denmark is to transition from a small volunteer-led organisation to a professional self-managing project organisation able to direct significant public funds to implementing partners.

Subhojit Goswami

Subhojit is the Senior Program Manager for Advocacy and Communications at TLM Trust India.

Subhojit has been working with The Leprosy Mission since early 2021, focusing primarily on documenting and disseminating medical and social challenges of persons affected by leprosy, besides bringing out stories of positive change. As a member of the Advocacy domain, Subhojit is equally invested in looking at accessibility of government schemes and the inclusivity of policies, so that the gaps can be brought to the fore and change enacted. He has recently come up with two studies on the impact of COVID-19 on persons affected by leprosy and also the impact of climate change on the risk factors for leprosy.

Before joining TLM, Subhojit worked in the domain of research communications at the UChicago Center in Dehi, and also as a development journalist for Down To Earth fortnightly magazine at the Centre for Science and Environment.

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Dr Tabeth Masengu PhD

Tabeth is the Advocacy Coordinator for the EU-CORD Network, of which The Leprosy Mission is a part.

A qualified attorney and human rights expert, Tabeth has a career that spans consultancy work, academia and NGO work in Africa and Europe. She has advocacy experience in judicial governance, women in the judiciary and the legal profession, election reform, HIV/AIDS, quality medical care and education. Tabeth is passionate about equality, non-discrimination, social justice, locally led leadership and intersectional and feminist approaches to dismantling societal imbalances and geopolitical hierarchies.

Tabeth has previously provided research for the Council of Europe, The European University Institute in Florence, the Southern African Chief Justice Forum, and the International Association of Women Judges. She has also conducted advocacy training for members of the academia, judicial officers and NGOs. Tabeth now coordinates the EU-CORD network's advocacy efforts, primarily targeted at the European Parliament and Commission.

Pradeep Bagival

Pradeep is the Regional Inclusive Governance Specialist with Humanity & Inclusion in the South East Asia Region.

Pradeep was formerly the Asst. Commissioner for Disabilities with the Government of India and has worked as Disability Inclusion Advisor to the UN (UNDP, UNICEF and WHO) and with International NGOs.

He has been a Disability Advisor to Government of India, Afghanistan, Cambodia, North Korea and Lao PDR. After serving UNDP in Lao PDR as the Chief Technical Advisor to the Ministry of Home Affairs on Governance for Inclusive Development, Pradeep is currently based in Laos and is working as the Regional Inclusive Governance Specialist (Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines and China) with Humanity & Inclusion.

His main area of specialisation is in advising and capacity-building of national governments, UN, and CSOs - including organisations of persons with disabilities - in mainstreaming disability within development policies and programmes and in making governance at the national and sub-national (districts & village administration) inclusive for persons with disabilities. He has over 25 years of experience advocating for the human rights of persons with disabilities globally and in influencing policy & legislative changes in the area of disability inclusive development in low and middle income countries. Pradeep was also formerly the Head of Advocacy with TLM International.

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Lucrecia Vasquez Acevedo

Lucrecia is one of the advocacy working group's experts by experience and is the leader of an organisation of persons affected by leprosy and tuberculosis in Colombia called Felehansen.

She was diagnosed with leprosy in 2012 after her son was also diagnosed. She went through the challenging experience of learning to live with the diagnosis by teaching herself about the disease. Now she is a leader in inclusive work within Colombia and works with organisations to tackle the stigma of leprosy in both her own country and across the world. Since her diagnosis, Lucrecia has become an expert leader in the search for skin and respiratory symptoms and is trained in supporting persons with vulnerable diagnoses. She is a proud defender of human rights.

Papa Mamadou Diagne

Papa Mamadou is one of the advocacy working group's experts by experience. He is the President of the Senegalese Association for the Fight Against Leprosy and Neglected Tropical Diseases (ASCL/MTN).

Since his diagnosis of leprosy in his youth, Papa Mamadou has dedicated his life to advocating for early leprosy detection, upholding the rights of persons affected by leprosy and ensuring their inclusion within society. He is a member of the monitoring committee for operational research on post-exposure prophylaxis and the national committee for coordinating leprosy and NTD activities in Senegal. He is the Vice-President of the Senegalese National Association of Civil Society Organisations, who advocate for access to health for vulnerable groups. Beyond this he is a member of the African alliance of organizations fighting NTDs, a member of the ILEP Panel for people affected by leprosy and a member of the steering committee of the Senegalese Federation of Associations of Disabled People in Senegal (FSAPH).

With training in communication, social marketing, advocacy, and inclusive local development, he works in partnership with ILEP member organisations in Senegal, playing a vital intermediary role between people affected by leprosy and NTDs, national health and social authorities, civil society organisations in Senegal and local communities to ensure that those affected receive appropriate care.

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Mathias in the General Assembly hall of the United Nations in New York

Mathias Duck

Mathias Duck is the Global Advocacy Lead for The Leprosy Mission.

Mathias is a person affected by leprosy and is personally and professionally committed to involving persons affected in the fight against leprosy and its stigma. He is from Paraguay and his wife, Cynthia, is a nurse. They have been married for 20 years and have three children: Gabo, Nico and Alana.

Mathias was Pastor/Chaplain at a reference hospital for leprosy in Paraguay from 2010 until 2015. In October 2010, he was diagnosed with leprosy and completed MDT. In recent years he has focused on improving leprosy services by raising the voice and the participation of people affected in decision making and in the delivery of these services. In 2016 he was appointed Chair of ILEP’s Advisory Panel of persons affected by leprosy, a position he held until 2023.

At The Leprosy Mission, Mathias is responsible for TLM's global advocacy work, which includes our efforts to lift the voices of people who have experienced leprosy to the highest corridors of power, including the United Nations and national governments across the world.

Beletshachew Tadesse

Beletshachew Tadesse has been the Country Leader for The Leprosy Mission Ethiopia since 2019. As an integral part of her role, she actively participates in consultations and networks with policy makers in Ethiopia to advocate for the rights of persons affected by leprosy. She works closely towards the three zeros with governmental organisations such as the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Women and Social Affairs, Ministry of Finance and other like-minded partners.

Before joining The Leprosy Mission, she served as a Rehabilitation Manager for Fistula Foundation where she was instrumental in amplifying the voice of women who survived child birth injuries at the national level. Bel is also serving as a Board Member of local organisations that are directing new approaches and solutions for societal challenges in Ethiopia.

She is a sociologist and educator by profession, also a mother but most of all a loud voice for those marginalised, forgotten and neglected by structured and non-structured social systems. She is motivated every day by the knowledge of how many more persons affected by leprosy and those with disability are able to participate in the social, economic and political agendas of their country.

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Daisy Mansfield

Daisy has been working with The Leprosy Mission Great Britain for just over two years, where she has had multiple roles in the fundraising and programmes teams. She is currently serving as a Programmes Officer and is TLMGB’s Lead on Advocacy. Daisy is committed to adopting an approach characterised by inclusion and collaboration. She has played a pivotal role in organising several events in UK Parliament for key decision makers and people of influence, designed to enhance awareness and understanding of leprosy and its impact. Daisy also leads on TLMGB’s contributions to UK Government policy papers and inquiries, raising the profile of leprosy on a national scale. Building on her academic background in International Development, she seeks to influence change and amplify awareness of leprosy, particularly through the stories and opinions of those affected by leprosy. Daisy is keen to ensure participation of people affected by leprosy at every level.

Tim Burton

Tim is the Global Communications Lead at The Leprosy Mission International.

As well as overseeing communications work and strategy at TLM International, Tim's role includes supporting TLM's international-level advocacy work. This includes supporting TLM countries to submit UN reports, contributing to policy briefs, and coordinating TLM's presence at the UN's CRPD Conference. Beyond this, Tim communicates the impact of TLM's advocacy with audiences across the leprosy and NTD sectors.

Since he joined TLM in 2019, Tim has supported several persons affected by leprosy to speak at UN events, he has secured commitments from the Government of Papua New Guinea towards ensuring improved access to rights for persons affected by leprosy, and has worked with governments on the repealing of laws that discriminate on the grounds of leprosy.

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