The CAG’s Steering Committee guides the coalition’s activities and objectives. Each member donates their time and expertise in an effort to build a safer, healthier world for adolescent girls.
Jessica DeMulder, Co-Chair
Jessica is the Program Manager to the Population Council’s Poverty, Gender, & Youth Program. This Program develops and tests innovative solutions, scales up successful strategies to improve the well-being of adolescents, particularly adolescent girls, accelerates positive demographic trends, and strengthens the resilience of vulnerable populations to adapt to environmental shocks and stressors. Jessica is a public health professional, passionate expert, and advocate for adolescent girls, with a focus on adolescent mental health. Prior to joining the Council, Jessica was based full-time in sub-Saharan Africa for 6 years, implementing impact evaluations on adolescent mental health and maternal health, working with the Applied Mental Health Research Group at Johns Hopkins University, the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at UCSF, and the World Bank. She also worked with Innovations for Poverty Action as the Africa Regional Programs Manager in New York. Jessica holds an MPH in forced migration and health, and an MA in human rights, both from Columbia University. Jessica is based in the Council’s New York office.
Karen Austrian, Research Lead
Karen Austrian is a Senior Associate with the Population Council’s Poverty, Gender and Youth program. She has been based in Nairobi, Kenya for over 12 years and leads Population Council projects designed to generate and promote evidence that can be used to empower girls in east and southern Africa. She develops, implements, and evaluates programs that build girls’ protective assets, such as financial literacy, social safety nets and access to education. Austrian is the principal investigator of two large, longitudinal, randomized trials evaluating the impact of multi-sectoral programs for adolescent girls – the Adolescent Girls Initiative – Kenya and the Adolescent Girls Empowerment Program in Zambia. Karen has provided technical assistance on girls’ programs and policies to the World Bank, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Girl Hub, the Nike Foundation, and international, national, and community organizations. Before joining the Council in 2007, she co-founded and directed the Binti Pamoja Center, a program to empower adolescent girls in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya. She is committed to using research and evidence as a tool to improve programs and policies for adolescent girls around the world.
Karen has an MPH from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, where she was a Sharp Scholar and specialized in reproductive and adolescent health. She has a PhD in public health and epidemiology from Ben Gurion University in Israel. She speaks English, Hebrew, and Swahili and is based in the Council’s Nairobi office.
Kirsten Foster, Policy Lead
Kirsten Foster is the Women and Girls Officer at the United Nations Foundation and Advocacy Officer for Girl Up. Through her work, she strives to empower young female leaders to become advocates for change – by giving them the tools and skills they need to advocate in their community and to their members of Congress. She has also helped develop the international advocacy program for Girl Up, so all girls can be change-makers in their countries and communities.
In 2017, Kirsten led efforts to pass H.R. 2408, ‘Protecting Girls’ Access to Education in Vulnerable Settings Act’ in the U.S. House of Representatives and is working to ensure it’s signed into law. She believes that educating members of Congress and their staff is key to sound policy-making. Kirsten has a proven track record of unifying diverse, bipartisan groups toward the common goal of advancing girls’ and women’s rights.
Before joining the U.N. Foundation, Kirsten worked at the National Republican Congressional Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Aissata Sall, Networking Lead
Aissata is a multilingual professional who has devoted her career to young people, adolescent girls and women. She is currently the Program Director for Adolescent Girls’ Rights at the Global Fund for Women. She brings extensive experience in program/project management and her areas of technical expertise include adolescent girls programming, gender-based violence (GBV)/violence against women and girls (VAWG); advocacy and movement building. Prior to joining Global Fund for Women, Aissata was the Women and Girls’ Protection and Empowerment Program Coordinator with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Sierra Leone. Prior to that, Aissata worked for Girl Hub as an Associate Manager/Adolescent Girls Specialist, for Population Services International (PSI) and for the Ministry of Youth of the Government of Rwanda. Aissata holds an M.Sc. in Project Management and a BA in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from the University of Quebec in Canada as well as a BA in International Business from Kedge Business School in France. She has lived and worked in multi-cultural settings in Europe, North America, and East and West Africa. As Networking Lead, Aissata will bring on board other feminist social justice funders and girl-centered grassroots groups seeking to deepen their support to and for adolescent girls. Most importantly, Aissata hopes for more girl-led grassroots groups to join the coalition and bring the voice of adolescent girls to the CAG.
Martha Brady, Program Lead
Martha Brady is the Director of Sexual and Reproductive Health at PATH, where she leads a global program aimed at improving sexual and reproductive health by harnessing the power of innovation. Ms. Brady has extensive experience working along the value chain from product development to health system integration of contraceptive, cervical cancer, HIV, and multi-purpose prevention technologies. Her current work focuses on the power of self-care practices for women and girls.
In a career spanning more than two decades, Ms. Brady has worked with NGOs, governments, multilaterals, and donors to design and evaluate programs aimed at improving the health and well-being of women and girls globally. Prior to joining PATH in 2017, Ms. Brady was Senior Associate at the Population Council where her work focused on the intersection of poverty, gender, and youth. Martha led pioneering work on girls and sports, developing the first-of-its kind programs in low income settings. She also co-led a global implementation science research program on adolescent girls. Martha has published and presented widely, and is co-author of Investing When it Counts: Reviewing the Evidence and Charting a Course of Research and Action for Young Adolescents.
Ms. Brady holds a master’s degree in nutrition and public health from Columbia University.