Our team

Team leader

Jessica Ball
F.L. Jessica Ball, M.P.H., Ph.D.
Early Childhood and Youth Care Specialist
Jessica Ball is a Professor Emerita in the School of Child and Youth Care at the University of Victoria, Canada, and a consultant on a range of research, training, and evaluation projects in the areas of early childhood care and development, early family formation, languages in education, forced migrant youth and the children of transnational labour migrants.

Jessica has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, an M.P.H. in behavioural health, and an M.A. in development psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. She has done research, teaching, professional development, and program evaluation projects in universities in North America and Asia, and for organizations such as the Brookings Institute, the Open Society Foundation, the Aga Khan Foundation, BRAC, Save the Children, World Vision, UNICEF, and UNESCO. Dr. Ball spent 11 years, from 1985 to 1996, in Southeast Asia, working with universities, community service agencies, and government ministries on research, teaching, and programs involving mental health, youth health behaviours, and training teachers at all levels of education from post-graduate to preschool. Now living on the west coast of Canada, she consults on projects for the Canadian government and in ASEAN member countries.

Dr. Ball was the director of an innovative, bicultural, post-secondary education program to strengthen Indigenous capacity to design and deliver culturally-based early childhood care and development programs (www.fnpp.org). Jessica was a founding faculty member of the Early Childhood Development Virtual University (www.ecdvu.org) in which she created and taught graduate courses in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. She was a core international lecturer in an M.Sc. program in early childhood care and development at BRAC University in Bangladesh. She is the author or co-author of over 140 journal articles and book chapters, and 3 books.

Project team members: University-based

Onowa McIvor
Onowa McIvor, Ph.D.
Onowa is an Assistant Professor and Director of Indigenous Education in the Faculty of Education at the University of Victoria. She is Swampy Cree and Scottish-Canadian. She was born and raised in Northern Saskatchewan and has been a grateful visitor on Coast and Straits Salish territories for over 15 years. She completed an M.A. in Child and Youth Care and served for several years as the liaison for First Nations communities that partnered with the School of Child and Youth Care to deliver a two year diploma program in early childhood care and development, called the First Nations Partnerships Program. Onowa completed a PhD in Education at the University of British Columbia in 2012; her dissertation, îkakwiy nihiyawiyân: I am learning [to be] Cree, explored adult Indigenous language learning. Her current areas of research are Indigenous language revitalization and Indigenous education (K-12 & post-secondary), as well as early childhood bilingualism, cultural identity development, and early childhood care and education.
Sharla Peltier
Sharla Mskokii Peltier, Ph.D.
Sharla is a professor in education at Lakehead University and one of the few Indigenous speech and language therapists in Canada. She is a member of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation, Ontario and a member of the Loon Clan. Her work is guided by her belief that Indigenous people have a sacred voice and language from Creator. She promotes empowerment by working with the individual, family, and community to celebrate and enhance these gifts. She is an advocate for broad recognition of First Nations cultural and linguistic differences and for understanding home and community factors in evaluation and intervention aspects of professional practice. Sharla's program of research includes path-finding investigation of First Nations English dialects and First Nations oral tradition through an exploration of Anishinaabe children's and Elders' storytelling and understanding of what makes a good story. Her national and international presentations and publications convey her understandings gained from research and years of professional experience. She offers educator consultation and training to facilitate use of appropriate teaching strategies and educational tools with Indigenous children and families.
Kim Anderson
Kim Anderson, Ph.D.
Kim is an Indigenous (Métis) scholar who has spent most of her career working for Indigenous family well-being in Canada. Most of her scholarship is qualitative, community engaged, interdisciplinary and applied; much of it employs oral history and Indigenous research methodologies. Her research has been primarily about the health and well-being of Indigenous families in Canada and includes publishing in the following areas: Indigenous health and social well-being; gender and Indigenous peoples; Indigenous masculinities; Indigenous feminisms; Indigenous identity; Indigenous youth; Indigenous traditional knowledge; Indigenous environmental knowledge; and urban Indigenous peoples. She employs Indigenous and qualitative methods and is beginning to apply more arts based and land-based methods in research. She has conducted several research projects in collaboration with the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres; most recently on projects about Indigenous knowledge transfer in urban communities and gender and life stage factors in urban Indigenous governance.
Harriot Beazley
Harriot Beazley, Ph.D.
Harriot is a cultural geographer specializing in participatory community development and child centred research in the Asia Pacific region. She is a Lecturer in Human Geography and the Discipline Leader in Development Studies at the University of the Sunshine Coast. Her doctoral research involved an analysis of the geographies and identities of street children in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Harriot has worked as a community development practitioners and research consultant in Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Vanuatu for AusAID/DFAT, UNICEF, and Save the Children. She has experience in rights-based child centered research with children and young people, and in community based, gender-focused research in Southeast Asia and the Pacific. She has published in the areas of children's geographies and gender and development. Harriot's current research includes participatory research with marginalized communities in Indonesia and Cambodia. She is the Commissioning Editor (Pacific) for the Routledge Journal Children's Geographies: Advancing interdisciplinary understanding of younger people's lives.
Rashin Lamouchi
Rashin Lamouchi, M.A. 
Rashin Lamouchi completed an MA in Child and Youth Care at the University of Victoria, Canada, and a BA in Early Childhood Leadership and a Diploma in Early Childhood Education at George Brown College, Toronto, Canada, as well as a BA in Education at Azad University, Iran. Rashin is a member of the international team working on the Youth Migration Project, where she focuses on the impacts of forced migration on young people’s sense of home and belonging. Rashin has extensive education and experience in pedagogy and practice working with young children and their families. She also has the passion for working with forced migrant children and youth that comes from her lived experience as a forced migrant herself. The Iran-Iraq war broke out soon after she was born and she experienced forced displacement during her childhood. Later in life, Rashin emigrated to Canada as a refugee and for the past twelve years she has worked with families as an educator, tutor, and researcher. Currently, Rashin is a faculty member in the School of Early Childhood at George Brown College, Toronto, Canada. Rashin also volunteers at the Jewish Immigrant Aid Society (JIAS) and helps with the settlement of newcomer refugee families in Toronto.
Jessica Pratezina
Jessica Pratezina, Ph.D. (Cand)

Jessica Pratezina is a PhD student in Interdisciplinary Studies (Child and Youth Care; Sociology) at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Her doctoral research uses theories derived from religious conversion to explore the narratives of Canadian women who changed their attitudes towards abortion. Other areas of research include gender equality, father involvement, and early family formation. Along with Dr. Jessica Ball, she recently produced a podcast about how mother-father co-parents can improve gender equality in their relationship.  Her work has been published in diverse journals including Relational Child and Youth Care Practice and The International Journal of Children’s Spirituality. She has over a decade of experience as a front-line social service practitioner working with vulnerable families. 

Karma Chimi Wangchuk
Karma Chimi Wangchuk, Ph.D. (Cand)
Karma Chimi Wangchuk is a Bhutanese lecturer in the Royal University of Bhutan, Paro College of Education. He was the in-country lead in a national scoping study on demand for early childhood care and development programs and professional development in Bhutan. He is leading a team of lecturers at Paro College of Education in Bhutan to develop post-secondary courses leading to a certificate, diploma and degree in early childhood care and development in order to strengthen the country's capacity to develop this emerging sector. Karma Chimi is a member of the Sharchop ethnic community and grew up in a remote Himalayan village. He has experienced firsthand the importance of learning one's cultural traditions and mother tongue – knowledge and lived experiences that he carries with him today, although he now resides far from his village and cultural centre of origin, in the town of Paro. He is deeply committed to ensuring retention of cultural traditions, Indigenous knowledges, and spirituality through early childhood education as Bhutan modernizes and opens up beyond the Himalayas to the global arena. Karma is currently working on his doctorate, focused on early childhood care and development, at the University of New England, Australia.
Debra Torok
Debra Torok, MSc., PhD (Cand), Psychology
Debra is a doctoral candidate in Clinical-Lifespan Psychology at the University of Victoria, Canada. She has her MSc in Clinical Psychology from the University of Victoria. While originally from Toronto, she is grateful to live as an uninvited guest on the unceded territories of the lək̓ʷəŋən peoples for six years. As part of the Youth Migration Project research team, Debra’s research focuses on experiences of forced migrant youth residing in transit in Malaysia and along the Thai-Myanmar border. Debra became involved in a partnership project with a migrant-serving agency along the Thai-Myanmar border focused on adapting, delivering, and evaluating the Peer-Mediated Storyboard method (Ball 2020) as an approach to psychosocial support for migrant youth. Due to the pandemic, her doctoral research expanded to explore the benefits, challenges, and ethics of facilitating transnational partnership research online.
Ron Tsakly George
Ron Tsaskiy George, M.Ed. (RIP) 
Ron served as the lead Indigenous Advisor on the first research study of Indigenous Fathers in Canada, led by Jessica Ball. He also served as a member of the Steering Committee for the first national study of Father Involvement in Canada, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, CURA Program. Ron was born in Smithers, B.C. and was a Hereditary Chief of the Wet'suwet'en Nation. After working in the logging industry, where he became a shop steward in his union, and in the building trades, where he was a glazier, Ron became involved in Indigenous politics. In 1970, he was a Board member of the B.C. Association of Non-Status Indians, and then he was founding Vice-President of its successor, the United Native Nations (UNN), from 1976 to 1978. He was President of UNN from 1985 to 1991. In 1991, he was elected National President of the Native Council of Canada, which represented First Nations people who do not live on reserves. Ron was involved in every aspect of the struggle for justice by Indigenous peoples in Canada. He was instrumental in the development of Indigenous-operated community services in B.C. in areas of housing, child welfare, youth employment, economic development, and justice. A central theme of Ron's work was the need for healing at both the individual and political level in Canadian society. Ron completed a B.S.W. and an M.Ed. at the University of Victoria. Ron passed away in 2021. We continue to hold a special space on our website for remembering Ron.

Project team members: Community-based

Mariam Smith
Mariam Smith, M.Sc.
Mariam specializes in professional education with expertise in multilingual education. Mariam has over 20 years of experience working with civil society organizations and funders in community development, education, rights-based approaches and organizational change. She is co-director of Learning Loop, a consulting firm that helps organizations learn, self-evaluate, and change (www.learningloop.co). Mariam has been involved in many human resource capacity development initiatives and program evaluations for international development organisations, mostly in Asia and Sweden. She uses outcome harvesting as one of her main evaluation tools, while also ensuring that evaluation findings are utilizable. She has published on actor-focused theories of change. Having grown up in Bangladesh and lived in Cambodia for a decade, Mariam is proficient in Khmer, Bunong, Swedish and English and has basic knowledge of Bangla and other languages.
Christine Leo
Christine Leo
Christine is a member of Lil’wat Nation. She has decades of experience as a program manager with non-profit organizations and in Indigenous communities. She served as the Director for Community Advancement for Lil’wat Nation and has worked as an administrator, leader, and consultant with numerous Indigenous-led and Indigenous-serving organizations throughout southwest British Columbia, Canada. She has realized many successes through innovative employment and training programs that have enabled community-driven service development.
Corine Sagmeister
Corine Sagmeister, M.Ed.
Corine is a member of Quatsino First Nation. She is passionate about creating a circle of unity to nurture the spirit of society's most sacred gifts, our children. She has worked with the Victoria Native Friendship Centre as the Director of the Aboriginal Infant Development Program. Her professional experiences also include being Regional Coordinator of Aboriginal Success By 6, Coordinator of Early Childhood Development and Head Start Programs. While completing her M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education at the University of Hawaii, she received several awards. Across all her endeavours she focuses on exploring and applying Indigenous knowledge and practice to support young children and their families and to strengthen cultural competency in early year's programming.
Hsu Hsu
Naw Su Yadanar Oo (Hsu Hsu), M.S. (Cand)
Hsu Hsu is a Master’s candidate in Counseling Psychology at Assumption University in Thailand. Growing up as a refugee student from Myanmar, Hsu Hsu has travelled a challenging path to access higher education. Through this experience, she developed a passion for migrant education. Upon graduating with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Global Studies and Social Entrepreneurship from Thammasat University, Hsu Hsu returned to a local NGO in Thailand to support migrant students accessing higher education. Her work in the education sector heightened her awareness of the importance of developmental psychology and mental health in education. Studying for her master’s degree is enabling her to explore her interests in child, youth and family development and arts-based therapies. She is a member of the team evaluating the novel Storyboard Peers method of providing psychosocial support to forced migrant young people and training local facilitators to use the method.
Pattinee Suanprasert
Pattinee Suanprasert BSc., MPH.
Pattinee (Pi Pat) has been Director of Suwannimit Foundation based in Mae Sot, Thailand since the foundation was created in 2010. Before working with Suwannimit Foundation, Pi Pat served in various international and national organizations, non-government organizations, and community-based organizations supporting migrants, displaced people and refugees inside and outside refugee camps. She has provided and overseen services in the areas of health, education and social protection on the Thailand / Cambodia and Thailand / Myanmar borders. Pi Pat holds a Master of Public Health degree in Health Systems Development from Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. Her passion is to strengthen the capacities of underprivileged and vulnerable people to improve their wellbeing and quality of life.
Angela Dim
M. Htang Dim (Angela) M. A. MSc.
Angela is a lecturer in the Department of English at Chiang Mai University Thailand. She holds an MSc in Counselling from Assumption University and an MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from the Payap University in Thailand. She is currently completing doctoral studies in Counselling Psychology. She has worked for over two decades with marginalized populations in Thailand, particularly with conflict and labour migrants and refugee children and families. She has been a youth care worker, program developer and evaluator, English teacher, early childhood educator, teacher trainer, parent educator, and mental health counsellor. She works with international organizations towards improved collaboration, responsive service, and community-informed policies, and to support sustainable community leadership capacity. She is a leading member of the Youth Migration Team providing training to local organizations on the use of the Storyboard Peers method and evaluating its effectiveness in varied contexts.
Spring Song
Spring Song, B.A.
Spring is a Project Officer for the Suwannimit Foundation in Mae Sot, Thailand. She works with Community-Based Organizations to promote gender equality and child protection. She provides support to organizations that address situations involving gender-based violence and child abuse.
Nay Tha
Saw Poe Khwer Lay (Nay Tha)
I live in the Thailand-Myanmar border community. I was forced to migrate from Myanmar to Thailand when I was 12 years old, as a result of civil war that happened in my hometown. Arriving in Thailand without my family, I grew up in a dormitory for migrant youth, and I completed high school in a migrant school. I completed a Graduate Education Diploma in Chaing Mai, Thailand, and then completed post-secondary studies, majoring in education and psychology, at Asia Pacific International University. Currently I work with Suwannimit Foundation where I am a health program specialist. I deliver sexuality education workshops for migrant adolescents. I have also delivered Peer Mediated Story Board Narrative workshops with migrant youth, and have been amazed to help young people understand their rights and explore their quality of life and future opportunities. The StoryBoard method helps to show migrant young people that in life, we may face many difficulties, and in reflecting on our difficulties we can find strengths and opportunities.
May Myat Noe (ICE)
May Myat Noe (ICE)
May Myat Noe( Ice), has a varied career in education, interpretation, and media. She currently works as a language teacher at the Exile Hub media organization in Chiang Mai, Thailand and as a freelance Burmese Thai interpreter. Since 2018, she has been a Burmese language teacher in a migrant camp, as part of her commitment to supporting the advancement of displaced and marginalized populations through education. When the COVID-19 pandemic led to the closure of many camps, she adapted her teaching methods and began to offer a free Thai language course online for Burmese migrants. Ice has provided administrative support for Mizzima Media – an exile-based Burmese multimedia news organization with a liaison office in Chiang Mai. She has also been involved in event management and community engagement, including facilitating a conference for Burmese youth living in Chiang Mai. As a team member on the Youth Migration Project, she plays an active role in developing and testing facilitator training to expand the use of Storyboard Peers.

Community partners

Suwannimit Foundation
Partnered with ECDIP on research to understand the views and experiences of forced migrant youth, Suwannimit Foundation is a migrant-led, migrant-serving non-profit organization based in Mae Sot, Thailand. Its mission is to enhance social and health services to vulnerable children and families living along the borders of Thailand (Tak province) and Myanmar. It supports the operational capacity and programming impact of its partners and promotes access to services provided by the government of Thailand. www.suwannimit.org
Families Canada
Partnered with ECDIP on research to promote gender equality in early family formation, Families Canada works to strengthen families and communities. The organization delivers education, training and tools to empower their network of family support organizations and frontline workers. Families Canada works with government, corporations, institutions, and family advocates to implement smart, family-friendly policies that enable Canada’s families to live strong and productive lives. www.familiescanada.ca
Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada
Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC) supports ECDIP team members to mobilize knowledge of ongoing projects and findings focused on reproductive justice. These projects include federal government funded studies of Canadians’ views about abortion and determinants of significant attitude change at an individual level regarding access to abortion. ARCC is a registered non-profit organization in Canada that is Canada’s “voice for choice.” It works to protect the legal right to abortion on request in Canada and to improve access to timely, quality abortion services.
Dad Central
Dad Central has assisted ECDIP team members for two decades to mobilize knowledge and resources focused on positive father involvement. Dad Central is a national network of researchers, practitioners, leaders, community members and supporters who believe there is an urgent need to promote the positive involvement of fathers in their children’s lives. Dad Central functions as the national clearinghouse in Canada for resources and information about workshops, webinars, and training to support positive father involvement. For more than 20 years, Dad Central has helped organizations, such as family support centres, childcare programs, community health units, and pre-post natal programs, to prepare and engage men in becoming positively involved fathers. www.dadcentral.ca
Yangon University of Education
Located in Yangon, Myanmar, this is the premier university of education in Myanmar. Primarily a teacher training college, the university offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs in education to the country’s prospective primary, secondary, and tertiary level teachers. It also produces research on child development and pedagogy. It established the first post-graduate diploma program in early childhood care and development to strengthen leadership capacity for the emerging early childhood sector in Myanmar. www.yuoe.edu.mm
Lil'wat Nation
Partnered on a number of ECDIP projects addressing First Nations children’s development and community capacity building, Lil’wat Nation is group of communities situated in south-western BC about one hour from the urban centre of Vancouver. The communities share a band-operated school offering Kindergarten through Grade 12 and many other services. Together, they have established a well-developed planning structure, stable leadership, and a long history of successful development initiatives. Exemplifying a fully integrated and co-located multiservice centre, the community has a multiplex facility that houses a community kitchen, a health information and promotion area, health services offices with examination rooms, and multi-purpose rooms offering a range of family services, including alcohol and drug counselling, tobacco reduction, diabetes prevention, infant and toddler care, preschool and after-school care and parenting programs. www.lilwat.ca