The Project Team

Our project team includes researchers and young people from the UK and Ghana sharing a common commitment to the rights and wellbeing of children and young people.

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Dr. Grace Spencer

Project Lead (UK)

Grace is the Principal Investigator and Project Lead. Grace works as a researcher at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, UK. Her research focuses on children and young people’s health and wellbeing with a particular interest in empowerment and health-related risks. Grace has worked with young people across the world to investigate their perspectives on, and everyday experiences of, contemporary health and social challenges. Her international programme of research aims to support the inclusion of young people and their rights to participate in research about their own lives. She is globally recognised for her expertise in research ethics and methods with children and young people.

See Grace’s profile for examples of her work and related publications
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Dr. Jill Thompson

Project Co-Investigator (UK)

Dr Jill Thompson is a Co-Investigator on the project and a senior lecturer at the University of Sheffield, UK. Jill is a social scientist and a qualitative researcher with particular expertise in ethnography and participatory methods. Her work is increasingly focussed on the health of vulnerable children and young people in national and international contexts. Jill’s research focus is a gradual refinement of her established track record in Patient and Public Involvement and participatory approaches to health. What unites Jill’s work is a commitment to the active involvement of children’s perspectives and experiences in influencing contexts of relevance to their health and wellbeing. Presently, this has two main foci; migrant children’s health and the use of digital technology for children’s health.

See Jill’s profile and publications
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Dr. Ernestina Dankyi

Project Co-Investigator (Ghana)

Dr. Ernestina Korleki Dankyi is a Research Fellow at the Centre of Social Policy Studies, University of Ghana and Co-Investigator on the project. Ernestina holds a PhD in Migration Studies, a Master of Philosophy degree in Sociology and Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work all from the University of Ghana. Her research focuses on diverse groups of children and young people affected by both internal and international migration, including the mental health experiences of street children in Ghana. Inspired by the ecological systems theory, her current research focuses on the interaction between the macro structures of care and the immediate settings within with children and young people find themselves and how these interactions affect their wellbeing. She was awarded a grant by the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) to examine the existing institutions, policies and programmes available for street children and how these are positioned to meet their mental health and other related needs. Ernestina is a 2016 Global Fellow in the Global Child Behavioural Health Fellowship programme funded by the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research at New York University and a member of the Society for Research in Child Development.

See Ernestina’s profile for her recent work and publications
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Dr. Stephen O. Kwankye

Project Co-Investigator (Ghana)

Stephen O. Kwankye is an Associate Professor of the Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS) at the University of Ghana, Legon and project Co-Investigator. Stephen holds a PhD in Population Studies with specialisation in adolescent sexual and reproductive health issues. He has published widely on independent child migration in Ghana and adolescent sexual and reproductive health. He has tremendous experience in conducting both quantitative and qualitative research related to population dynamics, child migration and reproductive health. He worked with a team to produce a national migration policy and a strategic plan for Ghana (2012-2014) and between 2011 and 2014, he was the Executive Director of the National Population Council of Ghana. He developed the 2016-2020 Strategic Plan of the Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG) and the 2018-2022 Strategic Plan of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection on Adolescent Pregnancy in Ghana. He is a member of the Union of Africa Population Studies, International Union for the Scientific Study of Population and the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) on Child Migrants and Refugee Studies.

See Stephen’s profile and publications
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Dr. Fanny Froehlich

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow / Youth Co-Researcher (UK)

Our Post-Doc Research Fellow and Youth Co-Researcher, Dr Fanny Froehlich, supports the day-to-day activities of the project, working closely with our Young Person Advisory Group members to ensure the project and the perspectives of young people in the UK and Ghana directly inform our project activities. Fanny holds a PhD in Development Planning from University College London, UK, with a specialisation in gender and international development. Her research focuses on transnational and local concepts of gender and social transformation in international development work, specifically in Ghana, where she has worked together with young people to better understand their conceptualisations of gender roles and relations, empowerment and equality. Considering links between policy approaches and lived realities, Fanny explores co-production of knowledge using participatory research designs as a pathway towards meaningful transformation; this, importantly, includes children and young people

See Fanny’s profile and publications
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Professor Virginia (Ginny) Morrow

Project Ethics Advisor

Ginny is our project ethics advisor and provides ethical oversight and guidance for the project and our research activities. This includes advising on our ethics approval processes and everyday ethical deliberations and reflexivity over the course of the project. Ginny is a Visiting Professor at University College London (UCL), Social Research Institute. Her research focuses on children’s work, violence affecting children, sociological approaches to the study of childhood and children’s rights, the ethics of social research with children, children’s understandings of family, and children and ‘social capital’. She has published extensively, and has been a member of numerous research Advisory Groups and Research Ethics Committees. She was co-editor of Childhood: A Journal Global Child Research from 2006-2016.

Young Person Advisory Group (YPAG)

Our Young Person Advisory Group (YPAG) includes young people living in Ghana and the UK. The YPAG advises the project team on all aspects of the research to ensure our activities are relevant to, and support the meaningful engagement of young people.

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Michael Tetteh Doku


Michael is a passionate, goal-oriented individual who has been a volunteer and advocate for children’s rights since he was 14 years old. Currently, he works with Children and Youth In Broadcasting (CYIB), Curious Minds – a youth-led non-governmental organization where he assists in the day-to-day running of the Communications and Advocacy Office, as well producing radio programmes. As a young person himself, Michael has consulted in that capacity for the formulation of national policies in Ghana, such as the Child and Family Welfare Policy, Justice for Children Policy, as well as in the amendment of the Children’s Act, Juvenile Justice Act, and The Criminal Code of the constitution of the republic of Ghana.

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Jemima Mornuu


Jemima is a psychology and philosophy student at the University of Ghana. She is a peer mentor for Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) with AfriYAN (a non-governmental organisation) where she supports the education of many young people in Ghana. She is a member of Curious Minds, an educative non-governmental organization, where she joins other passionate young people to advocate for the rights of children, and speak on issues affecting them. She reaches out to young people through radio and other platforms.

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Amidatu Kassim


Amidatu is a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and Chinese Language student at the University of Ghana, and a children and youth rights advocate affiliated with Children and Youth In Broadcasting (CYIB), Curious Minds in Ghana. She is passionate about development issues pertaining to children and young people and the attainment of social equity. As a peer mentor with the Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana, she supports young girls living in coastal communities in Accra, Ghana with career coaching, sexual and gender based violence education, and sexual health and rights education.

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Dr. Divine M. Asafo


Divine is a Divine is a Human Geography Lecturer at the University of Hull, UK. Divine holds a PhD in Urban Studies and Planning from the University of Sheffield, UK. Prior to starting his PhD, Divine served as a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the Department of Geography and Resource Development, University of Ghana, where he obtained his Master of Philosophy and Bachelor of Arts degrees. His research interests focus on peri-urban transformation, land conflicts, housing, and urban disaster risks, all in the context of the Global South. His current research explores the everyday politics and conflicts associated with peri-urban land and its implications on self-built housing development processes in Accra, Ghana. He also explores the factors informing and shaping youth’s engagement in extra-legal activities.

See Divine’s Linkedin profile
George Asiamah


George is a PhD researcher at the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures and the Department of Politics at the University of Sheffield, UK. His research interests are in local economic development, public policy and sustainable livelihoods. Prior to his PhD, George co-founded and served as the Executive Director for the Centre for Sustainability Education and Economic Development (SEED Centre) – a non-profit organisation which focuses on empowering rural communities to address local sustainability challenges in Ghana. He is passionate about youth development, and has organised a series of youth mentorship programmes, especially, for rural communities in Ghana.