UNICEF reps in Latin America and the Caribbean answer questions at the first #UNICEFLACathon

Update 20 November: read the comments and questions from the #UNICEFLACathon here:


Latin America and the Caribbean is the most unequal region in the world. Factors like being born in one country or another, in a rural or urban setting, as a girl or a boy or with a certain ethnic origin may affect the whole life of the 195 million children and adolescents who live in this region.

For example, 40% of Latin American children and adolescents are growing up in poverty. Nearly 22 million are out of school or at risk of dropping out. Four million have no birth registry and 564 children under 5 die every day from preventable causes. Or what is the same: one child every two minutes.

Nevertheless, their lives have improved in last decades. Chronic child malnutrition has been halved in the last twenty years, the number of children in primary school increased from 87 to 95%, we have never been before so close to eliminating the transmission of HIV from mother to child…

But what is UNICEF doing in Latin America and Caribbean to ensure equal opportunities for all children to grow up happy and enjoy all their rights?

To answer this question, and in the context of the global UNICEF campaign #FightUnfair linked with the upcoming celebration of the 26th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child on November 20, UNICEF Representatives in six countries of the region will participate this week on #UNICEFLACathon, the first marathon of virtual meetings on Facebook where they will answer questions and comments from the audience.

How can I participate?

If you want to know first-hand what are the challenges that children of Latin America and the Caribbean are facing, and the work done by UNICEF to promote and ensure their rights in the region, you only have to join www.facebook.com/uniceflac to participate in the #UNICEFLACathon from Tuesday 17 to Friday 20 November.

From 12:00h. (Panama / New York time, GMT-5), UNICEF Representatives from Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean will answer in different languages the highest number of questions (selected in base of their global interest and according to the basic rules of participation) received under several posts to be published those dates.

Which UNICEF representatives will answer your questions?

Isabel CrowleyIsabel Crowley, Mexico (Tuesday, November 17, 12:30 (GMT-5) Isabel Crowley is UNICEF Representative in Mexico since 2013. With Portuguese and Irish nationality, she has a professional experience of more than three decades in the field of human rights, both in the United Nations system and international NGOs from Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. Working with UNICEF, before coming to Mexico, she was Representative in Liberia, a Senior Advisor for Relations with Governments from Headquarters in New York, and she worked at the Private Fundraising and Partnerships Division in the UNICEF office in Geneva. She also worked in community development issues, urban basic services and external relations from UNICEF Nepal.

On the #UNICEFLACathon, Isabel will answer your questions in Spanish, English or Portuguese.


Nadine PerraultNadine Perrault, El Salvador (Wednesday, November 18, 12:00 (GMT-5) Nadine Perrault is UNICEF Representative in El Salvador since October 2015. Born in Haiti, she worked for more than eight years at UNICEF Headquarters in New York as Protection of the Rights of the Child Officer and as Program Officer responsible of the Human Rights Group of the Policy and Practice Division. Before coming to El Salvador, she was the Regional Child Protection Advisor for Latin America and the Caribbean since 2009.

On the #UNICEFLACathon, Nadine will answer your questions in Spanish, English or French.


Gordon Jonathan Lewis

Gordon Jonathan Lewis, Costa Rica (Wednesday, November 18, 12:30 (GMT-5) Gordon Jonathan Lewis is UNICEF Representative in Costa Rica since October 2015. With American and British nationality, he has developed extensive expertise in the areas of political and economic negotiation, design and implementation of public policies, management and social management, research, mobilization of resources or building alliances, among others. Before arriving in Costa Rica, he was UNICEF Representative in El Salvador, Bolivia and Botswana; and Deputy Representative in Jamaica.

On the #UNICEFLACathon, Jonathan will answer your questions in Spanish, English or Portuguese.


Mark Connolly

Mark Connolly, Jamaica (Thursday, November 19, 12:00 (GMT-5) Mark Connolly is UNICEF Representative in Jamaica since 2013. Born in the United States, he has nearly 30 years of experience in development organizations working for children, including UNICEF, UNAIDS and the World Health Organization, among others. During his career with UNICEF, he has worked especially on issues of public health, above all in preventing HIV and mitigating the impact of AIDS on children and their families. He has also worked on issues of protection, including strategies to reduce violence against children.

On the #UNICEFLACathon, Mark will answer your questions in Spanish or English.


María Luisa Fornara

Maria Luisa Fornara, Peru (November 19, 12:30 (GMT-5) Maria Luisa Fornara is UNICEF representative in Peru since July 2015. Born in Italy, she has extensive experience in international cooperation thanks to her work in organizations such as UNDP, World Bank or the Inter-United Nations Institute for Research on Crime and Justice. In UNICEF, before arriving in Peru, she was Representative in Tunisia for six years and Deputy Representative in UNICEF Serbia.

On the #UNICEFLACathon, Maria Luisa will answer your questions in Spanish, English, French or Italian.



Gary Stahl, Brazil (November 20, 12:00 (GMT-5) Gary Stahl is UNICEF Representative in Brazil since 2011. Born in the United States, he began his career with UNICEF as Emergency Operations coordinator in southwestern Rwanda, where he oversaw activities serving more than 400,000 displaced people. He also worked in Peru on extreme poverty projects in the Andes, the Amazon and around urban areas. Before coming to Brazil, he was UNICEF Representative in Nicaragua, Chile, and Public Partnerships Deputy Director at Headquarters in New York.

On the #UNICEFLACathon, Gary will answer your questions in Spanish, English or Portuguese.

Marcos González is responsible for digital content at the UNICEF Latin America and Caribbean Regional Office.

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