The GDAR International Strategic Advisory Group advises the GDAR Director, Joint Lead and the Network Steering Group on GDAR scientific strategy. The group meets at least annually and its members are available throughout the year to provide advice to GDAR members.

Specifically, its role is to:

  • Advise the GDAR Director on the development of the UK-based Group, and its co-development with CEDAR and the GDAR Network
  • Advise the GDAR Director, Joint Lead and Network Steering Group on:
    • The strategic direction of the GDAR Network
    • Capacity building for research and research translation in relevant LMIC settings
    • Communications, dissemination and impact strategy and activities
    • Potential synergies and added value from research in diverse settings, cultures and context
  • Contribute to providing expertise and a network of contacts to facilitate dialogue on policy issues and research translation.

ISAG members

Mr Hastings Chikoko (ISAG Chair)

Hastings Chikoko is the Managing Director of Regions and Mayoral Engagement & Regional Director for Africa at C40 Cities. He serves on the Advisory Board of the African Centre for Cities and the Advisory Board for the African Mayoral Leadership Initiative. He also sits on the Advisory Group for the African Cities Research Consortium at the Global Development Institute of University of Manchester. He is one of the Board of Directors at the World Green Building Council and sits on the Technical Advisory Group of the Global Environment Facility – GEF (Sustainable Cities and Urban Systems). Hastings is a member of the Africa-Europe Strategic Task Force on Sustainable Energy, and the Global Board of Wetlands International.

He has also served on the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Clean Air. With a postgraduate degree in Cities from the London School of Economics (LSE), his work with local governments started at the City of Blantyre and later at a district council of the Ministry of Local Government in Malawi. Hastings had a long career with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Zimbabwe, Kenya, South Africa and Switzerland; including being the Regional Director (ad Interim) for East and Southern Africa and Head of IUCN in S Africa. He was an IDRC African Mentor for policy think-tanks in Africa, and a Board Member for Africa World Heritage Fund. He holds MSc in Cities, an MSc in Strategic Management, Postgraduate Diploma in Environmental Diplomacy and a Bsc in Economics.

Prof Akin Abayomi

Hon. Prof. Akin Abayomi is the Honourable Commissioner for Health in the Lagos State Government. He is a specialist in Internal Medicine, Haematology, Environmental Health and Biosecurity, and worked in several countries around the world in these fields. He has various roles in academia such as Chief Pathologist and Head of the Division of Haematology at the University of Stellenbosch’s Faculty of Medicine Sciences in Cape Town, South Africa.

In addition to his current role, Abayomi is also the Chair of the H3Africa Consortium Data and Biospecimen Access Committee and Principal Investigator of the Global Emerging Pathogens Consortium. He is an esteemed member of the African Academy of Science Committee on Data Governance.

Prof Anne Marie Thow

Anne Marie Thow is an Associate Professor in Health Policy at the University of Sydney. Her research uses theories of public policy making to explore facilitators and barriers to best practice public health nutrition policy, with a particular focus on the interface between economic policy and nutrition. Anne Marie currently collaborates on research in Asia, Africa and the Pacific, and regularly consults with policy actors and international agencies.

Prior to her PhD, Anne Marie worked for the Governments of Australia and Fiji on nutrition policy issues. She trained in nutrition and has a Masters in Public Policy and Economics.

Dr Caradee Wright

Caradee Wright  is a Chief Specialist Scientist at the South African Medical Research Council. Dr Wright has a PhD in Public Health and a MSocSc in Geography and Environmental Management. She is also an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Pretoria and Associate Professor at the University of Johannesburg. Her research in environmental health in Africa focusses on understanding climate change and health impacts to inform interventions. Her expertise are in air pollution exposure, skin cancer prevention, and climate adaptation. Dr Wright is an Advisor to the International Livestock Research Institute’s One Health Centre for Africa, the Health Effects Institute’s Global Health Oversight Committee; and World Health Organization’s Global Air Pollution Technical Advisory Group as Lead Expert for Policy / Interventions.

Dr Wright was an author for the Africa Chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment Report 6 Working Group II Report, the Network of African Academies ‘Climate Change and Health in Africa Report, and the United Nations Environment Panel (UNEP) Reports: ‘Preventing the Next Pandemic Report’, ‘Environment Assessment Synthesis Report’, and ‘Measuring Progress: Environment and the SDGs report’. She is currently a Chapter Lead Author of the UNEP Africa Assessment on Climate Change and Air Pollution Report.

Prof Olga Lucia Sarmiento

Olga L. Sarmiento is a Professor in the Department of Public Health in the School of Medicine at Universidad de Los Andes (Bogotá, Colombia). Her transdisciplinary research focuses on the relationship between the built environment, policy, and physical activity, with an emphasis on inclusive and sustainable community programs in Latin America. She is currently a researcher on the Urban Health in Latin America (SALURBAL) project, the International Physical Activity, and Environment Network (IPEN), and the Stanford-Colombia Collaboratory on Chronic Disease (S-C3).

Dr. Sarmiento has been a board member of the International Society of Physical Activity and Health (ISPAH), the Global Advocacy for Physical Activity (GAPA), the Urban Health Network for Latin America and the Caribbean and the International Society of Urban Health. She has received distinctions from the Ministry of Sports of Colombia and the Institute of Sports and Recreation of Bogotá (Colombia) for promoting healthy behaviors in Colombia through academic work.

Prof Mike Kelly

Professor Mike Kelly is Senior Visiting Fellow in the Department of Public Health and Primary Care at the University of Cambridge. Prof Kelly was educated at the Universities of York, Leicester and Dundee. Between 2005 and 2014, when he retired from the NHS, he was the Director of the Centre for Public Health at the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE).  There he led the teams producing public health guidelines. While at NICE he appeared regularly on the Today Programme and BBC, ITV and Sky Television and BBC and commercial local radio.  He worked directly with ministers and senior civil servants.

He advised the House of Commons Health Select Committee and has been a witness before parliamentary committees in the Commons and the Lords on a number of occasions discussing obesity, the way alcohol impairs driving performance and the prevention of teenage pregnancy. He has chaired committees for MRC, ESRC, the Foods Standards Agency, Public Health England and the Office for Health Improvement & Disparities. From 2005 to 2007 he directed the methodology work stream for the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Commission on the Social Determinants of Health.   

He has a continuing research interest in health inequalities and is pursuing a programme of research in Cambridge on this topic.  His other research interests include community health, the methods and philosophy of evidence based medicine, the relationship between evidence and policy, prevention of CVD, health related behaviour change, the causes of non-communicable disease, end of life care, dental public health, transport and health and chronic illness. Professor Kelly has held academic appointments at the Universities of Leicester, Dundee, Abertay, Glasgow, Sheffield, Manchester and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

In 2010 he was awarded the Alwyn Smith Prize of the Faculty of Public Health in recognition of his work on cardiovascular disease and alcohol misuse prevention. Professor Kelly is Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health, Honorary Fellow Royal College of Physicians (his citation was for his work on occupational health) and Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. In 2014 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of York for his contribution to evidence based policy.

Mrs Bimbo Oshobe

Mrs Bimbo Osobe is a founder member of the Nigerian Slum/Informal Settlement Federation. A skilled mobilizer, she is a Savings Coordinator, leading the Federation’s effort to encourage savings and develop an Urban Poor Fund that can be leveraged for upgrading projects in Federation communities.

She was born in 1959 at Oluwole Village in the Iganmu area of Lagos. She lived there with her family until the place was acquired by the Federal Military Government of Nigeria to make way for the National Theater built for the African Festival of Arts and Culture in 1973. At the age of 14, Bimbo and her family were relocated to what is now Ajeromi Village at Badia East just a short distance from National Theater. In 1992, Bimbo married to Afolorunsho Osobe, and they relocated to Kaduna and had 4 children together. However, in 2011 when the religious and inter-communal violence got severe in Kaduna, Bimbo moved back to her family home in Lagos to keep her children safe. However, on 23 February 2013 Bimbo and her children had the worst experience of their lives when the Lagos State Government forcibly evicted all of the residents of Ajeromi Village in Badia East without any advance notice. Without anywhere to stay, Bimbo had no choice but to send her children to live with family in Kaduna and elsewhere in Lagos. Meanwhile, for several years thereafter she slept in the waiting area of a local health clinic and squatted with friends where she could. 

Always a very strong and independent woman, having started her own soft drink distribution business earlier in life, Bimbo became a leading voice and organizer struggling for justice for Badia East evictees. She has since then worked tirelessly to ensure that nobody else has to go through what she experienced, leading efforts to end forced evictions of the urban poor in Lagos. 

One of the founding members of the Nigerian Federation, Bimbo is a very skilled mobilizer, she is a Savings Coordinator, leading the Federation’s effort to encourage savings and develop an Urban Poor Fund that can be leveraged for upgrading projects in Federation communities.