NorthSouth Group
Photo: Project Lighthouse


The NorthSouth Group was formed out of a concern for the persistence of poverty and vulnerability. We come from international agencies, NGOs, academia and government. Our mission is to collaborate with local partners and communities to improve the health and well-being of those at risk.

Advisory Committee

Rie Hiraoka, PhD                     
Country Director
Asian Development Bank 
Manila, Philippines

Rie Hiraoka - a Japanese national and Country Director with the Asian Development Bank in the Kyrgyz Republic. Dr. Hiraoka leads strategy and policy dialogue with the government in their reform efforts, and develops new business opportunities. Prior to this, her work in the Philippines focused on Central Asia and the design and implementation of projects to mitigate micronutrient deficiency by promoting food fortification; early childhood development - health and education; and reducing neonatal mortality. Before joining the ADB, Dr. Hiraoka was in the South Asia Health, Nutrition and Population Unit at the World Bank where she, as a team leader, initiated development and implementation strategies for mitigating child labor in South Asia. She also was a member of the India health sector reform and district education project teams in India, and the HIV/AIDS prevention team in Bangladesh. Dr. Hiraoka's extensive involvement in international development and poverty reduction also includes working for the UNICEF in India on community development, child development, and primary education. She received a PhD in Economics from Cornell University in 1997.


Mariam Khokhar
Program Officer
International Organization for Migration
Pretoria, South Africa

Pakistani-born Marian Khokhar joined International Organization for Migration’s Southern African regional office in Pretoria, South Africa in February 2007. She initially joined IOM in 2002, and was posted to Pakistan where she was responsible for initiating IOM’s programs in Pakistan. Over five years, she worked on programs relating to counter-trafficking, labor migration, border management, HIV/AIDS, migration and development and migration management. During this period, IOM helped the Pakistani government create a law against human trafficking. She helped establish a National Plan of Action, and in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Justice’s International Criminal Investigations Training Assistance Program (ICITAP), trained anti-trafficking units that are established all over Pakistan today. In addition, she played a key role in the development of the Migration Management Policy of Pakistan. More recently, Mariam was awarded the IOM Director General’s Award for her outstanding work in bringing emergency assistance to those affected by the South Asian Earthquake. She is one of IOM’s nine certified trainers for project development. Mariam earned a post-graduate degree in Social and Public Policy from Georgetown University, prior to which she majored in Criminal Justice, and minored in Psychology from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.  Working in a multi-cultural environment like Southern Africa is not a novelty to Mariam, who has lived in several countries across the world.


Homira Nassery
Health and Gender Specialist
World Bank
Washington, DC, USA

Homira Nassery - a US-Afghan national and a Health and Gender specialist. In 2007 Ms. Nassery returned from Afghanistan to the World Bank where she had worked for over a decade on public health issues in post-conflict countries including Eritrea, Rwanda, Sri Lanka and Mozambique. She spent several years in Afghanistan assisting with reconstruction and development. Her work took her to all regions of the country as a consultant for NGOs, the UN, and USAID. She was the Gender Specialist and Monitoring & Evaluation Coordinator for the Alternative Livelihoods Project South based in Lashkargah, Helmand and covering the three provinces of Helmand, Kandahar, and Uruzgan. Currently with the World Bank’s Health, Nutrition and Population Network, she serves as a Focal Point for Fragile States. Ms. Nassery is also on the board of IDEACCESS, a network linking activists, students and social movements across communities and borders in the Middle East and Central Asia. She writes free-lance pieces for various publications. Her company, AccessAfghanistan, is one of the country's first and only recruitment firms.


B. Keerthi, Ph.D. 
Vasavya Mahila Mandali (VMM) 
Hyderabad, India
B. Keerthi - an Indian national and a social worker. Dr. Keerthi has worked for more than two decades in social development including gender, child development, rural development, self-help groups and microfinance, development of vulnerable communities, HIV/AIDS care and support; and disaster mitigation. As a Director of Programs with Vasavya Mahila Mandali, a development NGO in India with a 40-year field presence, she served as Team Leader for studies such as the World Bank Study on children orphaned by AIDS and the WHO commissioned study on pediatric counseling. She was the Technical Officer for Program Monitoring, managed capacity building initiatives and strategic development for comprehensive disaster mitigation, and carried out training of trainers. Dr. Keerthi is affiliated with several NGOs and international agencies, working on child development and protection, HIV/AIDS care and support, and disaster mitigation; and she has served as monitor at both central and state government levels in India.



The Niblock Charitable Trust is funding our work in Kenya to support orphans and vulnerable children.

ExxonMobil The NorthSouth Group receives a grant for its outreach work from the ExxonMobil Foundation.

NorthSouth Group Advisory Committee member Mariam Khokhar is awarded International Organization for Migration Director General's Award for her contribution to IOM's immediate earthquake response.

International Organization for Migration Award

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NorthSouth Group discusses human trafficking at the International Health Conference at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Human Trafficking

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