The MENA Platform team

Coordinator of the Regional Platform

Yahia Zaidi is a committed Human Rights activist with extensive experience of HIV/ AIDS issues, Refugees and LGBTI Rights. To date, he has worked on international advocacy, community development, and on strategy, research, services and training, at local (Algeria), regional (Middle East and Africa), and international levels.

Yahia revived Abu-Nawas, an Algerian group for LGBT rights. In 2005, along with other supporters, he set up an HIV/AIDS prevention project for Algerian men who have sex with men (MSM). In 2007, he also worked with communities of sex workers and people who inject drugs. This became the focal point of UNAIDS on issues related to MSM.

Yahia has given advice on funding and implementation strategies to several regional and international NGOs, including COC Netherlands, Inter-LGBTI France, IDAHO, RFSL Sweden and LLH Norway. He relaunched Pan Africa ILGA, serving as Co-Chair of its Board of Directors. He is currently the Acting Deputy Secretary General of the ILGA World Executive Board.

Yahia co-founded MantiQitna Network, the only LGBTI-led organization in the MENA region working publicly on advocacy. He was at the forefront of advocacy at the UN for the adoption of the resolutions on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in 2014 and 2016. Amongst his many accomplishments, he collected the largest number of signatories on joint statements of civil society in the history of the Human Rights Council, twice in a row.

Yahia has also been a social worker in the field of asylum. He co-founded OMNIA, an association for migrants from the MENA region living in Belgium. This NGO fights against homophobia among migrants from the MENA region. He recently joined GLISA's executive board as a co-secretary.

Director of Programmes

Abdelhalim "Alim" EL GADDARI, a psychologist and sexologist by training, joined the organization's team as Director of Programmes. Alim has been working in the HIV field for 15 years. Before joining ITPC-MENA, he was in charge of international programs at SIDA Info Service, a French organization. During this time, Alim successfully managed several HIV-related programs in French-speaking sub-Saharan Africa.

Alim has worked with several partners and donors, including UNICEF, UNAIDS, The European Union, The City of Paris and France Expertise, on projects and initiatives focused in West, Central and North Africa.


Programme and Communications Officer

Zakaria BAHTOUT, currently working as Programme and Communications Officer for ITPC-MENA, is also a member of the UNAIDS Youth Advisory Forum. Since a teenager, Zakaria has been involved in the response to HIV in Morocco. In 2007, he began as a volunteer at the ALCS (Association Fighting Against Aids) branch in Marrakech. This has developed strong links with communities of people living with HIV/AIDS, sex workers, men who have sex with men (MSM) and injecting drug users, especially the youngest amongst them. As ITPC-MENA Programme and Communications Officer, he has developed a wide range of links with activists and grassroots organizations in the MENA region.

Advisor for the Platform (consultant)

Charlie BARAN currently provides technical support to the MENA platform. With a Master's degree in Public Health, Charlie has worked for more than 13 years in the areas of HIV, health and development, with a focus on key populations and civil society. Charlie brings to the team an in-depth understanding of the model, organisation and priorities of The Global Fund. Whilst keeping a cross-cutting approach to the platform's activities, Charlie will continue to focus on content analysis and development, tracking initiatives and publications by The Global Fund, and advise the platform team on strategy and approach.