Adolescent Accelerators Research Hub


Elona Toska

Co-lead: UKRI GCRF Accelerating Achievement for Africa’s Adolescents (Accelerate) Hub

Associate lecturer, Department of Sociology

Elona Toska

Elona  is an adolescent health researcher with specific interest in adolescent sexual and reproductive health in resource-limited settings, and how to support them to engage in safe relationships with peers and adult figures in their lives. In addition to being, the UCT-lead of the UKRI GCRF Accelerating Achievements for Africa’s Adolescents Hub, Elona co-leads two studies in South Africa: the Mzantsi Wakho Adolescent Health cohort on adolescents living with HIV and the HEY BABY study on adolescent mothers and their children in collaboration with a wonderful team of colleagues.  She works closely with colleagues at UNICEF, UNFPA, WFP, the Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric Foundation, and Paediatric Adolescent Treatment for Africa to inform programming for adolescents and young people in Sub-Saharan Africa.


Contact details:


Office: Room 4.29.03, Centre for Social Science Research, Leslie Social Science Building

Elona’s CV is available here

Latest publications

Pantelic, M., Casale, M., Cluver, L., Toska, E. & Moshabela, M. 2020. Multiple forms of discrimination and internalized stigma compromise retention in HIV care among South African adolescents. Journal of the International AIDS Society, 23(5). DOI: 10.1002/jia2.25488.

Sherr, L., Cluver, L., Desmond, C., Toska, E., Aber, L., Dhaliwal, M., Webb, D. & Dugbazah, J. 2020. A new vehicle to accelerate the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The Lancet Global Health, 8(5), e637-e638. DOI: S2214-109X(20)30103-0.

Zungu, N., Toska, E., Gittings, L & Hodes, R. 2020.  Closing the gap in programming for adolescents living with HIV in Eastern and Southern Africa: The role of social protection in positive prevention. Govender, K. & Polu, N. (eds) Preventing HIV among Young People in Eastern and Southern Africa. Abingdon: Routledge.

Toska, E, Campeau, L., Cluver, L., Orkin, F.M., Berezin, M., Sherr, L., Laurenzi, C. & Bachman, G. 2020. Consistent provisions mitigate exposure to sexual risk and HIV among young adolescents in South Africa. AIDS & Behaviour. 24, 903-913. DOI: 10.1007/s10461-019-02735-x.

Toska, E. Hodes, R., Cluver, L., Atujuna, M. & Laurenzi, C. 2019.  Health for South Africa’s adolescents: How can we help them thrive? Shung-King, M., Lake, L., Sanders, D. & Hendricks, M. (eds) South African Child Gauge 2019. Cape Town: The Children’s Institute, 21-34.

Hodes, R., Vale, B. & Toska, E. 2019. The misclosure of an adolescent’s HIV-status. Mkhwanazi, N. & Manderson, L. (eds) Connected Lives: Families, Households, Health and Care in Contemporary South Africa. Cape Town: HSRC Press.

Haghighat, R., Toska, E., Cluver, L., Gulaid, L. & Bains, A. 2019 Transition pathways out of pediatric care and associated HIV outcomes for adolescents living with HIV in South Africa. JAIDS, 82(2), 166-174. DOI: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000002125

Toska, E., Cluver, L., Orkin, M., Bains, A., Berezin, M., Sherr, L. & Gulaid, L. 2019. Screening and supporting through schools: Educational experiences and needs of adolescents living with HIV in a South African cohort. BMC Public Health, 19, 272. DOI:

Cluver, L., Orkin, M., Campeau, L., Toska, E., Webb, D., Carlqvist, A., Sherr, L. 2019. Improving lives by accelerating the Sustainable Development Goals for adolescents living with HIV. The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health, 3, 245-254.DOI:

Dyer, C. E., Campeau, L., Toska, E., Cluver, L. & Hodes, R. 2019.  Are youth living with HIV in South Africa reaching the Sustainable Development Goals? CSSR Working Paper No. 434.  Cape Town: Centre for Social Research, University of Cape Town. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.17602.32960

Casale, M., Boyes, M., Pantelic, M., Toska, E., & Cluver, L. 2019. Suicidal thoughts and behaviour among South African adolescents living with HIV: Can social support buffer the impact of stigma? Journal of Affective Disorders, 245, 82-90. DOI:

Jane Kelly

Research Officer: HEY BABY UKRI GCRF Accelerating Achievement for Africa's Adolescents (Accelerate) Hub

Jane KellyJane is a research officer in the Centre for Social Science Research at the University of Cape Town where she supports research activities on the Helping Empower Young Parents Brought up in Adversity with their Babies and Young children (HEY BABY) project and the Adolescent Engagement and Participation team at the Accelerate Hub. She is a lead investigator in a sub-study of experiences of healthcare providers during COVID-19 with a focus on adolescent service provision to adolescent mothers and adolescents living with HIV. Jane has a background in psychological research and experience working in both academic and government settings, including in local government using routine data to inform policies and programming for violence reduction.


Contact details:   

Jane's CV available here

Latest publications

Kelly, J., & Ward, C. L. (2020) Narratives of gang disengagement amongst former

gang members in South Africa. Criminal Justice and Behaviour.

Kelly, J., McKinney, E. & Swift, O. (2020). Strengthening teacher education to

support deaf learners. International Journal of Inclusive Education.

McKenzie, J., Kelly, J., Moodley, T., & Stofile, S. (2020). Reconceptualising teacher

education for teachers of learners with severe to profound disabilities. International Journal of Inclusive Education.

Bhana, A., Abas, M., Kelly, J., van Pinxteren, M., Mudekunye, L., Pantelic, M. (2020). Mental health

interventions for adolescents living with HIV or affected by HIV in low- and middle-income countries – A systematic review. BJ Psych Open.

Bhana, A., Govender, K., McMurray, K., Kelly, J., Theron, L., Ward, C., Tomlinson, M. (2018). South

African work on the well-being of young people (2000-2016). South African Journal of Psychology.

La Mottee, C., & Kelly, J. (2018). Behind the blackboard: Reviewing educators’ experiences of

school violence in South Africa. Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology, 30, 46-67.

Kelly, J., & Ward, C. L. (2017). Women who drank while pregnant: The importance of social context

in the lives of South African pregnant women. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, 1-8.

Lachman, J., Kelly, J., Cluver, L., Ward, C.L., Hutchings, J., & Gardner, F. (2016). Process evaluation

of a parenting program for low-income families in South Africa. Research on Social Work Practice, 1-15.

Ward, C. L., Gould, C., Kelly, J., Mauff, K. (2015). Spare the rod and save the child: Assessing the

impact of parenting on child behaviour and mental health. South African Crime Quarterly, 51, 9-22.

Kelly, J., & Ward, C.L (2012). Narratives of resilience after a period of substance abuse and crime.

Journal of Drug and Alcohol Studies, 11, 1, 45-54.

Lauren Baerecke 

Research Project Manager

Lauren is research officer in the Centre for Social Science Research at the University of Cape Town where she holds the role of Research and Project Manager for ParentApp, a project developing and testing an app based version of the evidence-based PLH for Parents and Teens programme. A seasoned monitoring and evaluation (M&E) practitioner with over 10 years of project and programmatic experience in the donor, NGO and public sector in South Africa, Lauren has experience in the development, implementation, and evaluation of programmes in the fields of gender-based violence (GBV), adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) and HIV prevention. Notably, she has led the implementation of a national GBV programme for sexual violence victims and the development of electronic M&E systems as part of large-scale donor-funded programmes in South Africa. Lauren’s research interests include issues related to violence against young people, with a focus on sexual violence, and the delivery and effects of programmes in practice in low- and middle-income countries. She holds an MA in Psychological Research from the University of Cape Town and is planning to pursue her doctorate, focusing on the implementation of ParentApp within a randomized controlled trial and the intersection with gender-based violence.  

Contact Details: 


Lauren's CV available here

Latest publications:

Thomas, K.G.F., Baerecke, L., Pan, C.Y., Ferret, H.L. (2019). The Boston Naming Test-South African Short Form, Part I : Psychometric properties in a group of healthy English-speaking university students. African Journal of Psychological Assessment. DOI:  ://

Baerecke, L. (2017, October). Finding Justice Outside the Courts.

Mathews, S., Govender, R., Lamb, G., Boonzaier, F., Dawes, A., Ward, C., Duma, S., Baerecke, L., Warton, G., Artz, L., Meer, T., Jamieson, L., & Smith, R. (2016). Towards a More Comprehensive Understanding of the Direct and Indirect Determinants of Violence Against Women and Children in South Africa with a View to Enhancing Violence Prevention. Safety and Violence Initiative, University of Cape Town: Cape Town.

Hillary Musarurwa

Junior Researcher Fellow: UKRI GCRF Accelerating Achievement for Africa's Adolescents (Accelerate) Hub, Work Package 3 Coordinator

Hillary is a social entrepreneur and an avid campaigner for youth empowerment with experience accumulated in the financial services and community development sectors Hillary’s research interests include financial and social inclusion, social entrepreneurship, social business model innovation, youth participation, financial capability, financial wellbeing and mental health of adolescents and youth. He holds a DPhil in Public Administration - Peace Studies from the Durban University of Technology and an MPhil in Inclusive Innovations from the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business. He is also the founder of Practical Empowerment & Networking Youth Association (PENYA) - an NGO that runs dynamic youth empowerment and economic upliftment programs in Zimbabwe and South Africa.



Contact details:

Email :  

Hillary’s CV is available here

Latest publications:

Musarurwa, H. J. (2021). Using Social Entrepreneurship to Reverse

Barriers to Socio-economic Youth Participation: An Example from Zimbabwe in Enterprise and Economic Development in Africa. Struthers, J., Nziku, D. (eds) London: Emerald Publishing Limited. 

Musarurwa, H. J. 2019. Using mixed-methods in an action research on youth participation. SAGE Research Methods Cases. DOI :


Genevieve Haupt Ronnie

Research Officer: UKRI GCRF Accelerating Achievement for Africa's Adolescents (Accelerate) Hub, Work Package 5 Coordinator


Genevieve is a researcher with interest in education and equality as well as mental health issues related to social inequalities.  Before joinng the Accelerate Hub she worked as a researcher and project manager on a number of collaborative research studies investigating personal mobile devices used in teaching and learning in the Center for Innovation in Learning and Teaching at UCT. Prior to this, Genevieve worked in the Education and Skills Development Unit at the Human Sciences Research Council from 2009-2015 as a junior researcher in the areas of social justice and inequalities in the broader realm of education. She holds a Master's degree in Research Psychology from the University of the Western Cape and will be completing her PhD in the near future.


Contact details:

Email :

Office : Room 4.29 Centre for Social Science Research, Leslie Social Science Building

Genevieve’s CV is available here

Latest publications

Czerniewicz, L., Trotter, H. & Haupt, G. 2019. Online teaching in response to student protests and campus shutdowns: Academics' perspectives. International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education, 16 (43). DOI:

Lucas Hertzog

Research Officer: UKRI GCRF Accelerating Achievement for Africa's Adolescents (Accelerate) Hub, Work Package 2 Coordinator

Lucas is a sociologist interested in the relationship between work and digital technologies. His work focuses on secondary quantitative data analyses of existing or recently collected datasets, from studies that test impacts across multiple shared Sustainable Development Goals outcomes for adolescents. Lucas holds a PhD in Sociology from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (2019), an MSc in Sociology (2015), and BA in Social Sciences (2012) from the same university. Previously, he has worked as a Lecturer in Social Sciences at the Federal University of Fronteira Sul, and as a Researcher at the Brazilian Ministry of Justice.


Contact details:


Office: Room 4.41, Centre for Social Science Research, Leslie Social Science Building

Lucas’ CV is available here

Latest publications

Hertzog, L. & Mello, L.  (accepted) An intersectional approach to inequalities: Ruptures with hierarchical views. Contemporânea, Sociology Journal of UFSCAR.

Hertzog, L. 2019. Between the spectacularising of everyday life and working-class pragmatism: Theoretical elements for understanding subjectivities on YouTube. Inter-Legere, 2(26), 1-24. DOI: 1662.2019v2n26ID15946