NAPS History

NAPS was founded in 2016 in Australia by Katie Acheson and Gemma Wood. NAPS is based on the founders’ mutual aim to see better collaboration between policy, program work and data. Gemma and Katie place high value on advocating for those without a voice being clearly heard or acknowledged by decision makers and seek to amplify the lived experience of the world’s more vulnerable people. Having worked on multiple projects together, including children and young people’s policy frameworks and the Australian Youth Development Index, they realised that their collective skills would make for a strong combination in helping others to build their capacity and build cohesive, practical and impactful policy. NAPS utilises the strengths of external expertise to ensure culturally appropriate best practice and enjoys fostering strong stakeholder relationships. With a deep understanding of financial and human resource constraints in many development areas NAPS strives to provide affordable and efficient advice that advocates for human rights and increased opportunity worldwide.

Founding Partners

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Gemma Wood

As a Statistician and Community Development Researcher with over 18 years of experience in research and consulting roles in the private, public and NGO sectors Gemma has maintained a focus on increased equity and opportunity, for all social groups, but particularly marginalised and vulnerable people.

She has partnered with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to prepare a framework for the National and Regional Youth Development Indexes (YDIs) and been a keynote speaker at forums focusing on evidence-based policy through the Commonwealth Secretariat and United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA).

Through her work she has led stakeholder engagement with disadvantaged groups, youth, youth organisations, government and NGOs. These consultations have been to developed a broader understanding of cohort specific issues in the regions as well as finding out what data is currently available or may be available in the future to measure development.

Reports have been written to include both statistical information and highlight topics of concern. They have been prepared for lay people as well for use by technical experts to design and implement policies relevant and evidence based for youth in the region and for data experts to set strategic goals in data collection and disaggregation for publishing. 

Following on from this work she was invited to be a part of a six person panel at the UN headquarters in New York on the 2 February 2017 to speak on “Promoting Integrated Policies for Poverty Eradication: Youth Development in the 2030 Agenda”. Gemma’s tertiary studies include Bachelor of Science (University of Canberra) — graduated with the Australian Statistical Society prize for Statistics, Graduate Certificate in Community Development (Southern Cross University), Graduate Diploma in Strategic Leadership (Skills Certifies Australia) and Business III Certificate (Canberra Institute of Technology).


Katie Acheson

Katie Acheson is an expert in Social Development and a community engagement specialist with over 2 decades experience in the community sector, various levels of government and globally with international development organisations. Much of her work has involved designing and implementing interventions to engage, empower and create collaborative communities.

She has extensive experience in social development and community engagement, including designing and implementing interventions to engage, empower and create collaborative communities. Katie is a leading youth advocate in Australia and was voted second in the Impact 25 list of most influential people in the not-for- profit sector in Australia in 2015.

Katie has developed a broad understanding of the issues facing vulnerable communities, and the social benefits that flow from empowering them. Her experiences extend from local service coordination, managing a youth refuge, to the international stage, which include a role on the Youth Development Index 2016 Advisory Panel for the Commonwealth Secretariat. Katie also has experience in community engagement across Africa, Australia and United States.

Katie holds degrees in International Development: Social Policy and Social Development (MA Manchester University), Community Services Management (Grad Dip CED), and Social Work (BSW RMIT).