About the Young Advocates

Alice, 18, Portugal

Alice has been a volunteer at the Associação Para o Planeamento da Família (APF) since 2019. She was the first member of her region’s youth group. At the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020 she participated in IPPF’s and YSAFE’s project “Safe from SGBV”. As a response to the COVID-19 crisis, her youth group opened a successful Instagram account to spread information and raise awareness about SRHR. She also volunteered at AFS, an intercultural-exchange program association for the past 6 years, where she developed several intercultural relationships tools and organising activities with youth from across the globe.

Her main areas of interest are human rights protection, women’s and LGBT+ rights more specifically. She has a great passion for the human mind, art, literature and nature. Fun fact: I have jumped out of a plane once! Turns out I really love skydiving!

Ana Rodriguez, 27 Belgium

Ana is German and Spanish and has been working in Brussels since 2018. Already during her studies, where she was a student representative, she has actively participated in improving the level of equality of her fellow students. During this time, she had also worked at a research institute focusing on youth and educational television. Here, she had conducted various analyses related to gender equality.

The main outcome of many of these analyses was the continuous challenges faced by girls and young women, even in European countries that are expected to be foreriders. This is one of the main reasons why, as a Youth Ambassador for the ONE Campaign Belgium, she decided to join EWAG and raise her voice to make the world fairer and more equal for girls and young women. In particular, she wishes to support their freedom to choose, by ensuring equal access to education and reaching economic and political empowerment.  

Annelies Coessens, 26, Belgium

Being a multilingual Belgian citizen, Annelies has lived in various countries allowing her to receive an international education. When living in Canada, Annelies completed a BA in Advanced International Hotel Management at the Quebec Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management and pursued another BA in Political Science and Women’s Studies at Concordia University. This summer, Annelies completed her MSc in Development and International Relations, specializing in Global Gender Studies at Aalborg University.

 Annelies volunteered in different organizations, such as Amnesty International and UNYA, which furthered her interest in Gender Equality, Human Rights, and International Relations. As an aspiring diplomate, she seeks to work in security and defense, which led her to write her thesis on nuclear disarmament and feminist foreign policy. She aims to have an impact on getting more young girls and women involved in the field of security and defense. A fun fact about Annelies is that she has lived in 8 countries and the longest she lived in one country was for 6 years.

Anouk, 27, Belgium

Anouk defines herself as an aspiring Global Citizen. She lives in Belgium and she is currently working as an immigration consultant at a lawyer’s office. She is passionate about the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda and wrote her Master thesis in International Relations about this topic. She’s had many different volunteering experiences, most notably with Amnesty International and AIESEC. Some of the issues she has been working on through volunteering are universal education, human rights and sustainable development. A fun fact about Anouk is that she lived in 5 countries for more than 3 months!

Aynalem, 23, Ethiopia

Aynalem is a youth champion in Hawassa, where he is involved in raising awareness and providing training for the young people working in the industrial parks – major hubs of employment for young people in Ethiopia. He feels passionately about ensuring that the many young people working in the parks are engaged on various issues that impact them, including sexual and reproductive health issues.

Burnice, 24, Kenya

Burnice’s passion for adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights is fuelled by the numerous challenges faced by young women and girls in her area, particularly increasing rates of teenage pregnancy. Burnice advocates for youth rights, at the local, national, and international levels, successfully securing increased funding for youth-focused projects, including youth-friendly family planning services, as well as informing national policy processes.

Chansa, 14, Zambia

Chansa is passionate about the fact that every child has to have the right to be protected from harm. Harm might affect a child physically, mentally and emotionally. She believes that girls have the right to be removed from dangerous living situations and be protected from abuse. What interests Chansa the most is the perspective that Zambian culture has concerning gender equality. She thinks that society should not limit girls from achieving something that they are passionate about and that girls and women can do the same jobs that men can.

She wants to become a biomedical engineer to show people that despite being a girl, she can still do things that males can do. She wants to give a voice to those that think lowly of themselves thinking they cannot go further in their education because they are female.

Chilekwa, 17, Zambia

Chilekwa wishes to contribute towards the end of patriarchal customs that have been taken up as a norm and bring about inequality not only at educational level but nationally, if not globally. Speaking from a male point of view Chilekwa has seen firsthand just how impactful a woman’s role in everyday life can be, and the fact that they are not being given the opportunity to speak freely or more often on the basis of cultural aspects is surely disheartening, because he genuinely believes they are the future, given the perfect opportunity to express themselves. 

The goal he is currently working towards is to become a lawyer, which symbolises what he stands for, which is justice. This is especially true after looking into the fact that there have been many people that have been incarcerated because of having an incompetent Legal Representative.  He hopes to one day be the stepping-stone to a large change in the legal fraternity.

Chilufya, 16, Zambia

Chilufya is passionate about seeing child participation in our country. She believes that children need to be involved and included in decision making, especially in matters that affect them. What interests her a lot is seeing girl children acquiring education, because if a girl child is educated, you educate the whole nation. She wants to achieve a lot in life, because she had the privilege of going to school. Those who have the privilege of going to school should help others and make a better tomorrow.

Christine, 18, Zambia

Christine’s passion is to learn new things and helping others find their passions in different ways. She believes in equal participation and that if everyone is given a chance to participate, give their own views on issues and speak about their challenges in life and what they go through, they can enjoy a better Africa in general and a better Zambia in particular.

She is interested in participation because this is the way to learn different things and get to know more about other people from different age groups. What she wants to achieve is to make children to know about their rights and be able to voice out their views in life and the problems that they face.

Claudia, 22, Ghana

Claudia volunteers with the Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG) and is currently the National President of its youth wing called the Youth Action Movement (YAM), as well as the Chairperson for the West Africa Anglophone YAM sub region. She is a Youth Advocate and a Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Activist. 

Claudia is engaged in quite a number of advocacy activities in relation to the rights of the girl child and women, including partaking in affirmative action walks to sensitize the public on the need to include women in decision making, to ensure equitable distribution of resources,  and to fight against discrimination against women, in school and out of school; outreaches to empower and build the capacities of young girls by holding Life Planning Skills (LPS) trainings for them; and engagement with some stakeholders, religious and community leaders on issues relating to the rights of the girl child. Claudia organises the members of her association, the Youth Action Movement, to actively engage and participate in the fight to end child marriages in Ghana, whilst partnering with likeminded organisations like the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA). 

Two major questions interest Claudia and she hopes to discuss them with the EU decision makers: violence against women and girls, and access to quality education and health services for women and girls. 

Delphine, 34, Cameroon

Delphine Konda is a young Cameroonian women’s rights advocate and founder of Girls Excel, an organization promoting access to reproductive health education for adolescent girls and young women in vulnerable communities in Cameroon. With over 10 years of experience working in women’s rights issues, Delphine’s efforts have supported over 14,000 girls and young women in Cameroon with access to reproductive health education, sanitary pads, and leadership skills. In the past, she has worked on different youth initiatives funded by the AU and the North South Centre of the Council of Europe.

 A graduate of Media, Communication and Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science, she has received international recognitions such as Moremi leadership for women leaders in Africa, Crans Montana leader of the future award.

Dora, 17, Zambia 

Dora is a 17-year-old activist from the Northern part of Zambia. She is the firstborn in her family, with one younger sister and her two parents. Her father runs a small business and her mother is a social worker working with an NGO. Dora is currently studying in grade 12 and her favorite subject is Biology. She loves to dance and enjoys reading. Living in a community where the voice of a girl child is not heard or valued, she was stimulated to take an active role as a child advocate to stand in for the voiceless. As a result of her active participation, the school authorities encouraged her to join a young journalist club which has amplified her voice through community engagement on radio and reaching out to law enforcers in her community. She will be taking part in EWAG for the second year in a row.

Dorothy, 20, Uganda

Dorothy is a youth champion from Twezimbe Youth Club, in the Mityana District of Uganda. She is passionate about family planning and sanitation. Dorothy has attended numerous budget consultation meetings at the local level, following up on the commitments of the leaders from her parish and district level. Her advocacy work has been focused on development issues and sanitation, for example, she has been calling for improvements in road infrastructure to improve the accessibility of outreach activities within communities, and the construction of a borehole to provide clean water.

Elena, 28, Greece

Elena comes from Greece and is 28 years old. Having a legal background, she is passionate about EU law and international relations. At the age of 7, she joined the local Scout troop in her neighbourhood and in her early 20’s, she joined the Greek Guiding Association as a Leader in the Brownie section. Elena is a volunteer in External Relations for WAGGGS Europe Region, representing WAGGGS along with fellow Guides and Scouts in European fora. The areas of her advocacy interest are gender equality, non-formal education and empowerment of girls and young women through WAGGGS’ unique model. Her favourite breakfast is a “koulouri”, a Greek sesame bread ring!

Elsabet, 19, Ethiopia

Elsabet is a youth champion from Dangila in Ethiopia. She’s passionate about awareness creation among young people, for example through organising documentary screenings that help inform young people about issues of gender based violence, drug abuse and sexually transmitted diseases. Elsabet has also been involved in implementing projects relating to the production of sanitary pads.

Gin 21, Belgium 

Gin is a 21-year-old student of social-economics sciences at the University of Antwerp in Belgium. She firmly believes that everyone should have the right to a quality education, and that education for girls is the key to so many more equal rights and can only be beneficial.

She cares a great deal for others and is very passionate to contribute to a more equal society. From this passion she has taken part in quite a few volunteering projects, amongst others via Bouworde and in AIESEC. The latter one is a youth-led organization where we strive to develop youth leadership to help young people reach their full potential. This purpose is also one that Plan International serves. Gin joined the Youth Advisory Panel of Plan International Belgium a little over a year ago and she is so happy to be able to fight for girls’ rights with like-minded people around her. She believes that together we can achieve so much more. Recently she has also joined the board of Plan Belgium

Grace, 19, Zambia

Grace is passionate about seeing every child out there having a voice to speak out on things that they need, what affects them and the change they need. What’s interesting about her is that she is very social and  a game changer. What interests Grace in life is the gift of being a girl who has a word in society.

 Habiba, 23, Tanzania

Habiba is youth champion originally from Songea Region in Southern Tanzania. Habiba is very passionate about community action and volunteerism, especially on issues related to health and environment. She has been active with student organisations, on environmental topics and supporting students with life skills, health, volunteerism and leadership. In the future, Habiba is looking forward to continue performing community action, especially sensitising and training fellow youth on health, environmental and entrepreneurship issues.

Hiqmat, 20, Ghana

Hiqmat is a 19-year-old young female advocate who comes from the Upper West region of Ghana where there are relatively high situations of Gender Inequality including child marriage, early pregnancy and low priority placed on female education. Her own experiences and the lives of women and girls in her community inspired her and some colleagues to form the Hiquie Sung Joy Network and the Young Female Influencers Group to tackle some of these issues. She engages communities and young girls on girls empowerment and equality. She also leads the Smart and Ideal Muslimah Project which seeks to reduce the gender gap in technology, and inspire girls’ interest in Science and Technology. 

Hiqmat is pursuing Biological sciences in the university and passionate about contributing her quota to the development of her community and the world at large. She is interested in Science, Law, Banking, Entrepreneurship and Technology and does creative writing and graphic designing as a hobby.

Jackline 24, Uganda

Jackline is an advocate in Plan International Uganda working on gender-based violence against women and adolescent girls in Kampala. She also works hand in hand with the duty bearers to make cities safer for adolescent girls and young women. They managed to identify dark spots and lobbied for street, security lights and road surveillance cameras that were installed on the roads. 

She has also been a community facilitator in “Champions of Change”, a Plan International’s campaign. This project has helped girls become assertive and body confident. Jackline also works with Aga Khan Foundation on SRHR and provides free family planning services to young girls. Jackline also works with Red Cross Uganda on COVID-19-related issues and the best way they can maintain the SOPs.

 John Jessy, 22, Uganda

John Jessy is a youth champion from the Mukono district of Uganda. He feels passionate about the importance of amplifying the voices of young people in Uganda with a focus on reproductive health and family planning financing.

Through his advocacy work and participation in the technical working group meetings and budget conferences to present issues concerning young people in regards to family planning and sexual and reproductive health, he has contributed to increased domestic funding allocation to family planning in the community and at Mukono district level.

Kevin, 23, Kenya

Kevin is a youth champion in Trans Nzoia County, Kenya. While at school, Kevin joined school health clubs and associations, where he learned basic communication and peer counseling skills on health-related matters, specifically reproductive health. Kevin’s local youth group initiated the ‘pad per girl’ initiative, aimed at providing sanitary towels to young girls from vulnerable families. Kevin is involved in local and international advocacy, participating in discussions on the need for greater investment in family planning.

Khonaf 20, Sweden/UK

Khonaf is a 20 year old university student based in London. She has been a volunteer at the organization Plan International Sweden since 2019. In 2020 her first experience with EWAG began, since then she has been educated in many subjects such as ”women leaders” and girl empowerment thanks to her participation in the Reykjavik forum 2020 event. She has been an active advocate for women rights on social media and celebrations like the international girls day. She have enjoyed every step of her Plan journey up until today and is so happy to be part of the international organizational both in Sweden and UK, where she recently became a YAP.

She loves international zoom calls such as the one she had with Yap members from Omen, because it makes her more engaged and meeting other young people with different backgrounds adds more diversity to her viewpoint on subjects about women. Among the new perspectives she got, the main areas she discussed was about menstruation and the consequences of “becoming a woman” in different countries both in Asia and Europe. Her focus and interest are on girl rights, leadership and youth participation.

Laiza, 13, Zambia

Laiza is passionate about becoming a lawyer because she wants to help people without a voice and help innocent people without the money they need to have justice. She is also passionate about helping people who are less privileged and do not have shelter and enough food to eat. She is interested in uplifting and helping other people who are less privileged and is also interested in outdoor activities that help her learn and understand more information such as visiting orphanages and many other places. She wants to make a difference in the world by balancing and creating justice for everyone.

Laiza also wants to make her parents and everyone around her proud and knows she will achieve her goals if she works hard, concentrate and believe in herself.

Laura, 32, UK/France

Laura, 32, is a dual French and British national who grew up in the UK and now lives in Belgium. She has a Masters in European Studies with a focus on human rights and currently works in foreign policy and development. Her goal is to advocate for a better world, part of which includes sustainable development especially in light of the current climate crisis, and is the reason why she has been a Youth Ambassador for The ONE Campaign for 2 years running. Her main interests are gender equality, girls’ right to education and women empowerment.

Maja 21, Sweden

Maja is a 21-year-old university student-teacher based in Stockholm. She has been a volunteer at the organization Plan International Sweden since 2015. At the end of 2019 she participated in EWAG in Brussels. She has been educated in the subject of ”Teenage girls in crisis and conflicts” and has also been a moderator in different events. Since 2016 she is also an observant in the Swedish board of Plan International. 

She has enjoyed her Plan journey so far and is so happy to be part of the organization. In 2017 she was traveling with the organization to Indonesia and met other young people, after that she became even more engaged. Meeting other young people with different backgrounds is very educational, since it brings a lot of new perspective. Her main areas of interest are girls rights and youth participation. She is also very invested in matters of menstrual health and  how it can affect girls future. 

Marian, 17, Zambia

Marian is really passionate about reaching out her hands to the young boys and girls in her community to come out from a place of poverty and to help them have the opportunity to utilise their creativity and to help them discover how they can use innovation to overcome their problems. She is also passionate about promoting literacy because not every child has the capacity to read or have access to education. She believes that literacy is the key to a productive life but all over Africa a huge number of children are illiterate. In the future, she would like to form a non-governmental organisation that would focus on bringing together people who are disadvantaged in one way or the other and equip them with the skills and resources they need to improve their own lives and the lives of the people around them and also help many young boys and girls in the community to get education.

Marian is interested in impacting others, creating leaders that can in turn create other leaders going through what they have overcome. What she wants to achieve in life is being able to grow her future organisation into an international organisation that will have branches all over Africa and Europe, to establish partnership with worldwide organisations like the UN.

Meebelo, 15, Zambia

Meebelo is quite passionate about education because he has seen people get empowered and succeed through it, and feels that if everyone is given an equal opportunity to high quality education at a young age up until the moment they graduate, Africa would become more productive. He is interested in equality because he feels like there is no good reason to treat someone as less of human based on their looks, social status or gender. One of his short-term goals is to try and have as much of an impact with the platform he has been given not only on children in Zambia but possibly Africa too.

Michelle, 23, Malawi

Michelle G.Phiri is a youth advocate passionate about sexual reproductive health (SRHR) gender equality since 2016. She is a National President for Youth Action Movement (YAM) and sits on the FPAM Board of trustees as a youth representative. She has been involved in several campaigns asking for equal participation of women and girls rights. In 2017 she participated in the African Union’s summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where along with her fellow youth advocates presented an outline of how early child marriages have negatively impacted girls in different countries and pleaded for the revision of the legal age of marriage which resulted in in a legislative change Malawi.

She has facilitated and trained 50 young people on issues such as gender inclusiveness, SRHR and leadership and continues to help young people through peer teaching in her community. Lastly, Michelle is a trained teacher in humanities with a Bachelors Degree in Education, Social Studies and highly passionate about early childhood development education.

Michelle 21, Zimbabwe

Michelle is a 21-year-old advocate that comes from one of the high-density suburbs in the capital city of Zimbabwe. She describes herself as a soft spoken and ambitious young woman, whom most describe as a social butterfly. Having seen first hand the sad realities and experiences that young women like herself go through due to poverty and lack of education,  she developed  a great passion to better the lives of young girls and women by advocating for their right to education and any empowerment opportunities. Education has proven to be the poverty cycle breaker, a fact that Michelle witnessed when she served as junior councillor for her ward at the Harare City Junior Council.

She was also the team president for the Boost Enactus club in Africa for her university, which gave her the opportunity to work with young women and girls and young men with income generating projects and initiatives. Seeing the smiles and appreciation from other young women gave her the reason to major and attain a degree in social work. Currently, Michelle is part of a youth-led organisation that works with Plan International and aims to empower young people and protect them from any harm by providing them with entrepreneurial skills and opportunities for decent work and income. Last but not least, this year she has been granted the opportunity to be one of the young advocates for EWAG and feels grateful and excited to be part of this life-changing initiative as she feels like she finally has a  platform to voice her views and rights on behalf of all those beautiful young girls in this world for they are worthy and deserving of this opportunity.

Mwanaima, 23, Tanzania

Mwanaima is a youth champion from Tanga, Eastern Tanzania. She became a peer educator while a student at the University of Dar es Salaam. She is passionate about education, and sharing information, and she has done a lot of work educating young people about issues relating to sexual and reproductive health and rights. Mwanaima is also passionate about advocating for better sexual and reproductive health and rights services for people with disabilities and amplifying youth voices.

Nancy, 16, Sierra Leone

At only 16, Nancy has been a Young Leader with World Vision in Sierra Leone for 3 years now. She is very active in her community and participates in street sensitization on ending violence against children. She also raises awareness on the radio to serve as a voice of the voiceless and engages with stakeholders such as religious leaders, authorities, district medical officers, etc. She is particularly proud of her engagement in the “It Takes a World to End Violence Against Children” campaign and advocates to end gender-based violence and violence against children in her community. This engagement was reinforced in the midst of COVID-19, as she called on her government to prioritise children’s issues in their pandemic response in Sierra Leone. She will be taking part in EWAG for the second year in a row.

In her free time, Nancy enjoys dancing, especially African dance-hall and afrobeat such as shaku shaku.

Peace 21, Nigeria

Peace is a young advocate raising her voice against gender-based violence and ensuring that the voice of young girls will be heard. She is from Benue state in Nigeria and she is a third-year economics student at the University of Abuja. Peace has been involved with Plan International Nigeria and other NGOs for over 2 years. Her goal is to see the end of gender-based violence as well as to see girls’ voices being heard. She feels very excited to be part of this year’s EWAG.

Tenema, 17, Sierra Leone

Tenema is a 17-year-old child activist and a young journalist with World Vision in Sierra Leone. She has been actively engaged in several campaigns, sensitization and radio discussion programs to raise awareness on issues affecting children, especially within her community. Through World Vision, she was able to use platforms where she can interact and meet with government officials and stakeholders in her community and talk about issues affecting children. Through her advocacy, she sees that she is successfully able to transform the lives of other children and create a lasting impact.

Tenema is currently awaiting to enter university and hopes to become a lawyer for human rights in the future.

Ukevwe, 19, Zambia

Ukevwe is passionate about seeing every child having a voice to speak out on their needs, what affects them and the change they need. She would describe herself as very social and a game changer. What interests her in life is the gift of being a girl who has a word in society.