The 2016 World Contraception Day Ambassadors Share Why Youth Voices Matter
On International Youth Day, Women Deliver is thrilled to announce the 2016 World Contraception Day (WCD) Ambassadors! These are 10 Women Deliver Young Leaders representing six different regions and from a variety of backgrounds. Like the six 2015 WCD Ambassadors from last year, the new Ambassadors focus on storytelling about contraception, family planning, and reproductive health for young people and adolescents. But this year's cohort reaches even more diverse communities, from micropopulations to the transgender community, and they will integrate technology and advocacy in powerful and innovative ways.
The WCD Ambassadors Project equips young people with the skills they need to collect and share digital stories about young people's sexual and reproductive health and rights. At its core, this project is about elevating youth voices and allowing young people to share their stories as an impactful advocacy tool. Below the 2016 WCD Ambassadors share why youth voices matter, on International Youth Day and beyond.
Nana Abudelsoud was motivated by patriarchal structures in her community to question the nature of gender roles and violence from a young age. She studied English and Italian at Ain Shams University in Cairo, and during that time she volunteered with Better World, carrying out an awareness campaign against sexual harassment with the NGO. She also studied fertility and its social role in rural households while living in India. After relocating to Cairo, Nana resumed her work as a freelance interpreter, working closely with scholars and journalists on topics including sexual harassment and domestic violence. Since the Egyptian uprising, Nana began working for an Etijah, an NGO focusing on youth and development projects, including issuing national identity cards for women and conducting education on sexual and reproductive health.
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Ali Kaviri is the founder of the Youth Equality Center (YEC), a youth led non-profit community enhancement organization that empowers young people, especially young girls, through enhancing their communication, technology, entrepreneurship, and life skills and educating them on sexual and reproductive health and gender issues. Ali also works the Uganda Youth Network (UYONET), a leading umbrella youth CSO network that works to mainstream young peoples’ engagement in development and governance processes. At UYONET, Ali serves as the Gender point-person and as a Program Assistant for the Youth Advocacy and Engagement program. Ali was President of the Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE) Young Leaders Alumni Association (FYLAA), a youth non-profit with a membership of over 500 that grew out of the larger FOWODE.
Makananelo Ramoholi is the co-founder and director of the Development and Leadership Centre, a young women and girls’ organisation in Lesotho. She is a lawyer by profession and is currently studying her Masters in Women's Law at the Southern Eastern African Regional Centre for Women's Law (SEARCWL) in Zimbabwe. Makananelo has carried out various workshops and campaigns aimed at empowering young women, having worked with One Billion Rising for Justice, Akina Mama wa Africa, and the Africa Research Foundation for the Safety of Women. Prior to working for Development and Leadership Centre she worked for Women and Law in Southern Africa Research and Education Trust Lesotho.
Melissa Fairey is a 24 year old international development graduate who is passionate about community development and youth advocacy. She has lived abroad in Chile, Georgia and Indonesia working on development projects, and currently works in research for the Government of Canada. Melissa advocates for youth involvement in democracy and the promotion of the rights of women and children globally.
Trang Le is a lecturer for the Faculty of Social Work at the Vietnam Trade Union University. Previously, Trang was a social worker, providing direct support services for survivors of domestic violence, lesbians, and children who have been bullied. She recently turned her interest to research, focusing mostly on gender-based violence, sexual orientation discrimination, and sexual and reproductive health and rights. Trang is a gender activist who believes in advocacy through an evidence-based approach.
Franklin Gnanamuthu works as Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator at Restless Development, a youth-led development agency. Franklin joined the organization in 2011, and was instrumental in starting and leading the Comprehensive Sexuality Education program in the two districts of state of Bihar reaching more than 8,000 youths through 8 volunteers. He now works to ensure program quality through developing effective monitoring systems, trainings, and evaluations. He is a skilled and experienced trainer, and serves as regular representative of the Voices of Youth in India. He has participated in several international forums and consultations which include Open Working Group meetings on the Sustainable Development Goals and ECOSAC Youth Forum in UN HQ in New York advocating for SRHR in India.
Adebisi Adenipekun is a passionate youth advocate committed to improving the health and well-being of young people, especially girls and rural/slum dwellers. He is the leader of Lighthouse Global Health Initiative (LGHI), formerly known as Health and Peace for All Initiative, a growing initiative with a mission to encourage and empower vulnerable populations to lead productive and healthy lives. Through this platform, Adebisi and his team have implemented successful public health campaigns which include the “Rural Empowerment and Health Promotion Project” (REHP-Project) for rural dwellers, and “Your Health First Campaign” targeted at empowering domestic workers. Adebisi’s commitment was recognized by Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health/Bill and Melinda Gates Institute in 2013 through a scholarship to attend the Third International Conference on Family Planning.