- Age: 25
- | He/him/his
Country of Origin:
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Social problems affecting our communities today have a disproportionate impact on women and girls. To address these issues effectively, it is important to adopt an intersectional feminist perspective. This means considering the multiple, intersecting identities and experiences of individuals when designing solutions. By doing so, we can ensure that no one is left behind and that the solutions we come up with are inclusive and effective for all.
- Nhial Deng
Nhial Deng is a 24-year-old South Sudanese refugee, writer, youth advocate, community activist and organizer. He spent 11 years in the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya and now attends Huron University in Canada. As a youth leader and community activist in Kakuma, Nhial initiated several projects in the camp to help young people build better futures such as the Refugee Youth Peace Ambassadors and SheLeads Kakuma. He is passionate about the role of education, mentorship, and social entrepreneurship as powerful tools for young refugees to build better futures and communities and his work revolves around quality education, gender equity, and peacebuilding. Today, while pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Global Affairs and Digital Communications, Nhial is active in the advocacy space for refugees, education, intersectional feminism, and meaningful youth engagement. Currently, Nhial is working on Kakuma Book Drive, a global student-led solidarity movement working towards mobilizing 10,000 textbooks, laptops, and funding for a library & community centre for young people in Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp.
What ignited your pursuit for gender equality?
During my time at the Kakuma refugee camp, I observed the disproportionate impact of social problems on young women and girls. To combat this, we made the decision to integrate an intersectional perspective into all our programs. This later resulted in the creation of SheLeads Kakuma, a streamlined initiative dedicated to advancing gender equity.
Please share your biggest wins as an advocate for gender equality.
SheLeads Kakuma has impacted over 1,500 young women and girls in the Kakuma refugee camp through workshops, mentorship, community outreach, and advocacy initiatives. Our focus is on empowering them as advocates and leaders for women's rights and gender equity. Our programs have enabled our alumni to receive scholarships for their education, speak at international events, and launch their own change-making ventures within their communities.
Outside of your gender equality advocacy work, what do you enjoy doing?
I love listening to Afrobeats (I would add dancing but my dance moves are terrible). Besides listening to Afrobeats, I enjoy reading memoirs and autobiographies, watching the news and documentaries, meditating, jogging, and writing.
- English (Advanced/Native)
- Nuer (Advanced/Native)
- Swahili (Intermediate)
- French (Beginner)
- Arabic (Beginner)
- refugee education
- gender equality in humanitarian and emergency contexts
- peace and security
Past Awards, Certifications, or Fellowships:
- Global Volunteer Leadership Training - Greenpeace International (2019-2020)
- Understanding the Rights of Women & Girls - YALI Network Online Course (2019)
- Ideas for a Better World: Leading Change through Policymaking - British Council (2019)
- Health Education - International Rescue Committee (2014)
- Young African Leaders Initiative
- Global Changemaker
- SDGs Changemaker
- MLK Jr. SDGC Recognition