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Raise youth voice with NEW leadership council

by Global Fund for Children
Raise youth voice with NEW leadership council
Raise youth voice with NEW leadership council
Raise youth voice with NEW leadership council
Raise youth voice with NEW leadership council
Raise youth voice with NEW leadership council
Raise youth voice with NEW leadership council
Raise youth voice with NEW leadership council
Raise youth voice with NEW leadership council
Raise youth voice with NEW leadership council
Raise youth voice with NEW leadership council
A Screenshot From the Call (permission received)
A Screenshot From the Call (permission received)

On June 3rd GFC’s Youth Leadership Council hosted a global conversation with four GFC community leaders to talk about the impact of Covid19 on children and youth. As the Covid19 pandemic continues to unfold, the Youth Leadership Council identified the need for a public discussion focusing on the challenges of community organizations and on what their on-going relief efforts look like. GFC’s community-based partners have not only rapidly mobilized to respond to young people’s emergency needs but also plan longer-term responses to protect young people during pandemic recovery and beyond. The four leaders representing GFC community-led partners from Kenya, India, Mexico, and Moldova provided an authentic look into how children and youth are being impacted and what they have been going through to adjust their programs to the current needs.

The moderator of the global call was Mete Coban, Chair of Global Fund for Children’s Youth Leadership Council, who also amplifies youth voices sitting on GFC’s board. This event, being a great opportunity created by the Youth Leadership Council, engaged 130 partners, supporters, and other interested individuals eager to connect and recognize that children and youth are heard and valued. A question was asked during the webinar on what the participants believe worries children and youth most about Covid19. The top four responses were education (39%), physical well-being (20%), mental health (16%), and child abuse (14%).

One of the speakers, Paulina Olvera Cáñez from Espacio Migrante shared that the challenges migrant families and children on the US-Mexico border face are the increased uncertainty levels, true struggles with acquiring shelter, and inability to satisfy their basic needs. Tatiana Costev presenting Institute for Rural Initiatives in Moldova and Sudha Upadhyayula from HER Choices Foundation in India described the unexpected shifts of the situation and the urgency of figuring out how to adapt their programmes to the new context. Not being able to provide offline support to the communities anymore, they had to be creative about their solutions. In Kenya, Douglas Mwangi from Oasis Mathare came up with a technological solution through an SMS tool, enabling all their beneficiaries to access the learning content shared by the organization inconsistent with having access to the internet or a smartphone.

Douglas acknowledges they were emotionally affected by the pandemic and appreciates the way GFC’s programs team was able to hold conversations with them and talk about their well-being. “I am very thankful for the GFC team being there for us,” he said. Tatiana from Moldova generously shared, “What is important in our partnership with Global Fund for Children is how GFC supports us as a team, and how they help us to grow ourselves as individuals.” Paulina from Mexico believes one of the ways to move forward is to educate themselves on racial injustice, as one of the important topics in the current context, considering the escalated racial discrimination against indigenous and black migrants.

At the end of the webinar, the other members of the Youth Leadership Council Sunga, Nasra, Katie, and Antonina shared much appreciation of the work our community leaders do. They were truly inspired and sent encouragement and solidarity to the speakers. This was an excellent discussion and invaluable experience sharing based on the feedback we received from the participants of the webinar.


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Saro, Owena and Sunga (permission received)
Saro, Owena and Sunga (permission received)

This is a very important time for the Youth Leadership Council, as with the engagement of three new young leaders Saro Imran from Pakistan, Owena Ardra from Indonesia and Sunga Kufeyani from Malawi, the team of nine young leaders is complete now. While we welcome them on board, we celebrate the diversity, commitment and passion of all the members to create more sustainable internal structures for the Council, as well as to establish their annual goals for 2020. Please get to know our new members and stay tuned for more exciting developments about the Council.

Saro Imran

Saro is a Young Transgender Activist and Entrepreneur for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of young people, especially from marginalized communities. She has been working in the field of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights & Gender Equality working with various international organizations. She has taken part in the United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process by contributing to reports submission on SRHR issues faced by young people in Pakistan as well as the Transgender issues in Pakistan. She has also worked on different research projects aimed at understanding and highlighting the issues of marginalized communities, e.g. Antecedents of joining the transgender community and reciprocal perceptions; Feminist representation in Pakistani cinema; Understanding eunuchs through Pakistani television. Apart from that, she has also worked with UK AID & UNICEF for advocacy-based research like Choice & Voice; People's perspective about Health Services in Pakistan and Adolescents Development in South Asia respectively. She has developed a community-based organization in her region - Activists Alliance Foundation (AAGAHE), which envisions a society where all Transgender persons can live with dignity, self-respect, enjoying equal social justice and wellbeing.

Owena Ardra

Owena Ardra is a project coordinator at Yayasan Plan International Indonesia, a national NGO that works towards the fulfillment of children’s rights and equality of girls in Indonesia. The project she has been working on for two years now focuses on preventing child marriage, teenage pregnancy, and female genital mutilation in various districts of Indonesia. She is an active member of JARINGAN AKSI and represents her organization in Girls Not Brides, both are networks of organizations committed to ending child marriage by fulfilling the potential of girls. Since 16 years old, her fondness for children and high concerns for tolerance and inclusivity brought her to work closely with diverse groups of children and youths through volunteer activities, mostly those living in extreme poverty and children with disabilities. During her professional years, she has contributed to the development of various learning materials with non-profit organizations and government, such as modules to develop the village children protection group – a community-based child protection mechanism – and modules of comprehensive sexual education for adolescents with intellectual disability. This experience allowed her to initiate a global discussion group regarding MHM and disability amongst academicians, NGO workers, and MHM experts. Owena is an avid reader, writer, and independent bookshop enthusiast.

Sunga Kufeyani

Sunga Kufeyani is a Program and Project Management Professional. Very passionate about Human Rights, Education Empowerment for girls in Marginalized Communities as well as young women's participation in policy-making positions. She is a Co-Founder and COO of Loving Arms Malawi a local non-profit which works with young people in areas of abuse and education, Loving is committed to victim support and raising awareness on issues of sexual violence to encourage conversations with the hope of encouraging survivors to speak up as well as encouraging girls from marginalized communities both financially and emotionally in staying in school and pursuing their dreams. Sunga enjoys writing, creating and designing projects and campaigns. She is currently an Atlas Corps Fellow working with Philanthropy University supporting a group of community leaders in the global south. She also sits as a Board Member for Ufulu Groups a non-profit that empowers single parents with vulnerable and under-resourced backgrounds through skills training and dignified work. Previously, Sunga worked as a National Director for 2ndMilk a US organization that works with vulnerable families in Malawi providing formula and nutrition.

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*Picture by GFC, permission received.
*Picture by GFC, permission received.

During the past two months, the Youth Leadership Council undertook an important mission of engaging three new members to the Council. Commissioned to articulate and advance the needs of young peers, Youth Leadership Council aimed at ensuring diverse geographic backgrounds, identities, and experiences joining the team.

Seeking a more inclusive decision-making process and establishing good collaboration between GFC and Youth Leadership Council members we engaged three members from each team to the selection panel. “This was a participatory process allowing us, the Council members, to work hand in hand with GFC staff. We had a chance to interact more with our peer members of the Council and GFC staff during the selection, and we got to know each other better. It also allowed us to understand the views and opinions of young people from across the globe, and it was a learning experience,” shared Solomon Ndondo, Youth Leadership Council member.

We have received 107 applications from 36 countries and shortlisted 11 candidates to select 3 finalists. The panelists have made a decision based on the candidates’ background and experience, team building and networking skills, as well as their motivation to join the Council. Reflecting on the process, it was fairly difficult to make a selection among young and talented people, who represent great diversity, have reached several achievements and drive local and global social change.

After a thorough and participatory review of each application and interviews with the shortlisted young leaders, we will be happy to announce the three new members of the Council next week. We appreciate every application we received, panelists involved in the selection and would like to wish the new members a wonderful journey being part of the Youth Leadership Council.

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GFC is happy to announce that two amazing young leaders Katie and Solomon joined the Youth Leadership Council! We appreciate their interest and commitment in shaping up more participatory processes for GFC. On our way to improve understanding about youth engagement and issues affecting young people, as well as to practice a more inclusive decision-making process, we believe that Solomon and Katie are true assets and tons of inspiration.

Get to know them below.

Katie Fuhs

As the Operations and Programs Coordinator at Accountability Lab, Katie helps to build a new generation of active citizens and responsible leaders around the world by supporting young change-makers to develop and implement positive ideas for integrity in their communities. Prior to her current position, Katie facilitated the participation of international security leaders and experts from democracies around the world at the 2018 Halifax International Security Forum. Before the Forum, she worked on behalf of Global Development Incubator on the development and expansion of a West African capacity-building and youth leadership program, Emerging Public Leaders. Katie graduated cum laude from Dartmouth College, where she studied government and cultural anthropology, was a War and Peace Fellow, and played Division 1 soccer and rugby. At university, Katie also organized and led Cully’s 5k Run, raising $10,000 for the local suicide and emergency hotline.


Solomon Tawanda Ndondo

Solomon Ndondo is a 25-year-old man from Zimbabwe and is Founder and Executive Director of the Africa Rise Foundation, where he is responsible for strategic decision-making. Solomon is currently completing the final year for his BSc Honours degree in Human Resources Management at Great Zimbabwe University. Alongside his studies, he is an active volunteer, a peer educator and counselor, an advocate for human rights, and an alumnus of YALI RLC (Young African Leaders Initiative Regional Learning Centre South Africa). He is passionate about Sustainable Development Goals and the equality of humankind. In addition to the above-mentioned roles, Solomon Ndondo is an Independent Sales Dealer at Awesim Telecoms Private Limited. He is also a small-scale farmer and was a delegate to the Second African Youth SDGs Summit in Ghana Accra 2018.

*Received permission from the YLC members mentioned above. 

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Earlier this spring, GFC hosted an event introducing our Youth Leadership Council to around 30 young individuals interested in getting involved and learning more.

Committed to raising the voices of young people around the world, we were happy to talk about the opportunities to expand the Council involving new amazing members representing new geographic remits and other diversities.

The Chair of Youth Leadership Council, Mete spoke about how the Youth Leadership Council was created and how its members envision the role of the Council as an advisory body informing GFC’s strategy and helping GFC adopt a more youth-centered approach. During the first half of the meeting young people, who joined the event in DC and online, had the chance to ask insightful questions to find out more about the Council and what it means to be involved.

"What I envision for the Youth Leadership Council is a network of young, inspiring people from across the world – who are making changes to the world on a daily basis. Youth coming together around this shared ambition of the goals and values set by Global Fund for Children," explained Mete.

The second half of the event invited participants to share their thoughts and ideas to the Council. One of the main suggestions, to have clearly defined criteria and recruitment process in place for potential members, was driven by an increased interest to join the Council.

Going forward with the process of engaging new partners, the Council members are leading internal conversations on officially defining the role and purpose of the Youth Leadership Council, as well as the criteria for the new members.

It is our hope that the call for applications to join the Council will be open in mid-June – please get in touch to know more if you are interested in joining.

We welcomed guests in person, and online
We welcomed guests in person, and online
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Organization Information

Global Fund for Children

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Project Leader:
Hayley Roffey
Washington, DC United States

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