Youth Action Team

The CIVICUS Youth Action Team is a group of members who work for youth to be meaningfully represented and engaged in all of the alliance’s structures, governance, strategies, and activities.

The Youth Action Team champions youth engagement and civic space. Institutionally, they interface with the CIVICUS Board on specific strategic questions, and provide advice and guidance to the Secretariat on any suggested youth programming or proposals that should be considered CIVICUS priorities.

Youth engagement

The Youth Action Team define youth engagement as:

Meaningful adolescent and youth engagement is an inclusive,
intentional, mutually-respectful partnership between adolescents, youth, and adults whereby power is shared, respective contributions are valued, and young people’s ideas, perspectives, skills, and strengths are integrated into the design and delivery of programs, strategies, policies, funding mechanisms, and organizations that affect their lives and their communities.

The Youth Action Team'sgoals

Goal 1: To strengthen the role of CIVICUS Youth members as co-leaders in the design and delivery of communities of practice, programs, strategies, and policies.

Objectives:
  • To contribute to the leadership and co-design of at least three active CIVICUS Youth initiatives by the end of 2020
  • To seize opportunities for CIVICUS members and Secretariat to include young people, especially youth from marginalised communities
  • To promote an alliance wide culture of meaningful engagement of young people in the governance and policies of the alliance.

Goal 2: To create a model that inspires and champions meaningful youth engagement practices and models.

Objective:
  • To document the YAT experience in terms of governance and engagement and share it with peers via blogposts, op-eds, webinars, social media, conferences, peer-exchanges, etc.

Goal 3: To take action, in collaboration with the alliance, to promote an enabling environment and to stand in solidarity with young people facing civic space restrictions.

Objectives:
  • To amplify stories of young members facing civic space restrictions
  • To promote alternative funding models for youth-led organizations as well as the needs and realities of young people presented in the “How to resource youth-led groups and movements” playbook.

Goal 4: To develop an internal accountability mechanism that will observe, monitor, and measure youth engagement in CIVICUS.

Objectives:
  • To identify and understand CIVICUS youth members’ needs and barriers to participation.

  • To develop a YAT reporting mechanism in two levels: internally for the YAT and one for youth members.

  • To endorse or elaborate a CIVICUS YAT manifesto.

  • To review and update CIVICUS internal indicators to measure meaningful youth engagement in every area of work.

The Youth Action Team'svalues and principles

  • We work through self-initiation and personal leadership.
  • We care and support for each other.
  • We are open to being challenged.
  • We embrace diversity and respect each other’s differences.
  • Inclusion is central to our work as a team and with members.
  • Our work is informed and driven by the experiences, perspectives, and leadership of young members of the alliance.
  • We work with honesty, transparency and integrity.
  • We are active listeners and participants. We build onto what others create and propose.
  • We create space to make mistakes. We approach challenges as learning opportunities. Learning from our mistakes and adapting is what makes us grow.
  • We are flexible and adaptable. We can work through challenges and unexpected circumstances.
  • We are always seeking to improve our accountability mechanisms.
  • Passion drives our journey towards our objectives.
  • We are punctual and respectful of each other’s time and labour.

Perks

  1. Being recognized as part of an international community with some of the most inspiring young activists in the world.
  2. Have your work featured on CIVICUS platforms.
  3. Receive support from CIVICUS Youth team to develop your leadership skills and be ready to influence decision-making at global civil society networks.
  4. Improve the work you do in your local community through the incorporation of diverse global perspectives.
  5. Obtain access to different networks of support and organizations that can nurture your work.  
  6. Develop ideas into projects that can have long-term positive effects in other young people.
  7. Attend the CIVICUS Youth Assembly.
  8. Be invited as a speaker in virtual global seminars and events related to civic space, democracy and human rights.
  9. Increase your team building skills and intercultural communication through a customized program.
  10. Achieving concrete results like the development of the ‘Resourcing Youth-led Groups’ playbook or the agendas of the CIVICUS Youth Assemblies. You define how far you want to go. The sky's the limit.

Current members

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Anna Ferreira, Venezuela

#Integrity #Passion #Resilience
Leadership Anthem: Venezuela by Pablo Herrero Ibarz

Senior of Liberal Studies at Universidad Metropolitana in Caracas, Venezuela. Advocate for transforming realities through meaningful youth civic engagement, and the defense of democracy and equality in Latin America. Dedicated to sustainable education and building leadership networks, with female empowerment as a key goal. Exercised leadership roles in the National Student Movement of Venezuela for over 3 years, in elected positions of representation of youth demands towards national authorities, civil society, and the international community. Designed and implemented non-violence practices and protocols to over 40 student protests with over 1 million participants from 2017 to 2019. Elaborated a diagnosis of 26 universities in 13 states of Venezuela, on behalf of fighting for institutional autonomy and sustainability, as well as building a network for national youth participation.  Currently serving as Director of Female Leadership in the NGO Proyecto Base. Founder of “El Círculo”, a Latin American Female Leadership network with participants from 7 countries, thriving to cooperate and impulse active female leadership and critical mass in the region, based on shared perspectives. Founder of Women in Business Venezuela, an undergraduate network for professional guidance. Member of the Latin American Public Servants Network of the Botín Foundation, and the UNIMET Honorary List.

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René Díaz, Honduras

#Activism #Passion #Diversity
Leadership Anthem: We Are the Champions by Queen

René Díaz is 29 years old and a master's student in economics. He is the founder of Ayudando a Honduras, renextbomblog, pazartistas and other projects in his country promoting social change and peacebuilding. He is a strong LGBTI activist, promoter of human rights, peace, justice and social impact. In recent years, he has focused on working closely with social entrepreneurship for the benefit of the most vulnerable adolescents and young people in Honduras.

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Sandra Sierra, Colombia

#SocialJustice #Science4ThePeople #CommunityWork
Leadership Anthem: La Vida Vale la Pena – Petrona Martínez

Sandra is a physics engineer, social human right activist and teacher. She has been a social and human right activist since the age of 17 participating and coordinating protests in Colombia for education, human rights and against police brutality. She is a strong advocate of putting science and engineering at the service of the people and not the big companies and believes and has worked for building community sustained economies. She participates in Hands on the Field, a grassroots organization committed to putting knowledge of university students and teachers at work to serve poor peasants and rural development. She is also cofounder of the People Support Network, a community organization that builds on solidarity and self-management to collectively face poverty, discrimination, health and other problems encountered specially by women and youth in poor neighborhoods in Colombia. She believes in the power of civil society movements and the leading role youth takes in them.

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Lilia Khazri, Tunisia

#Energetic #Ambitious #EngagedInCivilSociety
Leadership Anthem: Coldplay - Sky Full of Stars

Lilia Khazri is a 21-year old social activist based in Tunisia advocating gender equality, peace building and youth empowerment. She is an international relations student who is very passionate about social activism, diplomacy and changemaking. Throughout her journey with in civic engagement, Lilia worked with civil society NGOs at both national and international scale, including : IBuild Africa, Girl Up, NOW4Humanity, Paper Airplanes, AMEL Institute and many more. Currently, she is the country ambassador of Tunisia in Peace First Organization as well as a project coordinator for the Cultural Club of Ali Belhouane Tunis. In advancing the cause of youth empowerment, she is leading SPEAK UP TUNISIA and keeps believing that meaning youth engagement can build a harmonious and advanced world where everyone is included, respected and heard.

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Ian Makamara, Kenya

#Leader #SocialImpactWarrior #Compassionate
Leadership Anthem: Glorious by Macklemore

Ian Makamara is a human rights activist pursuing justice and sustainability through the action of the law. He has long held the belief that justice cannot be found exclusively within the walls of a courtroom and has therefore sought ways to bring impact to his community through youth engagement and activism. This is because through meaningful youth engagement, our societies will be able to actualise and implement more equitable policies for all.   

His journey started with the UN-SDSN Youth Kenya committee, where he was part of a team that organised multiple capacity building events, youth conferences and charity drives. He then served as the campus director for Strathmore’s inaugural Millennium Fellowship class and later on as MCN’s director of marketing, working to amplify the voices of the youth around the globe. For his efforts dedicated towards social impact, he was selected as a Top 30 under 30 Changemaker in 2019.

Currently, Ian works in the Lawyers Hub, an organisation focused on the nexus between law and technology. He is also a fellow at the Kenya Leadership and Accountability Lab, which is dedicated towards civic activism among the youth. He hopes to utilise his growing expertise in this field so as to contribute to a better future for the youth.

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Susan Sabano, Uganda

#Activist #Inclusion #CerebralPalsy
Leadership Anthem: Real Inclusion for people with disabilities

I am Susan Sabano from Uganda, 27 years old, a youth living with Cerebral Palsy. Cerebral Palsy is a disability that affects the part of the brain responsible for body coordination. I serve as a Board member at Show Abilities Uganda (SAU) which is an umbrella organization for the youth with Disability in Uganda. I perform the role of a youth advocate for the inclusion of persons with cerebral palsy where their rights and their potential needs adhere to both National and grass-root levels.

I am passionate about seeing an inclusive society having all youth (the able-bodied and those with Disabilities) being given equal opportunities without Stigmatization and Discrimination and also serving communities beyond themselves for their better wellbeing. This has been an inspiration and a cause to work in every aspect of life to make a significant change in the life of the needy, especially marginalized group.

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Daniel Nwaeze, Nigeria

#Visionary #BuildNarratives #YouthPower
Leadership Anthem: Follow The Leader – The Soca Boys

Daniel is the media and communications coordinator at Afrika Youth Movement; a youth-led movement with over 10,000 members in over 41 countries and 15 country hubs. He is passionate about everything youth, media, and information literacy. As part of his role, Daniel was responsible for media engagement of the movement and contributing to policy frameworks on the continent from the African Union to national initiatives and alliances including the Fight Inequality Youth Alliance (Denmark) and Africans Rising (Tanzania). In 2017, Daniel began engaging with UNESCO and GAPMIL to promote media and information literacy among young people globally. Daniel Nwaeze served on the CIVICUS Youth Action Team from 2019-2020.

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Mihajlo Matkovic, Serbia

#homoempathicus  #storyteller  #adventurer
Leadership Anthem: Avril Lavigne – We Are Warriors

Mihajlo is a youth worker and activist from Novi Sad, and an apolitical youth representative in the Council for Youth within the Government of the Republic of Serbia, serving his fellow youngsters and making sure their challenges are being acknowledged, voices respected, and needs met. In his many youth-related endeavours, he is focused on youth participation and activism, education, structured dialogue and co-management, and the recognition of the NFE and youth work. At the moment, he is a Board member at the Center for Youth and Social Development “Res Polis” where he puts an emphasis on employability. Besides, he’s a co-founder of Once Upon a Youth programme, writing workshops aimed at the aspiring young authors who have published a collection of engaging short stories so far. Mihajlo likes to joke that – in his free time – he’s pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in English language and literature, though, often, pens his own.

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Nikita Peck, Germany

#open-minded #determined #wholeheartedly
Leadership Anthem: Whatever it takes – Imagine Dragons

My name is Nikita Leonie Peck and I am an 18-year-old youth activist from Berlin. I study law and politics and want to fulfill my goal of becoming a judge specialized in human rights at an international court of justice. I started out as head girl of my grammar school and organized a project day about child soldiers as well as a climate strike in our town. In 2017, I became a national finalist of “Jugend debattiert”, a debating competition. Since then I am a member of the Jugend debattiert alumni association and support the competition as a juror and trainer. Within the context of “Jugend debattiert mit Spitzenkandidaten” ahead of the state elections in 2019, I debated the expansion of renewable energies with Dietmar Woidke, who is minister-president of Brandenburg. Further, as a member of the UNICEF Junior Team Berlin, I am actively involved in the development and realization of campaigns that educate the public about children’s rights and their violations, as well as the Sustainable Development Goals. Topics I am especially passionate about are youth participation, quality education, climate action and mental health.

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Mehjar Azzouz, Sweden

#YouthLeader #HealthcareWorker #Musician
Leadership Anthem: Mississippi goddam - Nina Simone

Mehjar is a youth leader based from Sweden where he’s studying medicine and global health. He is currently sitting as a board member of Amnesty International Sweden. Mehjar started as an activist in high school working with the human rights movement through different organizations such as Amnesty, the Red Cross Youth, and FIAN-Sweden. He is especially interested in the right to healthcare and its intersection with other human rights. As his activism expanded, he started becoming active in more international work through IFMSA, Terre des Hommes, Amnesty’s international networks, and meetings. As he started working on a more strategic level, the grass-root is still integrated within his work as he knows how essential it is. Mehjar has always seen youth engagement as an important part of his activism and a crucial part of the current world of activism. We are pivotal to creating change and meaningful youth engagement should systematically see us, amplify us, and listen to us. Youth involvement and more youth in leadership positions will make the movement stronger and better.

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Kejal Savla, India

#SocialArtivist #Integratedbeing #Collectiveleadership
Leadership Anthem: Planting Seeds – Nimo Patel

Kejal is the Convener of The Blue Ribbon Movement (BRM). A youth-led movement re-defining leadership structure and organizing itself as a social movement with the soul-forces of volunteers. It practices non-violent leadership through 100% consent based decision making by its members. The movement builds communities of alternative learning, action and dialogue through its events, programs and campaigns.Over the past 7 years, Kejal has been part of facilitating and implementing its civic action program (The Community Connect Fellowship). It has built leadership in 400+ youth filing 6500+ civic complaints from local communities of Mumbai. She continues to support these youth leaders who now lead initiatives in the movement. Kejal believes in the spirit of togetherness to support and jointly act. She is part of different national and local networks of youth and alternatives in India.She also engages in peace building in South Asia through the South Asian Youth Conference and has co-organized it from 2017 to 2020. She was selected as the youth representative of India at the World Forum for Democracy 2015, France and training program by Friedrich Naumann Foundation, Germany.A world with meaningful youth engagement would be painted with colours of inter-generational wisdom. It would entail re-defining leadership and decision making structures that create space for everyone to learn and creatively act together.

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Yi Kang Choo, Malaysia

#Obama #GretaThunberg #FreeLoujain
Leadership Anthem: Fight Song – Rachel Platten

Yi Kang Choo is a final year law undergraduate in Queen's University Belfast (QUB) who possesses a genuine interest in Human Rights, Education, and Mental Health-related social work. Originally from Malaysia, he has been actively involved as a volunteer and youth leader in local NGOs, co-organizing major youth learning camps and fund-raising initiatives since 10. In the UK, he is a trained NSPCC Childline Counsellor and holds various leadership positions within student organizations. He frequently advocates for the welfare of international students during the pandemic as the President of the Malaysian Students' Society of Northern Ireland, the Supreme Councillor of the United Kingdom and Eire Council of Malaysian Students, and the Founder of the Welfare Taskforce for Malaysian Students Abroad. He is also a representing delegate of QUB and Northern Ireland (NI) in the 2019 One Young World Summit. As a law student, he was invited by the QUB Human Rights Centre to contribute to NI's 2021/22 Modern Slavery Strategy, and he is also actively supporting pro-bono cases worldwide as an International Lawyers Project Legal Student Fellow. Finally, he is a member of the Global Coalition of Youth, Peace, and Security Working Group co-lead by the OSGEY.

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Sanaya Patel, India

#kind #imperfectfeminist #listener
Leadership Anthem: I'm Still Standing - Elton John

Sanaya is a youth activist and a dispute resolution lawyer practicing in Mumbai, India. She is a strong advocate for gender justice and works at the intersection of law and development. Sanaya is the Chief Legal Officer at One Future Collective (OFC), a feminist, youth-led not-for-profit, nurturing radical kindness in people, organizations, and communities, where she is involved with legal compliance, strategy, research, and community organizing. During the covid-19 lockdown, she has led OFC's open mic nights, facilitating dialogue on themes such as labor, care and rebuilding, through poetry. Sanaya believes that art, poetry, and music have the power to transform communities.

Youth Action Team 2019 - 2020

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Alan Jarandilla Núñez, Bolivia

Alan is a lawyer and passionate human rights defender from Bolivia. He serves as the Director of Policy and Advocacy of the International Youth Alliance for Family Planning, and is the Founder of Change the System (CTS), a Bolivian youth-led organization working towards sustainable development, human rights and youth participation, from a systemic change perspective. He is a vocal advocate for human rights, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and meaningful youth engagement in decision making. He believes that an intersectional and holistic approach to global issues is fundamental for addressing the issues that are central to his work. He has followed and led advocacy strategies in different international processes.

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Daniel Nwaeze, Nigeria

Daniel is the media and communications coordinator at Afrika Youth Movement; a youth-led movement with over 10,000 members in over 41 countries and 15 country hubs. He is passionate about everything youth, media and information literacy. He consulted for DW Akademie during the Media Dialogue project in sharing best media and information literacy practices between European and Nigerian young media professionals. He has led successful media campaigns to redesign narratives about young people, such as #ShapeNarratives, #SexyFarming Campaign and #iLoveMyContinent. He is also the founder of Diplomacy Opp, a platform that connects young people globally to development opportunities and media and information literacy-related learning currently with over 50,000 active membership across all platforms.

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Dragana Jovanovska, North Macedonia

Dragana is a Management Board member at the Center for Intercultural Dialogue (CID), a youth-led organisation in North Macedonia working with young people from different ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds in a post-conflict society. As part of her role, she is running an open youth centre, MultiKulti (MultiКулти), in the city of Kumanovo, where she works on her fields of expertise, including intercultural dialogue, human rights and youth participation by using integrated education. She also works as an educator on these themes with youth and adults at a local, national and international level. You can find her on Instagram: @jovanovska91.

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Jelena Mitrović, Serbia

Jelena has been an activist and volunteer since the age of 14. She has gained experience in different organisations, participating locally in the Becej Youth Association and nationally as a Governing Board Member of the National Youth Council of Serbia. She currently serves at Group COME OUT in the city of Novi Sad as a dedicated and certified youth worker with LGBT+ youth, and she is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. Her priority is to advocate for equal opportunities for all, and ensuring that youth voices are not only heard, but also listened to and accepted in decision making processes. You can find her on Instagram @jelena_mitrovicc or Twitter @_jelenamitrovic.
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Joshua Alade, Nigeria

Joshua is a sustainability advocate and a Positive Youth Development Trainer with NextGen Africa Initiative. He obtained a Bachelor's degree from the University of Lagos, Nigeria. He currently serves as a Program Officer at Sahara Foundation and the Project Coordinator of the Nigeria Youth SDGs Network. Through his work, he advocates for the rights of young people from disadvantaged communities and their active participation in the developmental agenda of his country. He tweets via @iamjoshuaalade.
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Justin Francis Bionat, Philippines

Justin is a passionate human rights defender from the Philippines. He is currently taking his Masters of Arts in Human Rights and Democratisation from the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies, Mahidol University, Thailand. He has had local, national and regional experience in human rights work for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) communities. He currently works as regional coordinator of Youth Voices Count (YVC), a regional network of young LGBTIQ persons in the Asia-Pacific region working on several sexual and reproductive health and human rights issues. He brings together both field and academic experience in human rights.
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Martín Iván Tinoco, Mexico

Martín is a young changemaker driven by a passion for human rights, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and youth participation in public policy in Mexico. He has been involved in civil society since the age of 15, having participated in local, regional and international processes related to the monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals. Martín currently serves as the Director of Fractal Effect, an organization that seeks to facilitate the meaningful inclusion of youth into decision making spaces. He is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Social Studies and Local Management at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. He tweets as @martinores.
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Natasha Chaudhary, India

Natasha is the Co-Director at Haiyya, a grassroots campaign consulting organisation based in India. She oversees larger organizational scaling and growth strategy and works on fundraising. She is a trainer, coach and strategy consultant having worked across different programs, including sexual and reproductive health and rights for women, women's voting rights, the youth climate movement, resourcing and incubation models and many more. She deeply cares about gender, health and caste issues with a focus on intersectional leadership and designing interventions that shift away from traditional service delivery models. She holds a Masters degree in Development Studies from the University of Sydney, where she advocated for and worked in the implementation of a sexual harassment policy as the Women’s Officer.
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Wiem Chamsi, Tunisia

Wiem is a Master's student in Management of Organizations with a focus on NGOs and civil society development. She studied social entrepreneurship in the University of Connecticut in the USA and she was an Ashoka Fellow. She has a passion for driving change and youth empowerment. She was chosen as a global innovation pioneer with the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent societies. She has taken part in many international youth programs (such as the North Africa UN Model, the Mediterranean University, AIESEC, Hult Prize, UNDP...) by working on solving different global issues and advocating for youth participation. She also launched the Youth For Change Sousse/Tunisia initiative to promote investment in sustainable development through youth leadership.