Liz Guantai, a 28-year-old Kenyan lawyer, is one the 117 young leaders selected for the Women Deliver program that focuses on gender equality and the health and rights of girls and women.
Guantai trains and promotes participation and justice in human rights, HIV/AIDS, and gender equality issues with communities of faith, grassroots, and pastoral settings.
Following the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, she helped lead an online campaign around Menstrual Health Day.
Together with joint multi-stakeholder efforts, Guantai is pushing for a new Kenyan policy to address menstrual health challenges.
A statement from Women Deliver said Guantai is among change makers announced on Thursday as those selected for 2020 cohort.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the world that if we truly want to deliver health, wellbeing, and dignity for all, girls, women, and young people must be front and center in emergency responses, in social and economic recovery efforts, and in how we strengthen our health systems for the long term,” said Katja Iversen, President/CEO of Women Deliver.
“As we witness young people responding to both new crises and old injustices, it’s clear their leadership is fundamental to meaningful change. The Women Deliver Young Leaders Program is here to partner with young people, elevate their leadership, amplify their voices, and share knowledge and resources during this unprecedented time and beyond.”
Women Deliver selected all the Young Leaders for their potential to have a lasting impact on the lives of girls and women.
Another candidate is Olorunisola (Sola) Rebecca Abe, a 28-year-old Nigerian journalist who reports on influential women that inspire change and speaks to young girls about menstrual hygiene and management.
With schools closed due to COVID-19, Abe has turned to her online social media platforms to share important stories and resources.
Joseph (Ekow) Amoako-Atta, a 22-year-old gender advocate from Ghana, who — inspired by his mother’s entrepreneurship — wrote a novel and distributed it to young girls in rural communities.
Since COVID-19, most of his advocacy efforts have moved online.
Divina Stella Maloum, a 15-year-old Cameroonian student who leads children’s peace movements and advocates against child trafficking and exploitation in conflict zones.
Since the pandemic, she’s joined the African Youth Resilience Initiative Against COVID-19 to help mobilize children, youth, women, and civil society against the pandemic.
Yidnekachew Mogessie, a 24-year-old Ethiopian doctor advocating for gender equality and youth-friendly reproductive health services.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, he’s been a volunteer advisor for the Ministry of Health’s Adolescent and Youth Health Technical Working Group — helping to mitigate the negative effects of the pandemic on girls and women.
“In Africa, the uneven damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to society and the economy demonstrates more dramatically than ever the need for a new approach to the continent’s growth and development — one that brings women and youth from the margins to the center of planning and action,” said Vivian Onano, a Women Deliver Board Member and alumnus of the Young Leaders Program.
The 2020 class has already driven tangible progress on a wide range of issues, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, maternal health, HIV/AIDS, LGBTQIA+ rights, peace and security, water and sanitation, gender-based violence, education, climate and environment, political participation, and youth engagement.
They will receive training and resources that extend their influence and enhance their capacity to shape programs and policies on the health and rights of girls, women, and young people.
“The Women Deliver Young Leaders Program is an excellent example of how we must cultivate dedicated leaders who are capable of bringing about this shift,” Onano added.
Since 2010, Women Deliver’s Young Leaders Program has trained and supported 700 advocates, who are tackling the challenges that girls, women, and young people face in their communities and countries.
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