Youth Advocacy Network
Just Future Alliance
YOUTH ADVOCACY NETWORK (YAN) IS COMMITTED TO PROMOTING YOUTH-INCLUSIVE POLITICAL AND PEACE PROCESSES
As an integral part of the Just Future Alliance (JFA), the Youth Advocacy Network (YAN) is committed to promoting youth-inclusive political and peace processes within international governing bodies. This network brings together young individuals from target JFA countries, namely Afghanistan, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Niger, and South Sudan. Each member brings comprehensive experiences and expertise in local peacebuilding and advocacy, contributing to the collective strength of the network.
In 2022, the YAN actively participated in training sessions and workshops rooted in the Common Ground Approach to Advocacy. They specifically focused on international advocacy and engaged with EU policy makers during a visit to Brussels. Their efforts aimed to amplify the voices of youth, specifically advocating for increased funding for youth-led peacebuilding initiatives.
This year, the YAN is set to expand its impact through local advocacy missions. This aligns with JFA’s broader goal of promoting meaningful youth engagement in global peace and conflict advocacy. By delving into new areas within the Youth, Peace, and Security (YPS) agenda, the YAN will build upon their refined advocacy skills from the previous year. Their initiatives will encompass local and international spheres, affirming their dedication to driving positive transformations in their communities and amplifying the voices of young individuals in shaping global peace agendas
Meet the Youth Advocacy Network members
Dr. Pacis-Alarine Irambona, Burundi
Dr. Pacis-Alarine Irambona, is a medical Doctor by profession, a Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) Adolescent & Gender Justice Consultant, a Menstruation Champion and a Pan African Peace Activist. Recognized as one of the 100 Faces of Hope in Africa in 2021 by the Coalition of Women on Peace in Africa, she has participated on the United Nations Commission on Population and Development (UNCPD54) as a young delegate.
To follow Pacis on Twitter: @PacisAlarine
Dr. Pacis’ commitment to equipping, educating, and mobilizing the young generation and voiceless communities is reflected in her role as the founder and CEO of WeUp For Future (WUFF-Burundi). This Burundian non-profit aims to create a healthier and safer space through education and empowerment initiatives for young people and women.
Dr. Pacis is also the author of the groundbreaking book “La Goutte de Dignité” (The Dignity Drop), the first-ever book on menstruation released in Burundi. The book represents a strategic approach to fighting period poverty in low-income countries by educating communities on how to make reusable and washable pads.
When asked about her learnings from her time with the YAN this year, Dr. Pacis enthusiastically shared that “One of the valuable lessons I have gained is the art of networking with fellow youth advocates. Through meaningful connections, I have not only expanded my network but also honed my advocacy skills. An unforgettable highlight was the opportunity to put these skills into practice during engagements with European Union lawmakers in Brussels. These experiences have instilled in me confidence that I can effectively speak up and advocate for any cause, as long as I believe in myself and come prepared. The YAN has empowered me to embrace my voice and amplify it in any setting”.
Ajmal Ramyar, Afghanistan
Ajmal Ramyar, a passionate advocate for young people, was born and raised in Afghanistan and now resides in Canada as a recent refugee. He holds a Bachelor of Business degree from the University of Kardan in Kabul.
As the leader of Afghans for Progressive Thinking (APT), Afghanistan’s largest youth-led professional organization, Ajmal fosters youth leadership, education, and a culture of peace. He actively participates in international conferences and training programs focused on peace and sustainable development goals.
To follow Ajmal on Twitter: @AjmalRMR
Ajmal’s passion lies in empowering young women through leadership, mentorship, and education initiatives. He advocates for the reopening of schools and universities for Afghan women, raising awareness about their challenges within international communities. He also manages an elementary school in Northern Afghanistan, providing quality education and support to internally displaced children.
“This year, my focus is set on driving initiatives centered around youth advocacy and collaborating with fellow youth advocates. Building on the experience and networks I have acquired through my involvement with the Youth Advocacy Network, my aim is to translate my ideas and solutions into comprehensive proposals that can secure the necessary funding and resources. By doing so, I aspire to help initiate implementation on both local and national levels, ensuring that the collective efforts of our network reach a broader audience and generate tangible outcomes within our communities,” expressed Ajmal as he reflects on his work with the YAN in 2023.
Anna Maneno, South Sudan
Anna Maneno is an inspiring young female activist born in 2000 and raised in South Sudan amidst recurring civil wars. She is a multifaceted changemaker, embodying her talents as an actress, advocate, panelist, radio host, feminist, poet, and community leader to challenge narratives and stereotypes surrounding women and girls in South Sudan. She utilizes her noble voice and character to bring about positive change.
To follow Anna on Twitter: @AnnaManeno
In recognition of her exceptional leadership, Anna was among the top ten winners of the Future Africa Leaders Awards 2021. She currently serves as the chairperson-elect for the Youth Advisory Panel UNFPA South Sudan, further amplifying her influence and contributions.
Anna actively engages in strengthening the participation of young women in local and national peace processes, equipping them with the necessary collaborative skills to address the challenges faced by South Sudan. She actively participates in community dialogues and intergenerational panel discussions. Through her involvement in the You-Lead Network, Anna has transformed her community work into systemic impact. She has served as a member of the East Africa Youth Parliament and has been instrumental in facilitating discussions on the peace process with university students in South Sudan campuses and grassroots women, enlightening them about the importance of peace agreements.
Georges Théodore Dougnon, Mali
Georges Théodore Dougnon is a peacebuilder, media trainer, and climate and human rights activist. He is the founder of Educ4peace, a peace and non violence education youth capacity building training startup in Mali.
He is a member of the Just Future Advocacy Network and Vice President of the Rondine International Peace Lab, an international network of young peacebuilders and changemakers alumni of the World House program of the Rondine Cittadella della Pace in Italy, where As Vice President of Rondine International Peace Lab, He participated in fundraising and supporting the initiatives of members of the organization. He represents the organization at meetings and conferences and seeks partners and networks. Georges has also managed some projects such as Digit4Peace, and the Covid 19 Emergency response Bamako granted by UNOY.
To follow Georges on Twitter: @DougnonGeorges
He holds a Master’s degree in Global Governance, Intercultural Relations and Peace Process Management from the University of Siena in Italy. He has also earned a Master’s degree in Journalism Communication from UCAO-UUBA, and a Bachelor’s degree in Unilingual English from the University of Bamako.
Currently, George is completing his internship for the Community Engagement Exchange Program at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center in Atlanta, where he continues to make significant contributions to peacebuilding efforts.
When reflecting on his experience with the YAN, Georges expressed, “Being part of the YAN has provided me with a platform to connect with fellow youth advocates from diverse countries, allowing me to learn from their experiences and share my own. Through the YAN, I gained invaluable insights into Search for Common Ground’s advocacy strategies, collaborating with them at the national level and participating in international events like the Munich Security Conference. During these engagements, I had the opportunity to shed light on the conflict context in my region and advocate for international support towards youth-led peacebuilding initiatives at the grassroots level. Additionally, the YAN motivated me to strengthen my advocacy skills by undergoing training in Media Campaigns for Social Change and implementing an Online Advocacy Campaign to counter youth radicalization and violent extremism. This experience also fostered collaboration with Ajmal from Afghanistan, as we worked together on projects related to peace and security for young people, as well as capacity-building initiatives for youth residing in conflict-affected areas.”
Latifa Boubacar Saley, Niger
Latifa Boubacar Saley is a Peacebuilder, Humanitarian and Human Rights Activist. She is the founder of Maalala, a emerging NGO dedicated to building a Niger that inspires the creation of an inclusive and prosperous society.
To follow Latifa on Twitter: @LateefahBubakr
With a strong background as a former United Nations Volunteer, Latifa serves as the Program Manager of Youth-Peace Education at WANEP Niger. She also holds the role of Coordinator for the Youth4Peace Network of WANEP Niger. Latifa serves as a fierce advocate for women’s rights and uplifting the ideas of women from Niger.
Latifa holds a Master’s degree in program and project management from ETEC and is currently pursuing her studies in Diplomacy and Conflict Management at the “Université Africaine des Sciences Sociales Techniques et Médicales”.
Sylvain Obedi, Democratic Republic of Congo
Sylvain Obedi is a passionate young peacebuilder, disability rights advocate, and climate justice activist from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). As the founder and Executive Director of “Enable the Disable Action,” Sylvain is dedicated to creating a DRC where people with disabilities can live dignified and independent lives.
To follow Sylvain on Twitter: @sylvain_obedi
Sylvain’s advocacy efforts focus on promoting the participation and inclusion of youth with disabilities in all aspects of society. He has organized impactful campaigns and workshops on disability rights in the DRC. Additionally, Sylvain has played a vital role in the enactment of the first law for the promotion and protection of persons with disabilities in the DRC, known as organic law number 03 of 3 May 2022.
Recognized for his exceptional leadership, Sylvain was nominated for the 2022 Congo Espoir Awards in the Civil Society Leadership category.
Currently, Sylvain works with the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data to increase awareness of the impact of data and advocate for a fairer future in data management. He actively participates in various networks, including the DGC Civil Society Youth Representatives Steering Committee (YRSC), the Just Future Youth Advocacy Network, the Global Caucus of Young People with Disabilities, the United Nations Human Rights Youth Advisory Council, Education Above All, and the Advisory Council on Integrity of Youth LED. He also represents the Greater Virunga Transboundary Youth Constituency (GVTYC).
With a Bachelor’s degree in International Public Law from the University of Peace of the DRC (UNIP) and an MBA in Project Management and Business Transformation from Amm Research Global Institute of Management, Sylvain combines legal expertise with community engagement. His efforts involve raising awareness of human rights, particularly those of persons with disabilities, through community campaigns and open dialogues with students. Sylvain strives to foster inclusive communities that contribute to sustainable peace and development.
Farida Amiri, Afghanistan
Farida Amiri is a dedicated peace activist from Afghanistan. She is the founder of “Peace Friends”, a volunteer non-profit initiative that initially focused on Afghan youth but shifted its focus to international youth in 2021. The objective of Peace Friends is to promote and educate youth, especially young women, on the Youth, Peace, and Security (YPS) and Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) agendas. Farida holds dual bachelor degrees in English Literature and in Political Science and Public Administration from Kabul University and the American University of Afghanistan. She is currently pursuing her Master of Science in Strategic and Global Studies at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.
To follow Farida on Twitter: @amirifarida
Farida has been a strong advocate for the participation and inclusion of youth and women in the peace process. She has represented their interests on national and international platforms. Additionally, Farida has organized social media advocacy campaigns, particularly on Twitter, and hosted an event at the University of Ljubljana to address the violation of human rights against marginalized groups.
Farida has made significant contributions in various roles. She served as an assistant to advisors of H.E. the First Lady at the office of H.E. the First Lady of Afghanistan. She played a pivotal role in organizing the esteemed national peace forum, “Afghan Women National Consensus for Peace”. Furthermore, she has worked with Search for Common Ground, Afghanistan, on projects focused on the inclusion of marginalized groups in the decision-making process. Through this project, Farida worked closely with local civil society organizations in different provinces to empower them in advocacy efforts.
Farida’s commitment to peace and human rights has earned her recognition, including a nomination for the 2019 UNDP N-Peace Awards. Her passion for fostering peace and empowering youth and women is evident in her extensive advocacy work and collaborative initiatives.