Restless Development, in partnership with the Permanent Mission of Denmark to the United Nations, are supporting five Youth Advocates to attend the 2017 UN High Level Political Forum. This diverse, talented and experienced group of young men and women have all been leading on the monitoring and accountability of the Sustainable Development Goals in their local communities and with National Governments. They are attending the HLPF to share their experiences and showcase the power young people have to ensure the promises of the SDGs are turned into reality.
The Global Goals are two years old already. The targets set – like stopping climate change and eradicating poverty – are hugely ambitious. With governments only just starting to realise the enormity of the challenge ahead of us, we need much more public mobilisation, campaigning, monitoring and evidence-collecting if we are to stand a chance of achieving these Goals by 2030.
Governments need young people’s expertise, perspectives and knowledge to ensure we get it right.
These are the 2017 Youth Advocates.
Ignatious Chiveso, 28, Zimbabwe
Ignatious is a passionate advocate and programmer for young people’s access to SRHR and health services. For the past 8 years he has worked to advance the health and well-being for youth living with HIV and young people in all their diversity. He is also a keen policy advocate, facilitator, and has coordinated national and regional programmes for young people such as the ACT2030! Alliance, a youth-led data-driven accountability programme in Zimbabwe working to build evidence for improving the Government’s national implementation of the SDGs, to which he is the Lead Facilitator. He holds an Honors Degree in Psychology and a Post-Graduate Executive Certificate in Programme and Project Monitoring and Evaluation.
Kosi Izundu, 26, Nigeria
Kosi Izundu is a young Nigerian who started her career as a youth advocate, supporting youth groups to design, implement, monitor and evaluate advocacy and campaigns programs on adolescent and young people’s sexual reproductive health. She is presently the Programs Coordinator at Education as a Vaccine, Nigeria, as well as being the youngest member of the African Women Rights Collective. In the past, she has worked on various advocacy projects such as the Youth Perspective on Female Condom Programming in Nigeria, the ACT!2030 project and the Youth Sexual Health and Rights Alliance. All of these advocacy projects seek to hold the government at all levels accountable for the health of adolescents and young people especially for their sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Maria Paula Garcia, 28, Argentina
Maria Paula Garcia is the Youth Coordinator of Human Rights Education for Amnesty International Argentina. She is a lawyer and educator and is doing a Masters in Public Policy. Responsible for youth empowerment in Amnesty International Argentina, her work focuses on engaging youth with SDGs through human rights education and meaningful participation particularly on on Goals 3, 4 and 5 as sexual and reproductive rights (SRR) and youth empowerment are a national and regional priority for the movement. The work involves advocacy, social mobilization and educative proposals with a peer-to- peer learning perspective. Paula also coordinates Amnesty participation in a federal youth network for sexual and reproductive rights, actively engaging in Argentina’s Voluntary National Review at the HLPF. Paula co-leads all these collective processes to ensure young people have a voice to demand change and engage with policymakers, not just at the local and regional levels but also in the international human rights system.
Peter Otiende, 28, Kenya
Peter is a Restless Development Accountability Advocate in Kenya. He has been volunteering in community development since 2009, advocating for meaningful civic engagement to ensure that young people have a voice in decision making processes, promoting equality and justice towards the realization of their rights. As part of the Accountability Advocate team in Kenya with two others, Peter has been engaged in the monitoring and accountability of the SDGs since 2015, specifically focusing on Goal 5 and Goal 16.7. By collecting data and engaging with different stakeholders from the Government, civil society and youth-led organizations, Peter and the team developed a national framework which maps out their key recommendations on how the Kenyan Government can use their data to inform the formulation and domestication of complementing indicators when creating a National Action Plan for the SDGs.
Pooja Kapahi, 25, India
Pooja is currently the Assistant Communications Coordinator at Restless Development India. She has a master’s degree in International Development and previous experience of working in communications with FORUM-ASIA in Bangkok and EduCARE India. Pooja has led the #RestlessSDGHero campaign that we created platforms for young people in Delhi to learn about the Global Goals and then motivated those young people to take action in their communities. In its first year, the campaign reach more than 400 young people directly and more than 2,000 young people through social media channels.