The HCDExchange has launched the Youth Leadership Hub, a group of seven youth advocates between the ages of 21 and 25 years from sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. This hub will catalyze partnerships with young people and youth-focused service providers and advocates globally, starting in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. It will also equip HCDExchange with information on youths’ realities and needs in the life course of HCD and ASRH projects, programs and investments.
The seven youth advocates will advise HCDExchange’s strategic objectives more broadly. They will also engage peers in their communities, youth networks, and youth-led and youth-serving organizations on HCD/ASRH priorities to ensure they represent issues facing adolescents and youth accurately.
Meet the Youth Advocates
Eden Befekadu, Design Associate
Eden is the design associate for HCDExchange's Youth Leadership Hub and leads the development of monthly learning and design forums for the youth community of practice. Through this she ensures there is collaboration and learning related to the integration of HCD and ASRH among youth.
Eden is a business administration student at Western University College in Ethiopia. She is a designer at PSI in Ethiopia and a designer and policy advocate on the Smart Start program, which is part of the A360. Smart Start works to meet rural married adolescent girls’ sexual and reproductive health needs, and positions contraception as a tool to achieve young families’ financial and personal goals.
Himanshu Kumar, Events and Convening Associate
Himanshu serves as HCDExchanges' events and convening associate for the Youth Leadership Hub and leads the development and strategic planning of each convening. He has a BSC in chemistry from Ranchi College in India, where he is enrolled in a post-graduation journalism and mass communication course. He has worked with organizations including USAID, Plan India, and Child in Need and is a youth accountability advocate for Restless Development. Himanshu is associated with professional theater groups such as Rang Darpan and Exposure and has worked with youth to mount plays that communicate the importance of SGBV and SRHR to the local and global community.
Nformi Laura Berka, Capacity Building Associate
Laura is the capacity building associate for HCDExchange's Youth Leadership Hub and leads in the development of monthly capacity events for the youth community of practice and the broader team. She is a young Cameroonian who has a BSc in women and gender studies and an LLB in law. She is studying for a masters of public health and works at the Community Center for Integrated Development as programs manager in sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and gender equality.
Laura is also the youth coordinator for MenEngage Alliance Cameroon. She has volunteered with organizations and agencies including UNESCO, Yang’s Chamber, and Family Bamenda.
Kanmani Ray, Evaluation and Learning Associate
Kanmani is the evaluation and learning associate for HCDExchange's Youth Leadership Hub and leads the development of tools and guidelines for tracking meaningful youth engagement and the curation of evidence and learning materials for youth. She is a young trans woman who is pursuing an LLB from Faculty of Law, University of Delhi in India. She has been part of campus queer networks in and around Delhi and speaks often of the need for gender-neutral washrooms in public places and a range of other issues involving education, citizenship, health, anti-discrimination policies, and laws related to trans people. Kanmani also raises awareness of transgender persons’ experiences through various local and global youth-led fora.
Ruth Akua, Community of Practice Associate
Ruth is the community of practice associate for HCDExchange's Youth Leadership Hub and leads the development and management of the youth community of practice. She also fosters partnerships between the Youth Leadership Hub and youth-led organizations in the HCD/ASRH community. She is in her final year at the University of Ghana Medical School (UGMS). She has volunteered with the Standing Committee on Human Rights and Peace and the Standing Committee on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of the Federation of Ghana Medical Students Association. She also chairs the welfare committee and is the vice-president of the debate society of UGMS.
Ndiilokelwa Nthwenge, Communications Associate
Ndiilo is the communications associate for HCDExchange's Youth Leadership Hub and leads the development of a communications strategy for meaningful youth engagement. She has a background in business innovation and computer technology from the AFDA School of Entrepreneurship Cape Town. She is the advocacy and communications officer at Out-Right Namibia, the leading youth and lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, plus organization. Ndiilo has also participated in the Youth Leadership Development Program.
Ronard Lubaga, Advocacy Associate
Hailing from Tanzania, Ronard is the advocacy associate for HCDExchange's Youth Leadership Hub and leads the advocacy focused strategy and events . He is a workshop designer for the Summit Foundation’s YIELD project. He has volunteered with organizations including Femina Hip, UNFPA-ESARO, Restless Development, Mwanza Youth and Children Network, and Liberty Sparks. He has served as a deputy director for Knowledge and Innovation for Technological Enterprise Dar es Salaam and board member for Restless Development Tanzanian Hub.
In 2018, Ronard was nominated for the African Youth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) achiever award and recognized as an African youth SDG ambassador. Ronard is an alumnus of the World Youth Forum, Youlead Summit, and the Vijana Assembly.