Introducing Our Youth Champions

Introducing our youth champions


You won't want to miss out on the rich lineup of keynote speakers, presentations of the latest research and trends in SBCC and the chance to network with more than 1,500 people in the field.

New this year: Youth champions. Rising stars in SBCC from around the world have been selected to set the youth agenda for the five-day gathering to make sure that their expertise, experiences, and perspectives remain part of the dialogue.

Meet a few of them:

Saw Wunna

Saw Wunna is an Audience Engagement Officer at BBC Media Action Myanmar's sexual and reproductive health and rights digital program Ma Shet Ne. Saw is passionate about working in the non-profit sector, especially in youth development, behavior change communication, sustainable development, and art. He has organized and lead several youth development programs and activities such as U4U Friendship Camp Myanmar and the COVID-19 -focused 14 Days Campaign #Together with U-Report Myanmar. Saw is a Storyteller and conducts storytelling training and activities throughout Myanmar.

Innocent Grant

Innocent "Innoh" Grant is a clinician and youth leader working in digital media for reproductive health promotion. Innocent is currently a program officer at the Young and Alive Initiatives Organization in Tanzania, where he leads the "Ubongo na Fleva" project, which leverages the famous East African "bongo fleva" music genre to promote young people's sexual health rights. He also manages the "Contraceptive Conversations" project, which he founded in 2017. The project complements classroom-based contraceptive education sessions by providing a phone number to which young people can anonymously text their additional questions, which are later answered on the project's Facebook page, "Tuongee Uzazi wa Mpango" (contraceptives conversations). Innocent also founded the "Her Story is My Story" project, which advocates for young people's access to sexual health information and youth-friendly services. In 2020, the program will expand to link girls whose stories are featured in the project to relevant, district-level advocacy work tied to the "Tanzania National Accelerated and Investment Agenda for Adolescent health 2019-2022."

Rene E. Mendis

Rene "Edou" E. Mendis is a project associate at Social Change Factory (SCF). He has a degree in political science and international relations, and has completed several leadership, self-discovery and public speaking courses. Prior to joining SCF, René interned at the communication and marketing firm Gaynako, and at Public Affairs Africa, a strategic innovation firm where he developed skills in communication and project management and monitoring. Rene is passionate about the education of young people, debate, and communication, and was the winner of a 2018 eloquence competition, organised by the Faculty of Legal and Political Sciences of the Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar. In 2019, Rene founded Senvie Association, a humanitarian association whose main project in 2019 was the renovation of an elementary school in Makhana, a village in the Saint-Louis region of Senegal.

Daniela Gordon Ortiz

Daniela Gordon Ortiz is a social work student from a urban rural area of Costa Rica. She acquired a physical disability when she was 16, which turned her into a fierce advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities. Daniela is a member of the Latin-American youth network META (Movimiento Estamos Todos en Acción, or We are All in Action Movement), which promotes inclusion, especially of people with disabilities, in the domains of education, sexual health and reproductive rights, and information communication technologies. Daniela has participated in several events, conferences and summits giving speechs about how young people are not the future, but the present, and how youth can raise their voices and work together for a healthier and inclusive world. Daniela is interested in working on the challenges facing vulnerable girls and women that affect their lives and mental health.

Dilian Manolov

Dilian Manolov is a psychologist and independent consultant through his business, Albatross Center. After losing his vision at 14 Diliyan exchanged football and painting for writing and acting, and has won several national and international awards in these arts. His passion for everything visual made him the first blind TV host in Bulgaria. In 2016 together with other blind active people he founded Vizioner Foundation, a non-governmental orgnization (NGO) that empowers people with disabilities to acquire soft and hard skills, and coordinates a network of NGOs run by people with disabilities. Diliyan was a United Nations use delegate of his home country Bulgaria from 2018 to 2019, and has been a social and behavior change consultant for UNICEF's Bulgaria office since May 2020.

Mireille "Mimi" Umutoni Sekamana is a youth designer committed to using her expertise in youth-centered design to empower young people in Rwanda to know their rights and have the information and agency they require to steer their own future. Since 2016, Mireille has worked with YLabs, an international organization that generates youth-driven solutions to "address the biggest challenges to young people's health and economic opportunity worldwide." At YLabs Rwanda, Mireille develops engaging and entertaining digital platforms that both resonate with young people and provide them critical information and access to health services. In 2019, she was one of 1,000 talents to attend the UNLEASH Innovation Lab to create solutions on challenges around the Sustainable Development Goals.

Balqees Shahin is a Nutritionist and a graduate student of public health at the University of Debrecen in Hungary. Balqees has more than three years of experience in health systems, communication, youth engagement, and gender equality. She has worked with UN and non-UN offices in Jordan, and since 2017 has served on the UNICEF Middle East and North Africa Regional Office Youth Advisory Board. Balqees has worked as a team leader for the UN-initiated HeForShe global campaign for the advancement of gender equality, and in 2019 worked as a qualitative researcher with the UN World Food Program. Balqees has excellent communication and social skills, thanks to her participation in more than seven projects and youth exchanges with the European Uniion-led Erasmus+ project.

Mohammad Farajalla is a journalist-activist working in media production for a non-governmental radio station in Jordan, Annaja7 radio. Mohammad is also a trainer and has training certificates in the principles of attunement in dealing with profound stress, and in creative facilitation. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Regional Adolescent and Youth Advisory Majlis (RAYAM), a Middle East and North Africa regional youth network supported by various UN agencies, the European Union, Plan International, and others "to amplify issues of relevance to young people ... and ensure their voices influence decision-making processes on issues of concern to them." Through RAYAM, Mohammad brings particular focus to key issues around mass and other media content.

Inspired for the future? Consider sponsoring a young person to attend the Summit. We had 378 young people from 59 countries apply for scholarships to the Summit and could only award scholarships to a small percentage of them. Please consider helping young SBCC practitioners from countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nicaragua, Ghana, St. Lucia and Bangladesh to attend.