DSW Youth Champions ready to engage with EU decision makers.

Meet the eight DSW youth champions who will be using their voices this year to make sure the EU’s external action effectively responds to young people’s needs, in particular in the field of global health and sexual and reproductive health and rights.

They come from Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Tanzania and are an integral part of DSW programmes in their countries and communities; empowering young people and promoting their rights.

They will engage throughout the year in activities calling on EU decision-makers to prioritise young people in the EU’s external action, making sure their needs and aspirations are taken into account.

Aynalem Gashawbeza, 22


Aynalem is a youth champion in Hawassa, where he is involved in raising awareness and providing training for the young people working in the industrial parks - major hubs of employment for young people in Ethiopia. He feels passionately about ensuring that the many young people working in the parks are engaged on various issues that impact them, including sexual and reproductive health issues.

Burnice Waringa, 24


Burnice's passion for adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights is fuelled by the numerous challenges faced by young women and girls in her area, particularly increasing rates of teenage pregnancy. Burnice advocates for youth rights, at the local, national, and international levels, successfully securing increased funding for youth-focused projects, including youth-friendly family planning services, as well as informing national policy processes.

Dorothy Namubiru, 20


Dorothy is a youth champion from Twezimbe Youth Club, in the Mityana District of Uganda. She is passionate about family planning and sanitation. Dorothy has attended numerous budget consultation meetings at the local level, following up on the commitments of the leaders from her parish and district level. Her advocacy work has been focused on development issues and sanitation, for example, she has been calling for improvements in road infrastructure to improve the accessibility of outreach activities within communities, and the construction of a borehole to provide clean water

Elsabet Addisu, 19


Elsabet is a youth champion from Dangila in Ethiopia. She's passionate about awareness creation among young people, for example through organising documentary screenings that help inform young people about issues of gender based violence, drug abuse and sexually transmitted diseases. Elsabet has also been involved in implementing projects relating to the production of sanitary pads.

Habiba Saidi Mtamba, 23


Habiba is youth champion originally from Songea Region in Southern Tanzania. Habiba is very passionate about community action and volunteerism, especially on issues related to health and environment. She has been active with student organisations, on environmental topics and supporting students with life skills, health, volunteerism and leadership. In the future, Habiba is looking forward to continue performing community action, especially sensitising and training fellow youth on health, environmental and entrepreneurship issues.

John Jessy Nabundesi, 22


John Jessy is a youth champion from the Mukono district of Uganda. He feels passionate about the importance of amplifying the voices of young people in Uganda with a focus on reproductive health and family planning financing. Through his advocacy work and participation in the technical working group meetings and budget conferences to present issues concerning young people in regards to family planning and sexual and reproductive health, he has contributed to increased domestic funding allocation to family planning in the community and at Mukono district level.

Kevin Owala, 23


Kevin is a youth champion in Trans Nzoia County, Kenya. While at school, Kevin joined school health clubs and associations, where he learned basic communication and peer counseling skills on health-related matters, specifically reproductive health. Kevin's local youth group initiated the 'pad per girl' initiative, aimed at providing sanitary towels to young girls from vulnerable families. Kevin is involved in local and international advocacy, participating in discussions on the need for greater investment in family planning.

Mwanaima Mbaga, 23


Mwanaima is a youth champion from Tanga, Eastern Tanzania. She became a peer educator while a student at the University of Dar es Salaam. She is passionate about education, and sharing information, and she has done a lot of work educating young people about issues relating to sexual and reproductive health and rights. Mwanaima is also passionate about advocating for better sexual and reproductive health and rights services for people with disabilities and amplifying youth voices.