Forty young leaders have been announced as candidates who will stand in the election to join the Commonwealth Youth Council as executive members.
Candidates were shortlisted from more than hundreds of nominations received from across the Commonwealth following a careful review process. They will compete for the nine executive seats on the council.
The online campaigning, which starts today with candidates announcing their manifestos, will end on 22 May. The voting will take place online on 24 and 25 May, while the results will be out on 26 May.
Elected candidates will serve the council from 2021 to 2023 and will lead inclusive consultation, projects and events to bring forward ideas and concerns of young people to shape youth development policies and frameworks.
Speaking ahead of the announcement, the outgoing Commonwealth Youth Council chairperson, Tijani Christian, said: “Today, we announce a set of talented young people willing to serve the Commonwealth’s 1.4 billion young people.
“It is important for young people to remain active in the political process through the council and the elected candidates will be the outlet to carry forward their mandate.”
He added: “The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that leadership matters. So, the election will allow young people to provide the innovative, inclusive and impactful leadership that will help us safeguard an inclusive and sustainable future for all.”
The candidates were shortlisted by the Electoral Board of the Commonwealth Youth Council.
Head of the Commonwealth's Social Policy Division, Layne Robinson, urged young people to get involved in the election and engage with candidates on their policy manifestos.
He said: “The disproportionate impacts of the pandemic on young people have revealed that our current system is not working for them. That is not going to change if we return to business-as-usual after the pandemic.
“The pandemic offers a window of opportunity to ensure the voices of young people inform the recovering and rebuilding efforts. The council offers one such avenue to ensure young people feel heard and supported in the decision-making process.”
Mr Robinson added: “That is why, young people should pay attention to the candidates they want to lead the council, who will, on their behalf, work with governments and other stakeholders to realise their needs and aspirations.”
Nominees were required to submit a detailed application that involved their manifestos, personal profile, a letter of endorsement from a national youth council or a youth-led body, and a letter of attestation from a government department.
The election will follow a transparent, fair, independent and democratic process.
Set up in 2013, the Commonwealth Youth Council aims to advance the youth development agenda across the 54 member countries and boost young people’s participation at all levels of decision-making.
Find out more about the 40 candidates contesting in the CYC Executives Election 2021.
The 2021 candidates, in alphabetical order by individual surname, are:
Kim Allen, Papua New Guinea
Kim Allen has over ten years of working in the youth space with four years of experience in international development. He’s currently doing a Master' of Arts in International Development in Japan. He believes young people have great potential and need to be harnessed.
Broderick Mervyn, Fiji
Anaseini Ulakai, Tonga
Anaseini Ulakai is a former youth parliamentarian, a youth advocate for women and young people’s participation in civic engagements, especially parliament. She is the current Youth Champion of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD25+) framework in the Pacific. She is an alumna of the ‘Girls Takeover Parliament’ Australia initiative, and a coordinator for Jasiri Australia's first Bilateral Girls Takeover Parliament between Commonwealth Nations of Australia and India.
Mererai Vatege, Fiji
Mererai Vatege is one of the two candidates from Fiji, currently running for the Chairperson position. She is a youth leader for two trade unions and youth committees in Fiji, and a lawyer by profession.
Michelle Carol, Uganda
Christabel Derby, Ghana
Christabel Derby is a community skills trainer and multiple awards winner with six years of experience in leadership in various global and national organizations ranging from leadership, public policy, engagement to career development. She is a member of the United Nations Youth Association, Ghana National Youth Authority and Ghana Students Research Education Fund.
Ibrahim Hussein, Kenya
Ibrahim Hussein is the Founder and Executive Director of the Association of Pastoralist Professional Women and Youth in Kenya. He was the Vice-chairman of a community-based organisation, Green Garissa. He holds a B.A. in international studies from the University of Nairobi. He has actively been participating in peace forums and has been awarded certificates in youth leadership.
Sallu Kamuskay, Sierra Leone
Sallu Kamuskay is a global youth engagement expert, a journalist and a storyteller. He is Vice President of the Young Leaders Organisation, part of the National Youth Council in Sierra Leone. He is a coordinator of the Wave Alliance and serves as a caring mentor, providing safe spaces and wellbeing initiatives for young people across the world. He is a co-founder of Salone Messenger - a global multimedia youth-led platform for supporting marginalised youth in local communities.
Wevyn Muganda, Kenya
Wevyn Muganda is a Kenyan activist. She is the Cora Weiss Peacebuilding Fellow for Global Network of Women Peacebuilders. Her blog, ‘Beyond the Lines’, promotes youth participation and active citizenship. She is part of the United Nations Development Programme’s ‘16x16’ on SDG 16 and is a Board Director at Mombasa Women Social Justice Centre.
Haward Muhwezi, Uganda
Danish Tariq, Pakistan
Danish Tariq is 23 years old young leader from Pakistan. Since 2012, he has been working on meaningful and inclusive youth participation, informed decision-making, Sustainable Development Goals, and policy advocacy. His focus areas have primarily been around inclusivity, consultation and co-operation, sustainability, and regional collaboration.
James da Costa, United Kingdom
Bidian Okoth, Kenya
Bidian Okoth is the co-founder and project Coordinator of RESPEKT, a reproductive and Sexual Health programme, that aims to promote access to resources and services for Kenyan teenagers. He has previously served as a National Youth Delegate and as a member of the Policy and Advocacy Committee in the Commonwealth Youth Council.
Everton Rattray, Jamaica
Everton Rattray is a Prime Minister Youth Awardee for Leadership - the highest honour given to a person under the age of 30 in Jamaica. In 2017, he became the youngest person to be appointed as a Youth Adviser by the Government of Jamaica. He is the managing director of four successful companies. He has raised over $100,000 to assist with student development in his country.
Gonaya Sethora, Botswana
Gonaya Sethora is a young Motswana Diplomatic Entrepreneur. She is the CEO of the Business Woman Africa Foundation that builds frameworks and policies to empower female business owners in Africa. She has received ‘Youth in Leadership’ award and ‘Female Youth of the Year’ award at the National Youth Awards hosted by Botswana’s Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture.
Jayren Teo, Singapore
Frank Justice, Nigeria
Frank Justice has over four years of experience in volunteering, policymaking and advocacy. He is a fellow of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a finalist for the ‘Open Minds – Young Voices' Youth Activists Programme’ and a finalist for the Afresist Youth Leadership Programme. He has actively been involved in promoting youth participation in governance and the rule of law.
Faith Mairah, Uganda
Faith Mairah is a Ugandan feminist, and an advocate for bodily autonomy and the realisation of sexual reproductive health and rights by young people. She is an alumna of the Young African Leaders Initiative and AIESEC communities, a member of the 'She Decides' global movement, and a youth representative for UN Women Uganda and the Generation Equality Forum.
Nahjae Nunes, Jamaica
Nahjae Nunes is a seasoned youth leader, bringing close to a decade of grassroots, local, regional and global experience in leadership, advocacy, policy development and social justice. His stellar work has led him to advise the United Nations General Assembly on SDGs and the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, and the Government of Jamaica on policies to amplify national growth and development.
Afzal Pervez, United Kingdom
Bochum Samuel, Cameroon
Bochum Samuel is a Cameroonian multiple award-winning peace advocate and a Commonwealth youth leader. Since 2018, he served as the National Youth Delegate to the Commonwealth Youth Council. He is the founder and executive director of the Youth Advocates for Peace and Community Empowerment Cameroon initiative, the director of Peace Academy Cameroon and a consultant for peace, governance and development.
EldaDavid Samuel, Nigeria
EldaDavid Samuel is a multi-sector public policy practitioner. He has a futuristic vision to become Nigeria’s Minister of Young People and Human Capital Development (A futuristic, rebranded, and ever-present Ministry of Youths/Sports Development). He has committed to curating and executing a legacy exchange programme, entitled ‘The Commonwealth Young Leaders Policy Fellowship’.
Lachlan Kelly, Australia
Sagufta Salma, Fiji
Sagufta Janif is a young and passionate pacific islander, an established social entrepreneur and a Commonwealth Youth Award winner for the Pacific Region. She is a catalyst for change and has empowered young people across the Pacific to become changemakers by advocating for youth inclusive policies and supporting sustainable youth solutions.
Namir Chowdhury, United Kingdom
Namir Chowdhury is an award-winning social activist, and has campaigned extensively against climate change and mental health at the grassroots level. This has culminated in him becoming the elected UK’s Young Commonwealth Ambassador, where he influences Commonwealth policy, coordinates the work of international young leaders, and champions young people on the global stage.
Kaene Disepo, Botswana
Ifeoluwa Kehinde, Nigeria
Shamim Nabuuma, Uganda
Jane Nakasamu, Zambia
Jane Nakasamu has represented Zambia as an advocate, delegate and entrepreneur on international platforms. Her work promotes community-led approaches to renewable energy innovation, youth leadership and business development. She has been awarded by the Southern Africa Innovation Support Programme, Southern Africa Network for Biosciences, Africa Funding Tour and the Hult Prize Foundation.
Ekema Ndolo, Cameroon
Mussa Mutsinzi, Rwanda
Mussa Mutsinzi is a Rwandan with diverse skills and experience in leadership. His mission in life is to be a people's person, striving for gender equality, youth development, good governance and democracy and decent and productive employment for young people by embracing diversity and enhancing inclusion.
Shomy Chowdhury, Bangladesh
Fahmida Faiza, Bangladesh
Dominique Noralez, Belize
Dominique Noralez is from the regional confluence of the Americas and the Caribbean, Belize. She is a learner and leader at heart with a decade of experience across the youth development spectrum from volunteering, to organizational leadership, policy contribution and regional representative.
Karina Samaroo, Trinidad and Tobago
Karina Samaroo is known for her profound analysis of social challenges faced by young people. She uses her knowledge and training to serve through various advocacy and project-oriented initiatives. She has more than nine years of local and international leadership experience and is currently pursuing LLM in medical law.
Ram Dulip, Sri Lanka
Ram Dulip is Mister Earth 2018, a model, an actor and a socially conscious activist. His activism focuses on young people and marginalized communities groups, particularly on gender identity and equality. He is a leading LGBTQI youth icon in Sri Lanka and advocates for the elimination of stereotypes.
Sania Haider, Pakistan
Md Tamzid Hayder, Bangladesh
Joseph Migila, Tanzania
Joseph Migila is an executive committee member and African Regional Youth Representative for the Commonwealth Children and Youth with Disability Network. He is a disability right advocate at Tanzania’s Federation for Disabled Peoples Organization, and a certified observer for the inclusion of special groups.
Elisha Mogunde, Kenya
Elisha Mogunde is an undergraduate in Information Technology and Cyber Security from KCA University. He is the country representative for the International Youth Society in Kenya and the former Dean of Africa for International Peace Diplomatic Corp Based in Manila. He is a researcher, a volunteer, a teacher, a social worker, a social mobilizer and a leader.
National Youth Delegates, who represent their respective countries on the Commonwealth Youth Council, will vote in the elections. They are:
|Region||Country||** indicates NYD who are also candidates|
|Botswana||Kaene Disep **|
|Cameroon||Bochum Samuel Bache **|
|Miranda Ndolo Ekema **|
|Miranda Ndolo Ekema **|
|Kingdom of Eswatini||Baphelele Masilela|
|Gambia, The||Essaha Sowe|
|Kenya||Manyara Muchui Antony|
|Rose Debra Wanjiku|
|Bidian Okoth **|
|Mauritius||Muhammad Azhar Ibne Habib Joomun|
|Mozambique||Contantino André Baloi Júnior|
|Vania Casimiro Nhantumbo|
|Nigeria||Rt Hon. Mubarak Mijinyawa|
|Bilikisu Kamadi Abdullahi|
|Mussa Mutsinzi **|
|Sierra Leone||James Kowie|
|Fatu Sewanatu Manasaray|
|South Africa||Seseaphadi Lesedi Luphondo|
|United Republic of Tanzania||Arafat Bakir|
|Kawide Naka Jamu|
|Bangladesh||Fahmida Faiza **|
|Brunei Darussalam||Mohammad Arjul Haji Mail|
|Hajah Nurul Izzati Khairunnisa Haji Embran|
|Malaysia||Al Yashir Yahaya|
|Mohd Izzat Afifi Hj Abdul Hamid|
|Nurshafiqah Zairina Zamazaini|
|Maldives||Hassan Farhan Mohamed|
|Aishath Nakuma Rasheed|
|Mohammad Ahmad Toor|
|Sri Lanka||Pathum Ranasinghe Arachchilage|
|Caribbean and Americas|
|Antigua and Barbuda||Jordaine Permberton|
|Bahamas, The||Shaquille Sands|
|Guyana||Kobe Juan Smith|
|Saint Lucia||Anya Edwin|
|Chrishna Sr Brice|
|St Kitts and Nevis||Marecia Pemberton|
|St. Vincent & the Grenadines||Jeshua Barboo|
|Trinidad and Tobago||Shane John|
|Malta||Maya Spiteri Dalli|
|UK||Namir Chowdhury **|
|Monica Jane Trufil Aguilar|
|New Zealand||Not available|
|Papua New Guinea||Raymond Merpe|
|Samoa||Mary Agnes Talafiaotai|
|Solomon Islands||Evelina Ronah Posala|
|Cayman Islands||Zoe Conolloy Basdeo|
|Turks and Caicos Islands||Jessica Corvil|
|Ryan Robinson Perinchief|