Youth Leadership and Engagement

MenEngage Alliance is committed to promoting the inclusion and support of youth for gender equality through the promotion of youth leadership and engagement

We believe that the future of gender equality and transformative masculinities rests on the shoulders of young people. This is why supporting youth and fostering their leadership is at the core of our mission.

Young people bring fresh perspectives, boundless energy, and innovative approaches to tackling old challenges. They are uniquely positioned to challenge harmful gender norms and advocate for inclusive societies where everyone thrives. By empowering them with knowledge, skills, and opportunities, we invest in change agents who will lead the way towards a more just and equitable world.

Our commitment to youth goes beyond mere inclusion. We actively cultivate spaces where young voices are not only heard but also valued and acted upon. Through initiatives like the Youth Reference Group and regional youth networks, we provide platforms for meaningful participation and decision-making.

The Youth Reference Group

In the past few years, MenEngage Alliance has demonstrated a deliberate and strategic commitment to prioritizing youth leadership and engagement. A big step came in 2016 with the establishment of the Youth Reference Group.

The Youth Reference Group is the dedicated working group of MenEngage Alliance for the agenda of Youth Engagement and Leadership, led by youth and young leaders from across the Alliance. Nominated as the decision making body of the Youth Group, the Youth Reference Group comprises young activists, experts and leaders who hold a crucial role in steering the Alliance’s work at local, national, regional and international levels. 

Currently the Youth Reference Group consists of 15 members of MenEngage Alliance, nominated by the regional networks and representatives of the at-large members. The group brings together diverse youth leaders and those working on the issues of youth and child rights. 

The current members top row from left to right are:

Regional Representatives:  Andi Rabiaj (Europe), Tivia Niechelle Collins (Caribbean), Ihunanyachukwu Precious Nwaeza (Africa), Gcina Shongwe (Africa), Luis Enrique Martin Tuz (Latin America), Nicolas Londono Bernal (Latin America), Henry Mitchel Bensely (South Asia), Mehwish Arshad Kayani (South Asia),  , Vanja Josic (Europe), Sari Kamiyama (North America), Raneem Diab (Middle East), and Shalinee Bahadur (Caribbean). Nyasha Phanisa Sithole, Program Officer at the Global Secretariat of MenEngage Alliance, coordinates and supports with secretarial roles to the Youth reference Group. 

At Large Member Organizations:  

Irene Akoth Ogeta (Africa), Festus Ibanda Kisa (Africa) and Magdalena Nadya (IPPF)

The Youth Reference Group offers leadership and strategic direction and decision making  to strengthen youth involvement through the implementation of MenEngage Youth Leadership Strategy. The fundamental goal of the Youth Leadership Strategy is to shape a future where young people not only actively participate but also lead meaningful social changes. Through the active engagement of youth, we aim to build a more inclusive, fair, and globally aware society. The strategy seeks to provide young people with the tools and opportunities necessary to develop their leadership potential and contribute significantly to the construction of a better world for future generations. 

Find out more

In 2021, alongside the Youth Reference Group and regional network members, a new four-year plan called ‘Building and Engaging Young Leaders’ was launched during the Ubuntu Symposium, the 3rd MenEngage Global Symposium. This plan aims to boost meaningful youth leadership and involvement across our governance structures at local, regional, and global levels. It sets out principles, values, goals, and strategies to guide MenEngage Alliance’s work with young leaders in the years to come.

Download ‘Building and Engaging Young Leaders: Youth Strategy of MenEngage Alliance’. The document is also available in French and Spanish