Member, Youth Leadership Council (Mexico)
Leni is a returned migrant, a sexual assault survivor, and part of a mixed-status family separated by borders. She is also neurodivergent. At the age of 16, Leni found out that she was undocumented, and her family was forced to leave the place they called home in the one of the biggest historical waves of mass deportation and return between the US and Mexico. Leni has strived to channel her life story, experiences, education, and passions to advocate for and walk in solidarity alongside her communities. She has worked in both the private and civil society sectors. She was part of the founding team at Holacode, a social enterprise for deportees, returnees, and refugees in Mexico. She is currently part of the team at Otros Dreams en Acción, a grassroots organization dedicated to mutual support and political action for and by those who grew up in the US and now find themselves in Mexico. She is also the coordinator of Pochx House, a cultural space based in Mexico City that celebrates and reclaims a new hybrid and multifaceted culture in Mexico, and a co-creator of the podcast/platform Pochas So What.
Member, Youth Leadership Council (United States)
Interested in the intersection of political science and cultural anthropology, Katie focuses on youth engagement and gender diversity in the realms of international development and security. As the Senior Operations and Programs Officer for Accountability Lab, Katie oversees the implementation of youth programs and advocacy at the global level as well as supporting the operational management of the Lab’s translocal network across sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and North America. Concurrently, Katie is the lead organizer for the Open Gov Youth Collective, an international group of youth activists who highlight youth voices, priorities, and experiences in order to influence the global open government movement. Katie previously facilitated the participation of international security leaders and experts from democracies around the world at the 2018 Halifax International Security Forum. Before the Forum, Katie worked on behalf of Global Development Incubator on the development and expansion of a West African capacity building and youth leadership program, Emerging Public Leaders. Katie graduated cum laude from Dartmouth College, studying government and cultural anthropology and playing Division I soccer and rugby.
Member, Youth Leadership Council (Pakistan)
Saro is a young transgender activist and entrepreneur dedicated to advancing the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people, especially those from marginalized communities. She has worked in the fields of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and gender equality with various international organizations. She has taken part in the United Nations Universal Periodic Review process by contributing to reports on SRHR issues faced by young people in Pakistan, as well as on transgender issues in Pakistan.
Saro has contributed to several research projects aimed at understanding and highlighting marginalized communities. Her projects have explored feminist representation in Pakistani cinema; understanding eunuchs through Pakistani television; and experiences of joining the transgender community. She has also worked with UK AID and UNICEF on advocacy-based research related to health services in Pakistan and youth development in South Asia.
Saro has developed a community-based organization in her region, Activists Alliance Foundation (AAGAHE), which envisions a society where all transgender persons can live with dignity and self-respect, enjoying equal social justice and wellbeing.
Secretary, Youth Leadership Council (Nepal)
Saru Khadka is an advocate for women’s empowerment with a focus on mental health issues. Through the power of storytelling and by designing workshops and programs, she promotes a gender-just society with the hope of improving the conditions of marginalized communities. Saru is the Secretary of Girls Empowered by Travel – Nepal (GET), a nongovernmental organization where she provides leadership, psychosocial, and capacity strengthening support to young girls from underprivileged backgrounds, including rural communities, to help them achieve their goals and bring about change. Saru also contributes to Kathanthar, an organization that hosts living library events, as a storyteller, bringing to light untold stories and giving people a platform to share their unexpressed thoughts. She is studying social work and psychology and is eager to change patriarchal thinking by initiating change.
Chair, Youth Leadership Council (Zimbabwe)
Solomon Ndondo is a 27-year-old peer educator and counselor from Zimbabwe who is passionate about the sustainable development goals, children’s rights, and equality. He is the Founder and Executive Director of the Africa Rise Foundation and an active volunteer and human rights advocate. In addition to the abovementioned roles, Solomon is also an Independent Sales Dealer at Awesim Telecoms Private Limited, where he oversees more than 50 sales agents, and a small-scale farmer. He is an alumnus of the Young African Leaders Initiative Regional Leadership Center Southern Africa and he was a delegate to the Second African Youth SDGs Summit in Ghana in 2018. He is also a former Co-Chair of the Capacity Building Committee for Youth Against Slavery Movement's Youth Advisory Board. Solomon holds a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in human resources management from Great Zimbabwe University and is currently studying a Master of Philosophy degree in development studies at University of Cape Town. He is a Canon Collins Trust and Mandela Institute for Development Studies (MINDS) scholar, an advisory board member for African Network for Youth and Adolescent Development, and the Vice Chair of Amnesty International University of Cape Town.
Member, Youth Leadership Council (Colombia)
Laura is an environmental and human rights lawyer. She was born in Colombia, a country she appreciates for its cultural and ecological richness, and where she has also learned ways to build peace amid a violent and unequal reality. Laura works with civil society organizations to promote the rights of Indigenous and Afro-Colombian people, women, and victims of armed conflict. She has supported women's organizations participating in the truth and justice processes resulting from the peace accords in Colombia. Laura has a background as a researcher and is the founder of a foundation that promotes social projects to strengthen the culture, autonomy, land rights, and education of Indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities.