MEET OUR ACTIVIST PANEL
At the heart of the Fund is a participatory decision-making model with a panel of girls and young activists from 32 countries playing a central role across design and decision-making moments. The model draws on Purposeful’s experience in Sierra Leone and the With and For Girls Fund, as well as, the insights of other participatory and rapid response grant makers such as UHAI, FCAM, Red Umbrella Fund and FRIDA | The Young Feminist Fund and Urgent Action Fund Asia Pacific.
Asia and the pacific
Betty is from the Fiji Islands and currently a PhD candidate at Monash University. Her PhD focuses on examining gender dimensions of climate change-induced displacement and relocation in the Pacific, and their roles in community resilience. Betty has been involved in development for over 10 years with organisations in the Asia-Pacific region and focuses on using evidence-based advocacy as a tool for change. She is currently on the board of directors for the CIVICUS alliance and the Association of Women in Development (AWID), and is an advisor with FRIDA | The Young Feminist Fund.
Gopika is the Asia campaigner with the worldwide Enough campaign at Oxfam International. She supports countries to plan and run campaigns that challenge and change widely accepted and harmful social norms that justify violence against women and girls. Gopika has been a FRIDA | The Young Feminist Fund advisor for the past five years, and is also on the board of labour and human rights organisation Cividep India. She has trained and worked with women and young people from diverse backgrounds on issues related to access to justice, sexual and gender-based violence, and gender and sexuality. Gopika is based in Bangalore, India.
Until 2018, Saranzaya worked as a Public Awareness Program Manager at Beautiful Hearts Against Sexual Violence in Mongolia. This role focused on advocacy for the prevention of gender-based violence. Her work included campaigns called Strong Girls Strong Nation and Break the Chain. Saranzaya was a team member at Beautiful Hearts Against Sexual Violence when the NGO was a grantee partner of FRIDA | The Young Feminist Fund and the With and For Girls Collective. She currently works as a Gender Specialist in The Asia Foundation Mongolia.
Maselina is from Savai'i, Samoa. Maselina was a founding member of the Deaf Association of Samoa and served as the Vice President from 2019 - 2020 until she stepped down to take up a staff role. Maselina has been a strong advocate for many years as a member of the Deaf Community.
Subina is a teacher and Comprehensive Sexuality Education trainer in Kathmandu, Nepal. She is a Social Science graduate and passionate about issues surrounding women, LGBTQIA+ and Dalits (a caste group which is considered impure and untouchable in the Indian Subcontinent). She enjoys studying the process by which some groups and communities acquire more power over others, how such power dynamics shape societies and what civil society must do to ensure equal rights and access to power for everyone. When she is not working or studying, she can be found cooking, doodling and chatting with her parents.
Sharanya identifies as a feminist writer, researcher and activist based in Sri Lanka. She holds an LLB (Hons) and a Master in Conflict and Peace Studies. Sharanya works primarily in Sri Lanka and South Asia as an independent consultant on sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender-based violence, the intersections between gender and technology, education, and storytelling. She is also passionate about the democratisation of information and resources, and access to networks and spaces. In 2018 she and Widya Kumarasinghe co-founded a feminist storytelling collective called Everystory Sri Lanka.
Europe and Central Asia
Marija’s activism started in high school with the fight against gender-based violence. She became a peer educator on sexual and reproductive health and rights. Her study of Sociology opened the doors for diverse engagements from self-organised collectives, to feminist philanthropy. She was recognised as one of the most socially and politically engaged students in Serbia in 2012. After obtaining a Master in Sociology, she has worked in a number of roles and with a wide range of marginalised groups including young people, activists, women’s collectives and women’s funds. In her work she connects gender, social, economic and environmental justice.
Dani is a facilitator and community builder, committed to holding space for relational learning that creates more freedom. Most of their work so far has been in LGBTQI+ activism in Romania, and in community organising for social justice. For the past four years, they have coordinated Gender Talk, a community initiative of gender explorers and rebels that works to create more space and possibilities for us all to exist and thrive outside the gender binary.
For the last decade, Anna has worked for a variety of youth-led and youth-centered organisations. She has experience in the areas of youth leadership and empowerment, gender equality, social justice, human rights, and access to health services and treatment for young people from key affected populations. In her work she has focused on community-driven initiatives, identifying existing gaps in the services, exploring interlinkages between different sectors, and addressing stigma. She has experience in advocacy, capacity building, campaign management, grant facilitation and community mobilisation. Aside from working with civil society, she is a medical doctor and a researcher in the field of mental and sexual health.
Zhanna is a 19 year old activist from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. She has been a feminist activist since the age of 14, fighting for girls’ rights and equality. She is a member of Bishkek Feminist Initiatives, editor and co-founder of teenage magazine Boktukorgon and coordinator of Teenagers and Youth for Justice Equality Initiative. She is also a girl advisor for Central Asia and Eastern Europe at FRIDA | The Young Feminist Fund and has been since 2017. As an artist and illustrator she promotes justice and anti-discrimination through art, as well as in her role as a freelance journalist and cameraperson at Kloop Media. Zhanna is currently a media specialist at LGBT organisation Kyrgyz Indigo. She stands up for the rights of queer teenagers, youth and girls, with the aim to increase their visibility and the right to be who they are.
Sub Saharan Africa
Anisie is a 26 year old activist from Rwanda. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Translation and Interpreting. She is talented in poetry and her poems have been awarded and recognised in festivals both nationally and internationally. Anisie is a youth activist who advocates for empowerment, inclusivity and better access to services for persons with disabilities. She has had roles with organisations focused on people with disabilities such as Umuryango Nyarwanda w’Abagore Bafite Ubumuga (UNABU - the Rwandan Organization of Women with Disability) and UWEZO, an initiative that aims to improve competencies in literacy and numeracy among children. Currently, she is a gender and disability facilitator at VSO Rwanda, working to prevent gender-based violence among girls and women with disabilities.
Essi is a young Togolese architect and urban planner, founder of ARCHID’AR and former consultant at the Togolese Ministry of Planning. After studying for certification in Energy in South Africa and certification in Public Administration in the USA, her passion for the environment pushed her to start the Youth Archidar program which trains young people in entrepreneurship and green leadership. Essi is an alumni of several American leadership programmes, including the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). Her career has also been sown with multiple international and national honors. Currently, she is the Togo country coordinator of the Obama Foundation and deputy of the African Diaspora government.
Fatmata is a feminist activist and UNFPA youth champion. She is also a co-founder and the president of the Sierra Leone Uncut Girls Association, a girls’ advocacy organisation working against female genital mutilation and other gender-based violence against women and girls. Mandigo by tribe, Fatmata was born and raised in Kono District, in a small and vulnerable village called Beudu Town, in Kissy Tongi Chiefdom. She is a member of the Tar Kura Youth Advisory Panel, and also currently works as an intern with Girls Empowered Sierra Leone.
Zoneziwoh is an award-winning feminist humanitarian storyteller with over 10 years of experience in gender and digital activism, movement building, policy advocacy and youth leadership. She is the Executive Director at Women for A Change in Cameroon where she designs, directs and executes programs for the advancement of women’s rights, leadership and empowerment. Her advocacy involves creating spaces for women and girls to engage with policy and decision makers at the highest levels including the UN Commission on the Status of Women. It also involves translating and raising awareness on national and international women’s rights frameworks including the Maputo Protocol and the Beijing Platform for Action.
Joy is a youth activist in climate action and the current National Coordinator of Green Girls Platform, a female-led initiative that works to achieve equality for girls and young women in the environment and find feminist solutions to the climate change crisis in Malawi. Joy enjoys doing voluntary work, especially working with girls and young women and seeing them actualise their dreams and empower their fellow women in the process.
Mercy is an intersectional African feminist with a commitment to human rights, social justice, and girls and young women. She is currently a Programme Assistant for Grants Administration at UHAI EASHRI, Africa’s first indigenous activist fund supporting sexual and gender minorities and sex worker human rights. Before joining UHAI EASHRI, she supported various programs at Akili Dada, a leadership incubator that nurtures transformative leadership in girls and young women through its holistic approach to education, leadership training and mentoring. Mercy has worked with girls and young women for the past eight years and is passionate about purposefully creating safe spaces for girls and young women that encourage intergenerational learning and agency.
The American Continent and the Caribbean
Gabrielle is based in Barbados and is a founding member of local NGO I Am a Girl Barbados, an international award-winning NGO focused on the empowerment of women, where she was an active member of the organisation for five years. She has sat for multiple terms on the Barbados Youth Development Council, the national umbrella organisation for youth organisations locally, with connections to both the Caribbean Youth Development Council and the Commonwealth Youth Council. This places her in a unique position on the ground to have real connections to activists in Barbados across areas such as women's rights, LGBTQ+ rights, environment sustainability, and youth development. A passionate, caring and determined youth and gender justice activist, with a keen interest in mental health, she is proud to hold hands with others — whether locally in Barbados, or across the globe — to work towards a more equitable tomorrow for us all.
Ariane is a Brazilian woman, feminist activist, and technologist based in Sao Paulo, Brazil. She is the co-founder of minasprogramam.com which, since 2015, has been carrying out projects to integrate more girls and women into technology. She has experience working as a graphic designer, creative director and product manager. Currently, Ariane studies Social Sciences at the University of Sao Paulo. She is interested in topics related to contemporary Latin American political struggles, black feminism and technology. Ariane loves Argentina, music, colors, and spending time at the beach with her friends.
Jandi is a member of the White Mountain Apache Tribe and was born and raised on the Fort Apache Reservation in Arizona. She is a 2017 Indigenous Fellow at the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights in Geneva, 2018 Global Indigenous Women's Leadership Scholar, and currently works building restorative mental health and wellness programs on her reservation. Jandi enjoys life in traditional ceremony with her children and is honored to carry the stone as a Godmother for her Goddaughters through Apache tradition.
Hawatu is a first-generation American who understands that protecting and empowering the most marginalised of our communities is the foundation for liberation. A nomad at heart, they have called Maryland, Virginia, California and Sierra Leone home. Hawatu decided to combine their collegiate studies in International Studies with responsible storytelling and became a contributor for the Mississippi-based organisation The Lighthouse | Black Girl Projects, highlighting the multidimensional experiences of Black women and femmes across the African diaspora. Their recent research focuses on the reintegration process of former child soldiers of Sierra Leone. Hawatu's desire is to use their experience as a peer mentor and project coordinator to center, uplift and advocate for marginalised communities. Hawatu is currently a member of the Reese | Brooks | Gilbert cohort, a leadership development program for college women, with The Lighthouse | Black Girl Projects.
Numa is a 28 year old non binary person from Guatemala. They are an anthropologist and artist who through poetry and social research explores the concepts of bodies, genders and sexualities. As part of the collective Cuirpoetikas, Numa creates formative workshops and artistic spaces to share knowledge and experiences from and for women and trans, queer, non binary and lgbtiqa+ people. The collective has run for the last four years, and produces an annual queer arts festival in Guatemala. Numa describes themselves as not an activist, but an artivist, focused on the visual and symbolic representations of sex and gender and on the transformation of power relationships in the racist, heteronormative and patriarchal system.
Juliana Roman Lozano
Juliana is a 35 year old Colombian and a feminist, bisexual and migrant woman. She is in the process of completing her anthropology thesis. Juliana is a former professional soccer player and now the coach of a professional women's soccer team in Argentina, using football as a tool to challenge the patriarchy. As part of feminist civil association La Nuestra Futbol Feminista, based in Buenos Aires, she works to empower girls and women through football, and fights for a woman’s right to play, and to imagine and shape a dissident, inclusive, anti-fascist and feminist world.
Daniela is a young feminist from El Salvador and a member of La Caldera, an anarchist feminist collective. Daniela has been a feminist activist since she was a teenager, advocating for safe abortion for all girls, teenagers and women in the region. She also provides information, care and accompaniment to children, young urban women and marginalised communities in the country, facilitating sexual and reproductive health and rights education, feminism and art workshops. Daniela is also a scenic and graphic artist who uses her performance and illustrations to speak out on injustices against women.
Abril Violeta is a bisexual gender fluid and non conforming ecofeminist. They are a communicologist specialising in Gender Studies in Education, and diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and generalised anxiety. Abril Violeta is a co-founder of Mexicali Resiste y Las Borders, and a co-founder and current coordinator at Bifanzine Colectivo. The foci of their activism are the visibility of the bisexual population, the co-creation of secure spaces for meetings and dialogues between LGBTIAPQN+ people, feminist support for safe abortion and the recovery of ancestral care to bodies and territory.
The Middle East and North Africa
Amani is a Palestinian women’s rights activist and a member of the UN Women’s Global Youth Task Force on Beijing +25. She is also a member of the Gender Innovation Program AGORA, and a co-founder and member of Bani-Zaid Youth Council. Amani holds a Master in Economics from Birzeit University and has managed innovative programs that help youth and women in the region. Amani’s experiences in conflict affected countries like Palestine contributed to her understanding that engaging more people, especially girls and women, as peacebuilders and change-makers is necessary in order to prevent and break cycles of violence, and to achieve peace and justice.
Fatima is a 23 year old Moroccan feminist activist. Her passion for girls and women's rights led her to work as a Senior Program Coordinator at Project Soar, an organisation that empowers girls to be the leaders of today and tomorrow. Fatima trains facilitators who come from all around Morocco to be part of the program. Fatima is aspiring for a world where all girls and women are treated equally and are given the power it takes to step into their potential.
Tara is an Iraqi women’s rights activist, working to encourage the economic, social and political participation of women. She has worked in the gender-based violence prevention and response domain for three years, through which women and girls are empowered economically and survivors of gender-based violence are supported with social and psychological counselling, legal assistance and case management. Tara brings together adolescent girls from marginalised backgrounds and engages them in sports and leadership activities, network development and other skills to empower them as agents of change. Tara is also involved in monitoring and localization of Iraqi NAP of the UNSCR 1325.
Emilia is a 14 year old girl from Palestine. She is an actress and activist who has been part of Inad Theater since she was six years old, taking part in several plays and TV appearances organised and produced by Inad. Emilia is a passionate advocate for girls’ rights. She has taken part in shows to raise awareness in local and international communities about the rights of marginalised people. Emilia was awarded the 2019 Actress at the Kids Talent Campus Palestine and 2019’s Best Actress at the Arab Child Theater Festival for her performance in The Little Match Girl.
Emna Mizouni is an advocate for open and free knowledge and freedom of internet access across Africa, the Middle East and globally. Originally a Digital Communications Specialist, Emna is a co-founder and currently the head of NGO Digital Citizenship, which works to address gender issues online. This includes supporting adolescent girls with tech skills, countering online hate speech, and equipping women journalists and bloggers with the tools and skills they need to be effective online. Emna is a community leader in the Wikimedia Movement and helps globally to build local and regional communities in the movement. Emna is a member of the WEF-Global Shapers Community and is also the founder of Carthagina, a national organisation to promote Tunisia globally by digitising its rich heritage.