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Rise Up Leaders Advocate for Girls, Youth, and Women at the UN

March 08, 2017 | This announcement first appeared on the Rise Up site.

The sixty-first session of the Commission on the Status of Women will take place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 13 to 24 March 2017. This year, Rise Up’s delegation includes visionary leaders who have championed new laws and policies benefiting millions of girls, youth, and women in their communities across Nigeria, Malawi, and the United States. Learn more about the delegation and Rise Up events. 

Meet the Rise Up delegation:

Rise Up Champion and Program Manager, Girl Child Concerns, Nigeria

Umma Iliaysu-Mohammed is a dedicated development practitioner who works with Girl Child Concerns to help Nigerian girls realize their potential. She believes that girls’ empowerment requires education, life skills, and knowledge about their reproductive health and rights. Umma, a 2014 graduate of Rise Up’s Champions for Change initiative, is a journalist by training and has degrees in Mass Communications and Management Science.

Rise Up Champion and Deputy Executive Director, WHARC, Nigeria

Dr. Wilson Imongan is a renowned medical practitioner and advocate for maternal health in Nigeria. At Women’s Health and Action Research Centre (WHARC), he is responsible for maternal health and communications outreach. Wilson is also involved in activities on the ground, including Ekiti State’s teenage pregnancy prevention program. He is a 2014 graduate of Rise Up’s Champions for Change initiative.

Program Manager, Girls Empowerment Network, Malawi

Tamara is an acclaimed leader for girls’ empowerment around the world with over a decade of experience working directly with girls. As Program Manager of the Girls Empowerment Network Malawi (GENET), she enables a network of young women to advocate for girls’ health, education, and livelihoods. GENET is Rise Up’s lead partner on ending child marriage in Malawi, with support from the Gates Foundation and in partnership with Michelle Obama’s Let Girls Learn initiative

Rise Up Youth Champion, United States

Nakita is a tireless advocate for sexual and reproductive health and rights and promotes girls’ leadership and community development in her city of New Orleans. She is involved in movements to transform New Orleans’ communities by fighting for justice and opportunities for people of color. Nakita currently works at the Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies, runs her own non-profit organization, and is a 2014 graduate of Rise Up’s Youth Champions Initiative.

Rise Up Advisory Board Member and Research Fellow, United States

Riya is a powerful voice for girls’ education and rights in the US and globally. She recently earned a Bachelor’s from UC Berkeley and completed two theses on the social cognitive implications of safe spaces and on the right to quality education, both focused on northern Nigeria’s adolescent girls. Riya has served as a Teen Advisor and Co-chair to the UN Foundation’s Girl Up campaign.

Rise Up Program Manager, Champions for Change, United States

Rufaro is a leader in public health advocacy and communications with over ten years’ experience developing programs in Sub-Saharan Africa. She is a seasoned cross-cultural communicator bridging global funders and local networks of CSO and policy leaders, with extensive front-line experience developing and managing advocacy programs to improve women and girl’s health outcomes. Rufaro earned a Bachelor’s in Media Communications and a Master’s in Leadership and Management.

Rise Up Founder and Executive Director, United States

Dr. Denise Raquel Dunning is a passionate advocate for girls, women, and young people. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Rise Up, which impacts the lives of 115 million girls, youth, and women globally. Denise is a Fulbright Scholar whose work has been featured in The New York Times, Ms. Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, and The Guardian, and she now is writing a book about girls’ and women’s leadership and empowerment.













































Rise Up events at the un commision on the status of women

Learn more about the events: Download the social media toolkit or join Rise Up on Facebook Live at the designated panel times.

Her Voice Matters
MONDAY, MARCH 13th | 4:30PM – 6:00PM
Armenian Cultural Center | Yerevan Hall | 630 2nd Avenue

Girl and women leaders share their perspectives, stories, and experiences as black leaders working for racial, social, and economic justice in the US and globally.

Moderator: Rufaro Kangai, Rise Up
Panelists: Alicia Garza, Black Lives Matter; Umma Iliyasu-Mohammed, Girl Child Concerns; Nakita Shavers, Rise Up Youth Champion; Beverly Tillery, New York City Anti-Violence Project; Vicki Wilkerson, Salesforce


Movement Building for Safe Motherhood
TUESDAY, MARCH 14th | 8:30AM – 10:00AM
Community Church of New York | Assembly Hall | 40 E 35th Street

African experts discuss advocacy for improved health and rights for girls and women, sharing clips from the new Nollywood feature film “Zahra.” 

"Zahra" is a powerful new Nollywood film that brings attention to the health and safety challenges facing women in Nigeria. Produced by award-winning Nigerian film director Emem Isong Misodi, and featuring some of Nollywood’s biggest stars, “Zahra” highlights the power of girls and women to fight injustice and become leaders. Learn more about the film here.

Moderator: Dr. Denise Raquel Dunning, Rise Up Panelists: Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi, Global Fund for Women; Dr. Yetnayet Asfaw Demessie, EngenderHealth; Umma Iliyasu-Mohammed, Girl Child Concerns; Dr. Wilson Imongan, Women’s Health and Action Research Centre; Rufaro Kangai, Rise Up; Christine Terina, World Pulse


Impact of Global Philanthropy on Girls
THURSDAY, MARCH 16TH | 2:30PM – 4:00PM
Church Center of the United Nations | 2nd Floor | 777 United Nations Plaza

Expert panelists discuss how philanthropy can drive new resources to girls globally.

Moderator: Dr. Denise Raquel Dunning, Rise Up Panelists: Amy Kopelan, Bedlam Productions, Inc.; Tamara Mhango, Girls Empowerment Network Malawi; Jodi Morris, Connecting Growth Globally; Tracy Nowski, McKinsey & Company, Inc.; Helen Seibel, AstraZeneca; Riya Singh, Rise Up; Michelle Swenson, It’s Time Network



Rise Up advances health, education and equity for girls, youth, and women everywhere. Since 2009, Rise Up's global network of 500+ leaders have directly reached 7 million girls, youth, and women and have successfully advocated for over 100 laws and policies impacting 115 million people. We invest in visionary leaders, local organizations, and innovative solutions to achieve large scale change through leadership development, advocacy, funding, and storytelling. Rise Up unifies the power of Let Girls Lead, Champions for Change, and the Youth Champions Initiative to create a better future for girls, youth, and women in Africa, Central America, South Asia, and the United States. Rise Up is based at The Public Health Institute, a leader in global health for 50 years.

For more information please visit us here: www.riseuptogether.org