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Rising Up for Youth

July 31, 2019 | Rise Up

In July 2019, PHI's Rise Up brought together 22 young leaders from Ethiopia, India, Pakistan, Rwanda, Mississippi, and Louisiana here in the San Francisco Bay Area to strengthen their leadership, build capacity, and launch game-changing initiatives to advance sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice (SRHRJ) for young people in their communities. As Rise Up’s third cohort of Youth Champions, this diverse and talented group graduated from an intensive week-long Incubator, equipped with a new network, tools, and resources to design their own SRHRJ solutions for the next generation.

Read on for their reflections on this experience and keep an eye out for updates on these incredible Youth Champions and their impacts. 

Mahlet Alemayehu, Ethiopia

Mahlet, a medical doctor and passionate advocate for women’s health, provides free medical service to underprivileged girls and women and advises on the design of a mobile application for family planning.

Mahlet (second from right, bottom) poses for a photo with fellow Rise Up Youth Champions

“My favorite part of the Youth Champions Initiative Incubator was the innovation and diversity. It helped me to have a global view and understanding of sexual and reproductive health and rights. I now have the network, friendships and support system that I need to advance my work.”

Ehsam Ullah Baig, Pakistan

Ehsam, the founder and CEO of Pakistan Innovation Summit for Education, is working to shift the focus of Pakistan’s public health education to include family planning and education on abortion.

Youth Champion Ehsam during the Incubator

“My favorite part of YCI was the overall environment that was full of learning, passion, energy, and love.”
Ashley Sheffield, United States
Ashley works at the Feminist Majority Foundation in Louisiana and is committed to improving sexual and reproductive health and rights and policy-making.
Ashley (left) with fellow Youth Champion Berky
“I grew the most through the conversations with everyone, sharing our experiences, and comparing organizing tactics. All of the Youth Champions were so welcoming and friendly, by the end of the Incubator we became a family.”