Our Work Equality and Inclusion CYGEN Executive Committee Olaoluwa Abagun, Co-ordinatorE: [email protected] Olaoluwa is a Lawyer and Founder of Girl Pride Circle - a girls' rights advocacy NGO in Nigeria. She is the Co-ordinator of the Commonwealth Youth Gender and Equality Network (CYGEN) and an Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society. 'More than ever, Commonwealth youth are raising their voices, challenging status quo and mobilising for change. From social media campaigning to grassroots advocacy, we continue to stand against the discrimination and exclusion of women, girls, and sexual and gender minorities across social, economic and political spaces. Through our resilience and expertise, we have kept the spotlight on equality and inclusion - both as a goal itself and as a pathway to a common future. With our membership across 40 countries and all regions of the Commonwealth, the CYGEN is a melting pot of youth-led efforts in the fight for a fairer and more equal Commonwealth. As Commonwealth youth with a shared vision, we have come together in the lead up to CHOGM 2020 to create a campaign, calling on our governments to change discriminatory laws that have held us back. Beyond the campaign, we will continue to amplify our voices to advance the rights of all and create a gender just Commonwealth.' Christine Ghati Alfons - Kenya, Child Early and Forced Marriage Executive Christine has worked on CEFM issues for more than 7 years. She was volunteer Gender Equality and Social Inclusions Officer at Peace Ambassadors Integration Organisation and founded Safe Engage Foundation- a CBO working towards ensuring child protection and ending harmful cultural practices. Currently she serves as treasurer on the Board of Msichana Empowerment Kuria and is Director of Safe Engage Foundation. 'CYGEN connects you with other youths across the Commonwealth who have a similar interest...we connect and encourage each other. My first travel out of my country was because of CYGEN and this was an enlightening moment.' Eman Borg - Malta, SOGIGESC Executive Eman is President of the first LGBTI+ organisation on the island region of Gozo, with educational campaigns, workshops in schools, social activities and policy recommendations as its main agenda. Eman has been an executive member of the National Youth Council for 3 years, and holds the post of Secretary General with the Commonwealth. 'CYGEN is an international network of youths willing to work for and sustain an equal Commonwealth irrespective of what background we come from. It facilitates conversations within youths across the world, learning to challenge biases and misconceptions about other cultures.' Martina Farrugia - Malta, Governance & Gender Executive Martina has a Master Degree in Women’s & Gender Studies & is currently a Research Support Officer & lecturer with the Department of Gender Studies at the University of Malta. Martina sits on the executive committee of A4E - Association for Equality Malta as Marketing & Social Media Officer. Over the past few years she has become aware of the importance of youth activism to aid social change and that the voice of many can really make a difference within any community. 'CYGEN helps to connect individuals from across the Commonwealth together and helps us to understand our differences, to celebrate our commonalities, to focus on our directive and to give youth the tools in order to continue creating positive change.' Pravin Nikam - India, Sexual Reproductive Heath Rights Executive Pravin is a human rights lawyer, educator and gender equality advocate. His work on SRHR, MHM and Family Planning is based on an integrated approach and includes capacity building, advocacy on national and international platforms and facilitating links and dialogues between public, private and civil society. 'CYGEN has been instrumental in changing the social discourse when it comes to gender equality...and has enabled young people across the globe to become change-makers. My experience with CYGEN has been excellent.' Shiromi Samarakoon - Sri Lanka,Youth Transitions Executive Shiromi has been serving as a youth and child rights specialist and an activist for nearly a decade. She is the former Representative of Special Interest Groups of the Commonwealth Youth Council and former youth parliamentarian of Sri Lanka Youth Parliament. Shiromi is the Project manager of Online Violence against Children at Save the Children International and she worked as Assistant Manager of Primary and Secondary Education Programmes of the British Council Sri Lanka. 'CYGEN has made a remarkable representation in number of international forums contributing and influencing policies and decisions applicable to young people nationally and internationally.'