The ECYL Programme is a year-long focal point position in the Earth Charter Youth Network. Young Leaders connect with, motivate, and engage their contemporaries to join the Earth Charter movement and shape a more peaceful, just, and sustainable world.
Active October 2017- September 2018
Olabanji Jackson-oke (Nigeria)
Olabanji is an Environmental & Social Risk/Sustainability Analyst by profession. He holds a degree in Political Science from the University of Lagos and currently works with a leading Financial Institution in Nigeria. His job involves making the case for the integration of Sustainability into the projects the bank invests in and strategies to reduce the carbon footprints of the bank.
He discovered his passion for the environment during one of his undergrad classes. This inspired his Thesis on the Politics of Climate Change as an Emerging Threat to International Peace and Security. Post-graduation, he has continued to dedicate himself to initiatives that provide the opportunity to express his dedication to sustainable development. He has mainly worked on projects that allow him to impact the lives of the marginalized community. This has cut across school rehabilitation, primary school enrollments for children in impoverished neighbourhoods, and technical support to start-up businesses of the minority. He is presently a contributor at SustyVibes, an SDGs advocacy platform for youth and women’s empowerment.
Olabanji resonates most with Principles 9 and 12 of the Earth Charter and will focus most of his articles and workshops around them. Olabanji enjoys reading contemporary literature, writing and taking long walks. His greatest accomplishment to date was hiking on Mount Cameroon! He looks forward to new adventures and any opportunity to commune with nature.
Babajide Oluwase (Nigeria)
Babajide is the Founder of RenewDrive, an innovation-driven enterprise that develops and distributes clean and affordable energy solutions as well as EcoChamps, an initiative that creates awareness and provides young people with requisite knowledge and skills to conserve the environment.
With 5+ years’ experience in planning and implementing environmental sustainability projects, Babajide has worked with people from diverse backgrounds who are committed to challenge the status quo. By designing project platforms and resources, he aims to inspire other young changemakers to achieve outcomes that align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
When Babajide realized how much damage human-induced activities like poor waste management, eco-illiteracy, and deforestation have caused the environment, rather than complain about the issue, he chose to do otherwise. His interest in environmental advocacy stemmed from various environmental activities involved as an advocate from his high school days.
Babajide recently published a book on climate change titled, “The Young Climate Heroes”. His efforts have improved the wellbeing of hundreds of people across Nigerian communities and recognized by numerous awards – including 2017 Engagement Global Social Innovator, 2016 Merti360 Youth Climate Action Challenge Finalist, and 2016 U.S Department of State Green Champion amongst others.
Gha Jerry Mua (Cameroon)
Jerry has a burning zeal for and passionate about Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and in general the UNDP Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Presently volunteering in the Centre of Community Regeneration and Development (CCREAD) Cameroon, an organization with special consultative with the UN. Jerry occupies the position as the head of the Finance and Administration Unit and also project assistant, assisting in many projects that entails drilling young people towards building a sustainable community. He has been part of the implementation of partnered projects of the organization like the Welmarts program with German organizations for Volunteer Exchange programs, the Agro-project through the ERASMUS plus KA2 and also the Sustainable Agricultural Entrepreneurship Exchange between Africa and Europe. He also assisted his organization in winning the UNESCO-Japan prize award for the Integration of ESD programs in schools for the year 2016. Given his passion about entrepreneurship, he has been a facilitator of most of the organization’s seminars and workshops on business and entrepreneurship and a present trainer in this in the organization’s vocational centre where we have been training youth, especially women and girls, in some handworks in life.
Gha has a degree in Accounting from the University of Buea and he is presently undergoing his Masters in Business Administration in Accounting in Saint Monica University, Buea and holds other certificates from training programs in Leadership course and Business Management. Given his devoutness in his accounting field, Gha has developed strong zeal to advocate for leaders in our present day society who will be Accountable, Responsible and Transparent in their actions which is the cry in our world today, leaders who will be accountable to the people they govern. He is also concerned with Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) for corporations giving them a mindset of system thinkers. As one who holds the value of non-discrimination and equality among the human race. Gha holds strong the statement of President Franklin Delano Roosovelt for a better well. He said “we looked forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. He named them: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear. Gha Jerry Mua remains a dynamic youth standing for the truth and he’s open to networking with diverse mindsets.
“Don’t just think about your own affairs but be interested in others, too, and in what they are doing. We must learn to do well, seek judgement, relieve the oppressed, stand for the fatherless and plead for the widow. This is how our world should be.”
Active August 2017- July 2018
My name is Cristian Yael Vazquez Martinez, I am 19 years old and I am from the Mexican Republic, State of Mexico. I currently have a technical career as a dental assistant and a technical career in administrative informatics. Since childhood, ecology has been a very important factor in my lifetime. I have attended various courses related to sustainability and leadership and I am currently working on a project which consists of creating sustainable greenhouses in marginalized communities.
I am a member of the Scouts Association of Mexico since 2007 in which I have been involved in various national and global social and environmental projects. I am part of the committee of the network of young provinces Cuautitlan (Scouts of Mexico) as the coordinator in the period 2016-2017.
Rocío M. Collantes G. (Panama)
Rocío holds a degree in International Relations and received her International Postgraduate Diploma in Climate Change. She is currently a United Nations Volunteer in conferences and activities on the great importance of the Sustainable Development Objectives and the United Nations System, Member of the National Association of Diplomats of Panama and Human Rights Activist, pre-graduate in Faculty of Law and Political Sciences of the University of Panama, and is engaged in participating in cultural events, forums, and conferences held on the Law in general.
She coordinated the Labor Insertion Program in the Vice-Rector’s Office of Student Affairs of the University of Panama in 2013 to find employment for students and graduates, through ministries, institutions, agencies and companies that make up the Panamanian State. She participated as “DELEGATE YOUTH – EDUCATION TABLE” at the IV Forum of Youth of the Americas, in commemoration of the VII Summit of the Americas in 2015 in Panama City.
She represented the Faculty of Law and Political Sciences of the University of Panama as “DELEGATE” at the XVI World Summit of Nobel Peace Prizes, held in Bogota, Colombia in 2017.
Active April 2017- March 2018
Joshua Amponsem, is an environmental activist and climate advocate with a Bachelor degree in Environmental Science. He focuses on youth mobilization (via volunteerism and social media) for environmental change through education and advocacy. Joshua sees advocacy as an important medium in engineering change in Africa. While an undergraduate, he founded Green Africa Youth Organization – a non-profit organization which serves as an advocacy anchor in environmental sustainability.
Joshua is the Research and Outreach Coordinator for Ghana Youth Climate Coalition, and the Youth Vice President of UNEP’s Ecosystem Based Adaptation for Food Security in Africa Assembly (EBAFOSA) in Ghana.
In 2016, Joshua became a fellow of the Inner Dimensions of Climate Change by the Global Peace Initiative of Women, where he spoke at the GPIW COP22 retreat on the loss of indigenous knowledge and its relation to climate change. He was also named as the first World Climate Ambassador in West Africa by MIT’s Climate Interactive Program following his immense dedication in organizing climate education events for young people across the world.
Over the years, he has served as a leader and mentor in global youth networks including UNEP’s Tunza platform (where he was recently awarded the best ambassador award for mentoring young people across the globe towards making impact in their community), UNFCCC’s International Youth Climate Coalition; and local networks such as the Ghana Youth Environmental Movement, IDEAS for US, and Challenges Worldwide.
Quote: “Advocacy and Youth Inclusion is now a necessity to ensure a viable economic transform in Africa while protecting ecological and natural resources.”
Bente Klein is originally from the Netherlands, but in the past 2.5 years has lived in four countries with the fifth being Germany, coming up soon. Bente was trained as an environmental and climate change lawyer at the University of Edinburgh and currently works as a renewable energy and climate policy consultant. She aims to help governments – especially in the Global South – and international organisations, with the creation of policy to safeguard our planet for future generations and share our common resources in an equitable manner. When law gets too static or climate politics too frustrating, however, Bente likes to engage in bottom-up activism and lobbying to make politicians and lawmakers move a tad faster.
a 25 years old social entrepreneur founder of “Real Green Gold Ltd” and graduate of Biotechnology at the University of Rwanda. With a background in the areas of industrial biotechnology, molecular biology and graduated of the Regent University Centre for Entrepreneurship.
With a passion in biodiversity and ecosystem services, Pacifique has worked as an activist at the Rwandan University Club for Conservation of Biodiversity (RUCCB) during his time in college. With his social venture “Real Green Gold Ltd”, he does organic banana farming and packaging. Through training he works with smallholder banana farmers to equip them with modern organic farming skills. Real Green Gold does collection, packaging and distribution of premium bananas around Kigali, capital of Rwanda. Pacifique is also an award winner of These Numbers Have Faces/Accelerate Academy, Tony Elumeru Foundation Entrepreneur as well as a StartUp! Facilitator & Business Coach at Digital Opportunity Trust. Pacifique hopes to find a job to strengthen his career and widen his horizons as a young entrepreneur and youth leader.
Victor is a Co – founder of Environmental Deficiency Elimination for the Nations – Garden City Project (EDEN – GCP), a Garden City Project themed EDEN (after the legendary garden of Eden) to evoke the images of an ideal garden city in the minds of residents and to stimulate desired action for sustainable cities. The objectives with EDEN-GCP are to engender visible attitudinal changes starting with Diobu,Port-Harcourt on proper waste sorting and disposal, contribute to the global conversation on the environment, build capacity of young people to take advantage of waste and environmental-degradation. Victor is currently co-facilitating the Earth Charter 10-week online youth training programme, Leadership, Sustainability, and Ethics. He has been active in environmental protection through enabling vulnerable populations to use green business as a form of non – violent advocacy in natural resource – driven, armed – conflict areas (e.g. Niger Delta). He is also a co – convener of the annual International Trash Conference and a recipient of the Nigeria – America Partnership Award. He is a member of the Youth Alliance for Leadership and Development in Africa (YALDA) and has a masters and bachelors degree in Economics from the University of Port Harcourt and Babcock University respectively.
Rohdof is passionate about conservation and the environment. He is currently volunteering at Pro Climate International Cameroon where he holds the post of a field technician. He is also currently co-facilitating the Earth Charter 10-week online youth training programme, Leadership, Sustainability, and Ethics. He has been participating in the implementation of field activities which include sensitization of local communities on the importance of nature conservation, climate change mitigation and adaptation technology. Part of his fieldwork includes conducting household surveys on the benefits and efficiency of using improved stoves with fuel wood saving potentials and mobilization of community social groups. He is also involved in some youth groups in Buea community where he participates in youth programs in organizing seminars and workshops. Currently, he is the coordinator of Solidage Africa Foundation in Cameroon.
He has just been awarded a Masters degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Management from the University of Buea, Cameroon where he graduated amongst those in the top position of his class.
He loves working with youth and meeting people who are passionate about conserving the environment and its natural resources.
Branislav Trudíc (Serbia)
Member of Council for Ethical Questions, National Association of Youth Workers of Serbia (NAPOR) and Coordinator of Programmes in Youth Work
Branislav is an experienced youth worker and activist, with almost 9 years engagement in civil society organizations in Serbia. When Branislav is working and supporting different groups of young people, he is developing and learning at the same time, shaping the experience, expanding mutual critical thinking and enhancing empathy and compassion for different vulnerable groups with whom he would like to work more in the future. Currently, Branislav is a licenced trainer for 4th educational module Leadership and trainer for human rights education on National training for human rights educators’ programme of CoE and SEC. He designed and implemented developmental programmes for youth leaders and youth workers in Novi Sad, Sombor, Bečej, Temerin and Belgrade in past. Branislav was involved in around 30 different projects and developmental programmes, hosted by many different local, national and international organizations, in different roles: from youth worker and trainer to consultant for strategic planning and project manager. Most of the developmental programmes were aimed for young people, youth leaders and volunteers in mentioned communities, preparing them for community youth work and activism. Programmes lasted between 3 months and one year containing different educational modules based on non-formal education methodologies and youth work, one-to-one mentoring, couching and practical work of the participants in the communities. Branislav also delivered different projects and programmes in social and peacebuilding education in Serbia, for different intercultural groups of young people in period 2008-2015.
He found himself quite resourceful for groups of young people and youth workers and open for sharing and developing joint initiatives. Branislav is passionate to explore youth work concepts, to discuss them, to possibly define its community authenticities with group with whom he is going to work. While designing and delivering youth work, Branislav is goal-oriented, trying to find balance between products, results and processes within different settings and love to partnership with the others and groups of people.
Kitty Verduin (Netherlands/Canada)
Kitty Verduin is from the Netherlands, but lost her heart to Canada 3,5 years ago. She combines the values and principles of the Earth Charter with her background in her work with Dudoc Vancouver, a project of World of Walas. Through her background in International Relations, she became especially interested in the global interaction between the market, government and society. The vision, mission and work of Earth Charter lie at the heart of this interaction.
At World of Walas she helps establish the Earth Charter Friends Canada network. This is a network where Canadians can come together, share their Earth Charter stories and work together in the transition towards a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world. Another great focus of her at Dudoc is working with innovations. Innovations are the bridge between the Walas’ global stage, where we work on our vision and policies for sustainable cities, and Walas’ long term practices in sustainable community development projects. Kitty is grateful for the opportunity to help create these Earth Charter and Earth Charter Cities driven cities and projects.
Active Aug. 2016 – July 2017
Cannita is a member of the Caribbean Youth Environment Network – Saint Lucia Chapter, where she currently holds the post of Vice President and works as a public servant within the government of Saint Lucia. She has received an Associate’s Degree in Quantity Surveying from Sir Arthur Lewis Community College where she graduated at the top of her class. She is currently looking into pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in Quantity Surveying. Cannita is passionate about volunteering and the environment. She is also currently an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT-B) of the Saint Lucia Red Cross and a Staff Sergeant with the Saint Lucia Cadet Corps.
Originally from Germany, but now calling Vancouver, Canada her home, Josephine Schrott is helping establish a Canadian Earth Charter network, with a focus on youth & community engagement. She studied International Relations and is passionate about building sustainable communities and inspired by the Earth Charter’s holistic approach addressing humanity’s most pressing problems. As part of World of Walas, she works at Dudoc Vancouver, a centre enabling European businesses to transfer their innovations to North America. In her time off, she does local activist and volunteer work and enjoys the beautiful Canadian outdoors.
Julián has been active over the past 10 years in public policy development and corporate social responsibility projects. He is currently Vice President of Climate Change Permanent Conference of Political Parties of Latin America Youth (COPPPAL) and is part of the Climate Reality Project. In 2010 he was named an Agent of Change of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Foundation and in 2013 he was recognized as Young Entrepreneur of the Year.He has a degree in Business Administration from the Latin University of Costa Rica, a Master in Applied Political Studies from the International Foundation for Iberoamerica of Administration and Public Policy (FIIAPP), and is currently studying Industrial Engineering.
Kelly, from Mombasa, Kenya is a core member, volunteer, and the Regional Coordinator at Catholic Youth Network for Environmental Sustainability in Africa, a pan African NGO that brings catholic youth to care for and protect the environment. Kelly is also an organizer with the Miritini Peace Initiative which was established amid the 2007-2008 post-election violence in order to promote peace and sustainable leadership. He is a former Mombasa diocesan youth chairperson, and an actor and writer with Big Dreams Productions. Kelly has diplomas in Sales and Marketing, Journalism, and Community Development and is pursuing a degree in Development Studies. He is passionate about working with and for the community, particularly in the areas of the environment, peace and stability.
Mohammed is the co-founder of Better Together, an organization for social service and interfaith activities in Tempe, Arizona. He has worked as a teacher and facilitator in many organizations including Saudi Scout, KFUPM volunteering unit, and the Center of Excellence in Development of Non-Profit Organizations in Dhahran. Mohammed works as a lecturer and researcher in engineering/social sciences research at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) in Saudi Arabia. He holds an MS in Industrial Engineering and an MA in Social and Cultural Pedagogy from Arizona State University in addition to his BS in Electrical Engineering from KFUPM.
Driven by the Earth Charter and the Earth Charter Cities Manifesto, Nadine works in the Netherlands as a Program Manager with the Walas team to develop vital and lively places for people to live. Nadine studied Built Environment and Architecture with a focus in cities and cultural heritage. During her studies she learned a lot about technical innovations and sustainability to redevelop industrial buildings. Taught and inspired by Gerben van Straaten, Walas Concepts CEO, she learned how to create truly healthy, inclusive, and sustainable communities. She believes in the need to enhance economic, social, and cultural values within urban settings.
Peter is a sexual/reproductive health activist from Cameroon. He has a strong commitment to advocating for the needs of young people through promotion of laws and policies that ensure human rights and fundamental freedoms. He is Founder and Executive Director of Vision in Action Cameroon, a community-based organization dedicated to empowering adolescents on sexual and reproductive health through information and skills training to help them make informed choices. Peter holds a BSc in Community and Public Health.
Rabab the founder of the NGO Students4Students, a platform for students and by students that offers a space to start projects and obtain training. In the last seven years, she has been participating in her local community as The Hague Youth Ambassador for Education and Youth Unemployment. In 2014, Rabab received a Ribbon from the Mayor of the Hague for her role in the community as a young entrepreneur. She is very passionate about ecoliteracy and non-traditional education and is an advocate for environmental issues in relation to social responsibility. She is a student of International Public Management at The Hague University of Applied Science in the Netherlands.
Shikha is presently working with F.A.I.T.H (For Aiding Individuals Tolerating Humiliation) as a facilitator to spread awareness about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She interned at Kanpur Parivartan Forum where she worked on a development project which turned a slum into a cleaner and more green environment and has also worked with with the Center for Environmental Law at Nirma University in organizing various workshops on SDGs. Shikha is currently studying law at Institute of Law, Nirma University at Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India.
Active Jan. 2017 – Dec. 2017
Ana Karen, 21, is a student of International Relations at the Autonomous University of Nuevo León and works as a teacher of Artistic Gymnastics. She is passionate about sports, contact with nature, multidisciplinary learning and social and environmental projects. In addition, she loves to travel. From a very young age she has belonged to the World Scout Organization where she has participated in important projects at the university and national level, mainly to promote the Sustainable Development Objectives (ODS). She also participates with the Global Biodiversity Network Mexico Chapter working on the proposal of a state biodiversity strategy. She recently started facilitating workshops focused on the Earth Charter and its pillars, mainly for children and adolescents.
Carla has a strong interest in environmental and social issues that she has been able to deepen in recent years through various volunteering experiences with indigenous communities, refugees, and other communities. She has worked to raise awareness on various environmental problems such as the effects of human activities on ecosystems and climate change. Carla is part of the Climate Reality Project. She is an Industrial Engineer and holds a master’s degree in Environmental Engineering and Technology, as well as advanced studies in Natural Resources Management.
Catalina is a professional in Ecological Tourism and Management of Non-Formal Education. She is a tourism guide that specializes in naturalism, environmental education and capacity building and project development processes with young people for the benefit of their communities. Passionate about the idea of achieving true sustainable development, she constantly seeks to learn, to transform her personal practices and to be an agent of change in her environment. She volunteers for community groups that work for social and environmental well-being, and has experience in working with groups, particularly in the development of experiential workshops.
Danelia has worked for 8 years on issues related to the environment and childhood. She is the founder of the Changing Minds Costa Rica initiative, which is underpinned by SDG #12 and #13. She also volunteers with the Raleigh International program on health, resilience, empowerment, environment and natural resource management. She is also an organizing member of the group 100in1day. Graduate in International Relations from the Latin University of Costa Rica, Danelia is currently pursuing an advanced degree with National University of Costa Rica in the field of International Relations with an emphasis on Cooperation.
Dennis has been an assistant in the Institute of Social Studies in Population of the National University of Costa Rica, where he has developed the cartography for different projects of social extension. He has worked on issues related to ecological connectivity, conservation and biological corridors through the use of Geographic Information Systems. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Geographical Sciences with an emphasis on Territorial Planning, and is currently studying to earn an advanced degree in the same field. He has recently been involved in the promotion of Natural Monuments as a conservation figure under the geomorphosis approach. He also serves as an advisor to the Environmental Affairs Commission of the Tibás City Council. He lives in San José, Costa Rica.
Hugo is an environmentalist, technologist, Climatic Reality leader, and news anchor on environmental subjects in the State of Querétaro, Mexico. Hugo has participated with his State Legislature promoting the Law of Climate Change and with diverse social groups generating cohesion in the community work. In 2010, he won the National Exposciences award in the area of Exact and Environmental Sciences, and in 2013 was awarded the Municipal and State Youth Prize in his region in the area of Environmental Protection. From there, he founded his own civil organization, Principia por el Mundo A.C., dedicated to promoting principles and values for sustainable development. He has promoted several campaigns and projects such as Earth Hour, Pachamama Fest, Reforestation and Cinema with sense. He is also advisor to the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development and member of the Ibero-American Leaders Group of the Pachamama Alliance. He is a regional social entrepreneur.
Jorge, a native of Spain, is passionate about the protection and conservation of nature. Volunteer and activist in the “Natural Fund” and “Friends of the Earth” organizations, he works as a project coordinator and youth facilitator in voluntary and non-formal environmental education programs in the field of youth at local and European level in order to foster a critical understanding of our environment and empower young people to become agents of change. Among a multitude of various projects, he highlights “School of Sustainability”, a project to promote citizen action in matters of climate and social justice, food sovereignty or global development.
Ernesto He currently serves as an environmental consultant and promotes company compliance with legislation in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. He is also an educator for sustainable development and project developer for different non-governmental organizations. He is passionate about the development of aboriginal communities, the conservation of ecosystems, and social participation in the construction of sustainable communities. Ernesto firmly believes that young people can take action that is innovative, inclusive and sustainable. He holds a degree in Sustainable Tourism and Hotel Management with a focus on Tourism Planning and Development.
Paola is a university professor and researcher in the areas of performing arts and education. She is currently in the process of developing her doctoral thesis in education at the University of La Salle, Costa Rica, investigating the relationships between biopedagogy, sustainability and cognitive aesthetics as pillars of sustainable human development working under the Earth Charter approach. She is interested in the inclusion of women and children in society at all levels and believes it is fundamental to work for the rights of plants and animals. She holds a Master’s Degree in Theater Studies from the Autonomous University of Barcelona and holds a degree in Performing Arts and Philosophy from the National University of Costa Rica. Paola lives in Heredia, Costa Rica.
Since her high school years, Sofía has participated in leadership programs, and environmental and political youth organizations. She is currently involved in workshops to raise awareness on sustainability issues including waste management and consumer responsibility at the community level. She is passionate about serving as a voice for these causes and is comfortable facilitating. She believes in the importance to promote leadership in young people so that they can guide the society they belong to and begin to forge a more just and sustainable world, aware of the challenges we face as humanity today. In her spare time, she volunteers for non-profit and social welfare organizations. Sofía is a student at the University of Costa Rica.