Meet the Earth Charter Young Leaders

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 April 2017- March 2018

JoshuaJoshua Amponsem (Ghana)

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.”

Blog: www.amponsem.wordpress.com | Twitter: @AmponsemJoshua | LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/amponsem

foto benteBente Klein (Germany/ Netherlands)

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.

pacifiquePacifique Nshimiyimana (Rwanda)

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 Okechukwu PPVictor Okechukwu (Nigeria)

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.

rohdofRohdof Lactem (Cameroon)

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.

Active Aug. 2016 – July 2017

cannita-meliusCannita Melius (Saint Lucia)

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.

josephine-schrottJosephine Schrott (Germany/Canada)

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-arias-varelaJulián Arias Varela (Costa Rica)

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-ngetiKelly Ngeti (Kenya)

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-baaoumMohammed Ba-Aoum (Saudi Arabia)

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.

nadine-huidsNadine Huids (Netherlands)

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-nguafac-temate-fongehPeter Nguafac Temate Fongeh (Cameroon)

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-hammicheRabab Hammiche

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-tripathiShikha Tripathi

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-proaAna Karen Proa Rebolledo (Mexico)

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-diazCarla Diaz (Costa Rica/Peru)

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-gomezCatalina Gómez Vives (Costa Rica)

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-zuñigaDanelia Zuñiga Alvarado (Costa Rica)

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-perezDennis Pérez Umaña (Costa Rica)

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-roblesHugo Enrique Robles Bustamante (Mexico)

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-graciasJorge Gracia (Spain)

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-muñozMelchor Ernesto Muñoz Dzib (Mexico)

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-gonzalezPaola González Vargas (Costa Rica)

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.

sofia-mendozaSofía Mendoza Aguilar (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.