OCIC Youth Policy-Makers Hub

Global problems like gender inequality and climate change affect people of all ages everywhere. These complex problems require holistic inter-generational approaches, diverse mindsets, multi-disciplinary methods and multi-sectoral dialogue. OCIC recognizes the wealth of knowledge, experience and leadership that youth leaders bring to the international cooperation sector in Ontario and beyond. We want to help enable the active participation of youth at local, national and international policy-making tables to inform decisions that concern their lives, future and the planet.

OCIC’s Youth Policy-Makers Hub (YPH) seeks to engage diverse youth from across Ontario in international cooperation policy processes in support of Gender Equality, Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP) action areas, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In doing so, we also hope to increase the awareness and interest of Ontarians, especially youth, in international cooperation and key global issues, and to offer opportunities for meaningful participation in advocacy and policy-making processes, meetings and delegations.

 

THE 2023-2024 POLICY MATTERS SERIES

The 2023-2024 Policy Matters Series is focused on Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP), with a monthly focus on each of its action area. You can watch the recordings from previous sessions below.

Mark your Calendars: April 8, 2024, Monday, 6:00 – 7:30 pm: FIAP Action Area 4: Environment and Climate Change

MEET THE 2023-2024 YOUTH POLICY-MAKERS

Yusra Ahmed

Yusra (she/her) is a recent grad from the UofT, with a degree in Global Health, and a passionate Somali Muslim woman deeply concerned about climate change's impact on women and children. Her Global Health background equips her with valuable insights and an understanding of the complexities of health-related issues exacerbated by climate change. Recognizing this as a threat multiplier that disproportionately affects vulnerable demographics, Yusra hopes to advocate for effective policies that can reduce mortality from diseases worsened by rising global temperatures. She strongly believes in the importance of prioritizing mitigation efforts, renewable energy, and sustainable agriculture to decrease carbon emissions and create a safer environment. She aspires to advocate for inclusive climate policies tailored to address the unique needs of women and children.

Angelina Ding

Angelina (she/her) has a diverse background in gender equality, migration studies, social entrepreneurship, and food security. Angelina embarked on her social innovation and social justice journey at the age of 17, overcoming gender-based violence, education barriers, and financial insecurity while growing up in China. She is passionate about the social issues caused by geographical dislocations and cultural conflicts. She has 2 years of experience as a social entrepreneur, working with vulnerable migrant youth on their ignored mental health and quality education needs. Recently, she has been researching and advocating for newcomer women's rights in the Canadian job market. During her leisure time, Angelina enjoys pole dancing, which helps her overcome body shame.

Clementine Jarrett

Clementine (she/her, they/them) is a child rights advocate and honours student at Carleton University, pursuing a double bachelor's degree in Human Rights and Social Justice & Feminist Studies, with a minor in Community Engagement. Clementine’s life goal is to support those of marginalized backgrounds and identities through the implementation of subject-informed public policy. In particular, she’s focused on advocating for children and youth in the foster care system. Having survived over a decade in foster and group homes, Clementine is continuously striving to rise above their circumstances and ignite meaningful change, despite all odds. So far, the fruits of her labour are uninterrupted. In 2022, she co-authored a published child rights policy report for the United Nations review of the UNCRC. In 2023, she engaged in various instances of public advocacy, including as a youth representative at the biennial Federal-Provincial-Territorial meeting of ministers responsible for human rights. She was also a panelist at the Canadian Institute of Health Research’s Healthy Youth Summit.

Madhuri Kibria

Originally from Dhaka, Bangladesh, Madhuri (she/her) has cultivated her passion for preventing and ending violence against women and girls through her education and professional roles in Canada, Bangladesh, Australia, and the US. She has worked in development and policy research, communications, and reporting, focused on SDG 5. She previously worked for UN Women and NGOs in Bangladesh, including Bangladesh Legal Aid & Services Trust as a Research Assistant evaluating government, NGO, and CSO responses to escalating domestic violence during the pandemic. She also volunteered as a Crisis Intervention Caller at the Vancouver Rape Relief & Women’s Shelter. She holds an M.A. in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago and a B.A. and a Bachelor of Criminology Double Degree from the Australian National University. She cares deeply about climate justice, mental health, women’s sport, and migration, and hopes to continue working towards improving marginalized women and girls' access to justice and sexual and reproductive health.

Bernice Mwaura

Bernice (she/her) is a community builder, emerging artist and passionate advocate. She graduated from Carleton University with a BA in African Studies and Film Studies where her interests in reducing inequalities, and working for and with communities, were given the space to grow. Bernice currently works in the international development space and balances her work life with a thriving arts practice that is focused on bringing lens-based arts to BIPOC communities. As an advocate, her interests have converged in empowering and uplifting migrant and refugee communities through calls for responsible policy and accountability at all levels of government. In her free time, Bernice enjoys taking on new learning opportunities, being in spaces that cultivate her interests and spending time with friends and family.

Branavi Raveendran

Branavi (she/her) is a final-year student at the University of Toronto Scarborough, majoring in Political Science with minors in International Development and Global Asia Studies. With a successfully earned Certificate in International Affairs (UofT Global Scholar), she has deepened her passion for International Relations. Her valuable work experience comes from her time with the United Nations Association of Canada, the Knowledge Equity Lab, the City of Toronto, and two work terms at the Canadian Labour Congress. Beyond academics and work, she runs a small photography business, and finds joy in inspiring students on LinkedIn through her academic and professional journey in politics and international development.

Lian Marie Sayno

Lian (she/her) is a Centennial College International Development student with over seven years of experience in development, project management, and community engagement. She has held numerous roles in government agencies and non-profit organizations like Brac International, where she organized poverty alleviation projects. Her experience covers multiple sectors, bringing an inclusive perspective to policy discussions and lobbying initiatives. Her diverse interests include poverty, decent work, education, technology, and gender equality, particularly addressing women's intersectional vulnerabilities. Lian's participation in initiatives like Spur Change's Youth Champions Program illustrates her dedication to engaging youth in international development. A curious explorer at heart, Lian has traveled to over 20 countries, constantly seeking to broaden her understanding of various cultures and societal contexts. She sees every encounter, workshop, and conversation as an opportunity for growth and learning.

Rajaa Berry

Rajaa (she/her) is a business student at the University of Windsor, specializing in finance. Rajaa is an active member of the Outstanding Scholars Program and a student researcher. Recognizing the importance of activism and advocacy, she has contributed to various organizations, including as a member of Amnesty International's National Youth Action and Advisory Committee where she advocated for human rights and participated in climate justice campaigns. A trailblazer in her own right, Rajaa founded the University of Windsor Environmental Policy Association to rally like-minded individuals, raise awareness about pressing environmental issues, and drive positive change on campus. Her dedication to preserving and protecting marine ecosystems led her to serve as a Great Lakes Ocean Wise Ambassador and to participate in the Waterlution Water Innovation Lab. Currently Rajaa is a ResilienSEA extern with EarthEcho, aligning her mission to advocate for environmental sustainability and explore the link between climate and finance.

Kendra-Lee Heney

Kendra-Lee (she/her) is the Child Development Specialist at Hope and Healing International where she oversees Country Programs, the development of Child Safeguarding systems and the management of the Resilience Curriculum. She also serves as the Project Lead, Education for the Global Schools Program, which is an initiative of the United Nations SDSN, supporting 400+ teachers across 80+ countries in implementing Education for Sustainable Development. Her main interest is empowering children and youth with disabilities through quality education to ensure that they are actively included and involved in their local communities. Kendra has a Master’s degree in Children, Youth, and International Development from Brunel University and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Disability Studies from Western University. She has over 10 years of experience promoting inclusive education, and has worked with schools and education-based NGOs in Canada, the United Kingdom, Rwanda, Malawi, and Uganda to promote inclusive curriculum, capacity building, and teacher training.

Devon Jarovi

Devon (he/him) is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at the University of Western Ontario. He is an Education Policy Consultant at New Haven Learning Centre and an Impact Consulting Fellow at Propel Impact. He also serves as the Chair of the Youth Advisory Committee at Good Neighbors Canada, where he previously served as their Public Relations Clerk. Previously, he has served as a Policy Advocacy Coordinator at Re_Generation and as a Research Analyst at the Leadership & Democracy Lab. Recently, he served as an Event Coordinator at Toronto Metropolitan University, supporting the 6th International Conference on Public Policy. Devon is a CanStudyUS Fellow at The Dais, a public policy and leadership institute at TMU. He is passionate about politics, public policy, philanthropy, and public affairs.

Roshaydia Morgan

Roshaydia (she/her) is an experienced advocate and dedicated leader committed to advancing social justice, equity, and inclusion. With a background in Social Justice and Peace Studies, she has spearheaded initiatives as the President of the King's University College Student Council, amplifying student voices and promoting inclusivity on campus. As an Anti-Racism Mentor and Research Assistant, she has actively contributed to research and mentoring programs that drive positive change. Her engagement with diverse networks such as Young London, Centre for Social Concern, and DCE Developing Communities Everywhere, underscores her commitment to community empowerment and sustainable development. These experiences have fueled her passion for policy-making that addresses systemic issues, and she is eager to leverage her program coordination skills, research proficiency, and policy advocacy acumen to contribute meaningfully to initiatives promoting a more just and equitable society.

Keziah Oduro

Keziah (she/her) has a unique background with academic experience in biomedical science. Her passions for public health and social innovations of science drove her to continue to explore the networks of social purpose organizations that support communities closest to her: SOGIESC and racial justice rights. Keziah is enrolled at the University of Ottawa, majoring in Political Science and minoring in Health in Social Science. She has conducted freelance work based on youth engagement, grant writing, and fundraising from startups to organizations. She is currently the Innovation and Equity Research analyst at Future of Good where she leads the "Top 50 Equitable Funders" project. Keziah has been awarded the Ted Rogers Scholarship in affiliation with the Children's Aid Foundation and was named Burlington's Junior Citizen of the Year in 2019 for her civic and community engagement work. You can also find Keziah exploring films, music, art, and design elements that inspire her ingenuity.

Anais Rezaigue

Presently in her third year, Anais (she/elle) is pursuing an Honours Bachelor's degree in International Development and Globalization in French and English. Her primary interests lie in active engagement and advocating for policy changes that advance gender equality and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As a first-generation student and an immigrant from a global south country, she holds a profound personal connection to causes such as gender equality, poverty alleviation, education, climate action, and more. This fervent connection drives her to contribute to the Youth Policy-Makers Hub’s mission.

Shoffana Sundaramoorthy

Shoffana (she/her) recently graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with a Bachelors in Communications. Starting in September, she will be pursuing her Masters in Public Service at the University of Waterloo. As an aspiring policy analyst, Shoffana is deeply interested in tackling social issues and topics within civil society such as healthcare access, immigration, green economy, and infrastructure. During her undergrad, she participated in various extracurriculars such as the Women Leading Politics Association Laurier and the International Students Overcoming War Committee. In addition, Shoffana has experience working in the federal government through her former student position at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and her current student analyst position at the Public Health Agency of Canada. These opportunities have only solidified her aspirations to work in policy. As she begins graduate school in public policy, Shoffana plans to take the insights learned from her peers and members within the OCIC network to ground herself as a well-rounded public servant.

Sanya Vij

Sanya (she/her) is finishing her Masters in Global Health at McMaster University, through which she has gained experiences in international and sustainable development, policy analysis, and population health. She is passionate about finding ways to provide equitable access to resources for immigrant and refugee populations in Canada. She is also interested in working on projects related to gender equity, especially as it relates to the empowerment of young women of colour. She has extensive experience working in various community-based settings and is hoping to bring back the knowledge she gains through the Youth Policy-Makers Hub to her own community in Cambridge, Ontario.

Hudson Biko

Hudson (he/him) is currently a senior communications officer at the Canadian Partnership for Women and Children's Health. He is passionate about advancing equity and collective wellbeing - and enjoys an episode (or five) of reality tv. Born and raised in Kenya, he moved to Canada as an undergraduate student. Graduating with a degree in philosophy, politics and economics, he has published research on the U.S. racial wealth gap and presented research on China-Africa relations. He is excited to share space and ideas with the new YPH cohort and looks forward to the year ahead!

Rae Jardine

Rae (she/they) is the Founder and Executive Director of SRHR Hubs, a youth-led organization that aims to advocate for and advance Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. They hold a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Human Rights from St. Thomas University and a Master of Arts in Global Development Studies from Queen’s University. She has also trained as a Sex Educator as well as a Certified Full Spectrum Doula. Her next educational journey focuses on expanding her capacity when it comes to perinatal mental health. Rae is a dynamic community organizer and activist with an enduring passion for meaningful youth engagement, equity, reproductive justice, global health, and human rights. She originally hails from New Brunswick but now calls Tkaronto (Toronto) home.

Iknoor Khaira

Iknoor (she/her) is currently pursuing a Joint Honours BA in Philosophy and Political Science at the University of Ottawa. Passionate about the intersection of gender equality and digital equity, she strives for a career in global affairs to ensure that all women are accounted for in our technologically-advancing world. As a youth leader, Iknoor has participated in various spaces dedicated to advancing gender equality globally. She served as the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator for the Young Diplomats of Canada delegation to CSW67, and as a Canadian delegate to the International Telecommunications Union's first Generation Connect Youth Summit. She has also worked with Plan International Canada as a Youth Ambassador and a Monitoring & Evaluations Associate. Her policy interests lie in the impacts of youth leadership, an intersectional analysis of the gender digital divide, and technology-facilitated gender-based violence.

Rachel Morrison

Rachel (she/her) is currently Project Manager at the international humanitarian development charity, Good Neighbors Canada. Good Neighbors works to empower people to transform communities, following the idea of ‘give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day; teach a man to fish, he’ll eat for a lifetime’. Rachel has a passion for dismantling systems perpetuating inequality to carve pathways to true equity, and firmly believes that mental health care is a basic need. Rachel’s prior experience includes supporting survivors of gender-based violence as an independent practitioner, designing and facilitating trauma-informed group support programs and delivering suicide interventions. With a Master’s degree in Human Rights and as a Board member of the Gender Equality Coalition of Ontario, Rachel continues to contribute towards the fifth-wave feminist movement. She looks forward to advancing the rights of women and marginalized genders as a Youth Policy-Makers Hub member.

Charles Oulton

Charles (he/him) is a motivated humanitarian enrolled in the Master of Public Administration at the Royal Military College of Canada. He holds a bachelor's degree in International Development from Trent University, and a graduate certificate in project management from St. Lawrence College. During his studies at Trent, he conducted a research project in rural indigenous communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon, studying the impact of INGO initiatives and farmer cooperatives on communities in the region. He has volunteered for local non-profit initiatives in his hometown of Kingston, including managing a project to establish an ID clinic to support vulnerable persons through the application process for government ID. Keenly interested in contemporary Canadian and global affairs, he looks forward to engaging with other youth interested in public policy and contributing his experience to discussions on Canada's FIAP and the SDGs.

Fayez Sahak

Fayez (he/him) is an international research consultant. His research has focused on human rights, internal displacement, the environment, livelihood, food security, and accountability systems. Fayez led studies on gender-based violence, local governance (including planning and budgeting at the sub-national level), humanitarian response, and protection and rights of IDPs and assessed government institutions and procedures. Fayez started his career working on climate change, designing and delivering advocacy campaigns and strategies for reducing vulnerability and building resilience to environmental and natural disasters in developing countries. His work also consisted of assessing legal frameworks and administrative functions, including with national banks, and determining vulnerabilities to corruption.

Dael Vasquez

Driven by welfare reform, Dael (he/him) is an experienced community leader who has advanced social policy progress in Canada and abroad. Domestically, Dael co-founded Engage – a youth-led non-profit specializing in policy advocacy – and manages its Policy and Government Affairs division. Internationally, Dael recently headed Canada’s youth mission to the IMF and World Bank through the Young Diplomats of Canada. To enhance his advocacy work, Dael completed his Master’s at U of T where he specialized in Political Economy. Professionally, Dael is a government relations consultant responsible for developing effective environmental, social, and governance compliance measures for financial institutions. Passionate about racket sports and skating, Dael relishes every opportunity to play pickleball and trek through Toronto on his longboard.

DOWNLOAD THE ADVOCACY TOOLKIT

The 2022-2023 Cohort of the Youth Policy-Makers Hub (YPH) have launched an Advocacy Toolkit! 

This fantastic resource pulls together important terminology, effective tools, a broad range of resources, and local and national organizations that can help you on your advocacy journey. It’s a culmination of the great work and learning the YPH have achieved this past year. 

Contributors to the toolkit are H. Gibran, Angelique Jeanty, Caylin Sun and Gladys Trinidad. 

Many thanks to Leigh Raithby and Lindsday Sheridan from Results Canada for sharing their advocacy expertise and strategies with the YPH. 

READ THE YOUTH pOLICY-mAKER bLOGS