Elena Rudneva received a Master’s degree in sociology from St. Petersburg State University, majoring in European Studies. In 2020, Elena completed professional training in psychological counseling and group leadership and currently combines work in NGOs with psychological counseling. Elena has seven years of experience in the non-profit organization Charity Foundation “Step Foward” as a project manager. Over the years, Elena has run more than 100 fundraising campaigns and organized more than 300 events for different audiences, including corporate charity projects. In 2020, Elena participated in charity fundraising for rapid tests for COVID -19 for medical facilities in the city. As an independent psychological counselor, Elena participates in the international FEM and LGBT-friendly volunteer project “Adriatica” to provide psychological assistance to vulnerable populations, people in difficult life situations and members of minorities. Elena has experience working on the city helpline to provide emergency psychological help to the population. Her main interests are in the field of protecting the rights of vulnerable groups, feminism and grassroots initiatives.
Yonas Desalegn AyeleEthiopia
Yonas Ayele has eleven years of experience in the civil society and nonprofit sectors and earned a Bachelor’s of Art degree in Economics from Arba Minch University in Ethiopia. Currently, he is working in Ethiopia as a Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist with Fintrac Inc. While working with Fintrac Inc. under the USAID funded Feed the Future Ethiopia Value Chain Activity, he measures the impact of project interventions made for agriculture marketing and value chains. Yonas also worked with Bright Future Ethiopia as a Project Coordinator, where he helped manage the building of schools and socio-economically empower destitute people. Additionally, Yonas worked with the USAID-funded Livestock Market Development project implemented by HUNDEE as a Monitoring and Evaluation Reporting and Learning Officer. He then served with YMCCD on the World Bank-funded project, Ethiopian Social Accountability Program phase II (ESAP II) for more than three years, where he organized public and private dialogue sessions and gave trainings on social accountability to improve the status of local public schools. Through these experiences, Yonas developed strong monitoring and evaluation, project management, data collection, and analysis skills. Yonas enjoys focusing on the areas of economic development, education, youth empowerment, and gender equality, and has a strong passion for human and institutional capacity development initiatives.
Valeriya Ermilova has two years of experience in the nonprofit and business sectors and earned a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. While working as a Public Relations Manager for the LGBTQ Rights Organization, she wrote articles based on interviews and led projects to promote awareness of the current state of Russian LGBTQ rights. Previously, Valeriya worked at the global cybersecurity company Kaspersky, on the project “Coalition Against Stalkerware,” aimed at deterring gender-based digital violence and sexual abuse. Apart from that, Valeriya is contributing as an Internal Relations Manager to the Board of the European Youth Parliament (EYP), a non-governmental youth-led organization. Engagement in international sessions of the EYP as a delegate, journalist and organizer, strengthened her communication, planning, and problem-solving competencies. Valeriya is also interested in promoting gender equality and youth leadership and plans to explore the human rights aspect of peacebuilding while studying for her Master’s degree.
Thando Gwinji is a seasoned youth leader and gender champion with over six years of experience working with civil society organizations. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degrees in Peace and Conflict Studies and a minor in Development Studies. She is the Founder and the current Managing Director of Youth Innovation Trust (YIT) based in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. While working with YIT, she has grown highly skilled in the use of technologies for development. She has also excelled in movement building, gender programming, and has assisted girls in her community to embrace and utilize information communication technologies for social change. Through her role at YIT, she has assumed several roles within her community; she is a youth leader, a mentor, and a teacher. Her role as a youth leader in the country has seen her elected into several leadership positions, such as the National Coordinator of Activista Zimbabwe, and the Zimbabwe Country Focal Person for the Network of African Youth for Development. She is also the current chairperson of the Zimbabwe Young Women’s Alliance. She has also assumed the role of the Zimbabwe African Union Youth Charter Hustler. Through these experiences, Thando has polished her role as a project manager who enjoys working with young people.
Silima Keopaseuth is a second-year M.A. candidate in the Sustainable International Development program at Brandeis University in the U.S. Her concentration is monitoring, evaluation, and data analysis. Her master’s paper evaluates the effect of savings interventions on shock coping and children’s anthropometry for horticultural society in Bolivia. Silima earned her B.A. in Foreign Affairs from the National University of Laos and has nine years of experience working in the nonprofit sector. She served as Senior Program Officer at Room to Read Laos for two years, working on curriculum and materials development, teacher training, and program evaluation. The tasks strengthened her expertise in the education field, training, and monitoring and evaluation. She was also a point person on several projects, enhancing her coordination and project management skills. Before this experience, Silima interned for Oxfam Laos for three months, where she supported the team in raising awareness of Disaster Risk Reduction. She provided technical agricultural training for vulnerable communities in remote areas where natural disasters constantly occurred. Additionally, she worked for six years as a contracted volunteer for Save the Children. Silima and her team dedicated themselves to promoting children’s rights and protection in rural and urban areas, to see more children in Laos have access to education, safety, and self-fulfillment. Through her volunteer and internship work, she enhanced her communication, interpersonal, and adaptation skills. She is currently interested in poverty alleviation, education, and wellbeing.
Saumya has over seven years of experience in the field of marketing, communications, and social impact. After working with corporates for three years, Saumya transitioned into the development sector as a Youth for India Fellow with the Aga Khan Foundation. The 13-months fellowship provided her the opportunity to work with a tribal community in western India to establish a for-profit social enterprise to provide a sustainable source of livelihood for the tribe. Having gained substantial insight into the gravitating issues in the development sector along with project management, capacity building, and community mobilization skills after the fellowship, Saumya co-founded a social enterprise, Tales & Treasures, that works to promote and establish micro-entrepreneurs. Currently, Saumya is working with the Ministry of Health, Government of India, on the strategy and implementation of the National Digital Health Mission. Prior to this, Saumya led the communications vertical of the Indian School of Business & Finance, a teaching institution of The London School of Economics, bringing international education to Indian students at an affordable cost. She has worked with multiple startups in the domain of e-commerce and technology on crafting their communications, public relations, and social media strategies. She has also been a volunteer with youth organizations, such as AIESEC and SPIC MACAY, leading university-level campaigns and events. Professionally and personally, Saumya aspires to take up roles in the area of communication for development and social entrepreneurship to contribute to some of the most pressing issues of her country.
Priscilla Omebere-Iyari has nearly ten years of experience as a Brand and Consumer Marketing Professional, providing branding solutions to local and international brands across various industries. In addition to this, she has four years of experience in the nonprofit sector, and earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Finance from the University of Ilorin in Nigeria. In the past four years, she served as the Co-Convener of the annual Open Your Heart Camp, a Bootcamp for underserved teenagers living with autism and down syndrome in South-Western Nigeria. So far, over 75 teenagers have been positively impacted. She also currently volunteers as the Communications Manager and Volunteer Engagement Lead at MEDIC Nigeria (Mental and Environmental Development Initiative for Children), an environmentally and socially conscious nonprofit organization established to cater to the mental health and environmental cleanliness of Nigerian children, helping them to be socially responsible. Here, Priscilla manages beach clean-ups, volunteer engagement, and anti-plastic pollution and recycling campaigns. As a Brand Manager, she now works at Advans La Fayette Microfinance Bank, promoting financial literacy and adoption at the grassroots level. Previously, she worked in Wema Bank, where she created the Bank’s first corporate social responsibility framework and coordinated over 4,000 employees in various community projects. Through these experiences, Priscilla developed strong project coordination and implementation skills. Priscilla enjoys focusing on the topics of financial literacy, and environmental sustainability.
Prajwal Khadka has been working as the Associate Director of Development and Partnership at Teach For Nepal (TFN) for the past eight years. He was previously selected as one of the top applicants and signed up to teach as a TFN Fellow in a rural village of Nepal for two years, where he realized that the low academic outcome of his students wasn’t merely because of classroom investment, but also of systemic issues. This grassroots experience gave him a deeper understanding of the community, social issues, and how culture, history, and politics create injustices that could be reflected in the communities. It also enhanced his leadership, interpersonal skills, and the ability to work in a cross-cultural setting. Having understood that larger community involvement was critical for change in educational outcomes, he then joined TFN’s core team where he now leads Fundraising and Public/Private Partnerships. His portfolio involves working with government officials, particularly at the Ministry of Education, private corporations of Nepal, and other agencies to enhance and support funding and collaboration necessary for TFN. Besides TFN, he has experience working on issues like LGBTI rights, leprosy patient welfare, public education improvement, and youth advocacy. He is also serving as a visiting faculty for undergraduate students.
Polina Shubina has two years of experience in the nonprofit sector, and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Film and Video from the Saint Petersburg University, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Polina is a Co-Founder and Artistic Director of a cultural foundation, Floating EKA, whose mission is to develop creative potential and build a cross-cultural dialogue between people, communities, and companies in the Baltic Sea region. After the past year of intense work in the nonprofit sphere — creating the mission, vision and strategy for the project — Polina gained experience in strategic planning, project coordination, and negotiations with potential partners and donors. Prior to her work in the nonprofit sector, Polina spent eight years working with major international creative productions assisting a technical department, coordinating volunteers, working as a stage manager, and acting as an English-Russian interpreter. In 2018, Polina volunteered at a Bread and Puppet activist theatre, giving workshops to activist and community groups and college and elementary school students across the country. In 2014, Polina worked for two months on the Olympics and Paralympic Games ceremonies in Sochi as a Creative Department Assistant, assisting choreographers during rehearsals, managing 50 volunteers, and helping with translation. Polina believes that art and culture are ideal tools to talk about complex topics like environmental issues, peaceful society, and tolerance.
Oyenike Noimot OyewoNigeria
Oyenike Oyewo has four years of experience in the nonprofit sector and earned a Bachelor’s degree in General Medicine from Vitebsk State Medical University in Belarus in 2018. She completed her residency practice in obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive health, with a specialization in obstetrics & gynecology in 2020. Oyenike is an ambitious entrepreneur, highly skilled in health care administration, communications, and social media marketing. She also has experience in student educational management, fashion design, hair styling, and catering. Oyenike uses her skills of media and healthcare to communicate with young ladies and single mothers like herself through personal experience to educate them on women’s health and personal hygiene. She further uses her skills in business development to train young females in Nigeria and Belarus. Oyenike volunteered as a peer educator on women’s rights, child abuse, women’s health, and reproductive health for several groups. Through these experiences, she developed strong project coordination and implementation skills. Oyenike is passionate about the value of maternal/ child health and female/ youth empowerment.
Olga Kuznetsova has seven years of experience in the nonprofit sector as a youth worker of the Belarusian Youth Public Union “New Faces”, which works towards creating a strong civil position of youth in Belarus through non-formal education. Her scope of responsibility is wide, starting from facilitating internal organizational processes, to project management and coordination of volunteers. Moreover, she worked as an intern at the International Organization for Migration in Belarus for nine months, where her role involved working on information campaigns to create a positive image of migration, as well as assisting in training implementation. Through these experiences, Olga developed strong leadership, managerial, and diplomacy skills. Olga’s main interests are civic engagement, youth empowerment, and non-formal education.
Natia Kaldani has more than 9 years of experience in the nonprofit sector and earned a Master’s degree in Diplomacy and International Politics from Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University. Natia is the Co-founder and Board Member at the Civil Development and Research Institute, as well as the International Projects Director at Europe-Georgia Institute. She has first-hand knowledge of good governance issues in government institutions and civil society organizations that stems from more than 7 years of dedication to the design, coordination, and implementation of government reforms working with civil society organizations in Georgia and Europe. She has provided hands-on support on flagship reforms in the areas of capacity development of civil servants, freedom of information, and civil service reform while she gained valuable insight into government relations with excellent knowledge of best practices in cross-governmental policy coordination. She managed USAID and SIDA (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency) funded large-scale projects supporting the improvement of public policy and fostering good governance in Georgia. She has been working on the Russian disinformation issues in Eastern Partnership Countries and has managed the project “Visegrad and EaP Countries against Disinformation”. Apart from this, she is actively supporting the youth involvement in Politics and political education among the youth wings of political parties through various projects.