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Empowering women to empower the Sahel

Young Women Leaders Hub

Adolescent girls’ and young women’s leadership is at the heart of the Education Plus Initiative. From the earliest days, the initiative was formulated and shaped by consultations with young women leaders from across the continent.

3 minutes

people died from AIDS-related illnesses in 2020

1 year

term and additional members will be recruited in late 2021


will be involved in high-level advocacy at United Nations and African Union events.

The initiative’s leadership hub, the Nerve Centre, brings young women with diverse experiences to the decision-making table from national to regional and global levels, to advocate for their peers to realize their rights. The young women are leading advocates and spokespersons for the initiative, as well as mobilizers for extended outreach with movements led by diverse young people.

Through its pooled assets, expertise and reach—with young women themselves as leaders, innovators and partners—Education Plus serves to re-imagine and shape what a post-COVID-19 world can and should look like for them. The Education Plus initiative re-affirms the need to engage adolescent girls and young women as active participants to claim their education, health and socio-economic rights and include them in decision-making.


African adolescent girls and young women shape and provide independent monitoring of the initiative at the regional and national levels.

The Nerve Center is designed to promote linkages across movements and complement other avenues for young women’s engagement, including Generation Equality Action Coalitions. The Nerve Center is uniquely positioned to elevate the voices of the most vulnerable and marginalised adolescent girls and young women in decision-making forums. The Nerve Center is a platform to advocate for catalytic investments and policies on holistic and multi-sectoral interventions. Young women’s leadership and engagement in co-creating the initiative at the regional and national levels is critical for the initiative’s accountability. Adolescent girls and young women play a pivotal role in strengthening monitoring and accountability mechanisms and ensuring programmes address the multiple intersecting forms of discrimination faced by women and girls.

Nerve Center Members

The Nerve Center comprises nominated and vetted representatives from the diverse networks of priority, key, and affected girls and young women. The representatives represent a diversity of girls and young women, including perspectives from multi-disciplinary backgrounds, across gender, education, health, protection, financial inclusion and empowerment, and beyond.

Six outstanding adolescent girls and young women from across sub-Saharan Africa have been members of the Nerve Centre since the start of the initiative. The nerve centre members set their own priorities for their work and are involved in high-level advocacy at the national, regional and global levels.

Munnira Katangole, South Africa

Munnira Katangole, South Africa

An indigenous cultural practitioner, navigating the young, ‘disabled’, migrant, queer BLK Womxn identities

read about Munnira
Joyce Ouma, Kenya

Joyce Ouma, Kenya

HIV/SRH integration champion including through an AVAC 2020 fellowship around advocating for effective HIV and SRH integration in Kenya for adolescents and young people

read about Joyce
Fatima Gomez, The Gambia

Fatima Gomez, The Gambia

Woman Boss School Ambassador, an Adolescent Girl Advisory Counselor for the Global Fund for Women, a Think Young Women volunteer and intern and an Ambassador for the Girls Against Violence Initiative in The Gambia

read about Fatima
Anita Kouassi, Benin

Anita Kouassi, Benin

Commission President of the Youth Parliament of Benin

read about anita
Jennifer Kayombo, Tanzania

Jennifer Kayombo, Tanzania

AfriYAN Tanzania SDGs Youth Ambassador and African Women Leaders’ Network radio host

read about Jennifer