News on Sunday

Afiifah Bibi Munganee Mea: From Mauritius to UNESCO

8th UNESCO Award winner, 25-year old Afiifah is a researcher who has made Mauritius proud with her research project. She is one lady who epitomizes hard work, patience and commitment to bring change to our society. She narrates her journey to News on Sunday. Afiifah Bibi Munganee Mea had an enriching experience at UNESCO. It was an honour for her to represent Mauritius through the Institute of Social Development and Peace at an international level. “Through this award, I have had other openings, for instance, participating in the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum (2015) in Geneva, Switzerland. I will be participating in the MINDS Regional Workshop on Civic Education in Elections and Governance in Botswana in February 2016. This award has made it easier for me to inspire and motivate young people to become more active citizens. As a youth activist, I believe that the participation of youth is crucial for the consolidation of democracy in Mauritius,” she proudly shares. At UNESCO, she has had an enriching experience. She had the opportunity to meet reputed personalities such as Ahmad Al Hendawi (UN Secretary General envoy on Youth), Alexandra Schischlik (Chief Youth and Sports Section, UNESCO), and Princess Marie of Denmark, among others. “I had the opportunity to work with youth leaders across the world on different projects. I was able to broaden my horizon,” she adds. Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum in Switzerland Being the winner of the 8th UNESCO, Afiifah and his team were invited as project leaders to participate in the SIGEF Forum. “The main purpose was to interact with an international network of not-for-profit organisations and other stakeholders, project leaders and company representatives. We also had a stand in the market place where participants to the forum had the opportunity to know more about the projects,” she confides. A social worker From a young age, the hardworking lady has been involved in a number of voluntary work in NGOs such as the Global Rainbow Foundation, Islamic Centre for Disabled Children, SOS Poverty, and Roches Noires Eco-Marine. “Serving the community has been one of my guiding principles. I am involved in NGOs such as the Institute of Social Development and Peace (Executive Member) and the Association Rays of Hope Port-Louis (Co-Founder & Executive Member),” she shares. She is also the proud winner of Award Leader for the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award programme. She completed the Bronze, Silver and Gold Level and also the Award Leader training. Youth Inclusion and Democratic Consolidation in Mauritius In 2013, there was a call for projects from youth organisations by UNESCO. “Being a member of the Institute of Social Development and Peace (ISDP), a non-governmental youth-led organisation based at the University of Mauritius, we decided to submit a project. Our project: “Youth Inclusion and Democratic Consolidation in Mauritius” was pre-selected amongst the 45 best projects out of 1,532 projects globally. Being the project leader, I represented our organisation at the 8th UNESCO Youth Forum. We had to submit a video on the project which was played at UNESCO (also available on YouTube). There was a session dedicated to selection of 15 best projects out of 45 projects. I was in the session for African countries. After a lot of debates/discussions, the final selection was taken by way of votes and our project was selected,” she explains. [Please see attached list of selected projects.] Thus, “Youth Inclusion and Democratic Consolidation in Mauritius” received the 8th UNESCO Youth Award. According to Afiifah, the aim of this project is to promote and enhance the contribution of youth in politics and policy formulation. “It speaks to youth empowerment and seeks to address the lack of participation of youth in politics. The project seeks to equip them with expertise and skills that are necessary for the youth to advocate and lobby for a more just, gender-friendly and inclusive electoral system,” she states. Vision for Mauritius Despite all challenges, Afiifah dreams of a more inclusive, safer and greener Mauritius. “At a personal level, I had to cope with studies, work, project and family life. At the project level, there was a lack of commitment by certain segments of youth, especially during focus group discussions. However, I encourage youth participation and engagement in voluntary activities,” she says. Major projects involved Apart from the Youth Inclusion and Democratic Consolidation in Mauritius, Afiifah has been involved in many projects in association with Rays of Hope Port-Louis, such as secure a Future for Everyone-Remedial Classes with deprived children, feel at Home Program – Reintegrating Homeless person in the Society, with the Global Rainbow Foundation-Jaipur Foot Camp.
[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"10344","attributes":{"class":"media-image wp-image-17931 alignleft","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":"","width":"214","height":"218","alt":"Afiifah"}}]]Quick Bio Profession: Researcher Greatest Achievement: Winning the 8th UNESCO Youth Award Hobby: Hiking Favourite destination: Switzerland Something you really hate: Racism You cannot resist: Delicious Food Afiifah in one word: A Doer
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