Aya’s work has created various impact across many areas.
“Many people ask me why do you think you’re African! Because I am born in Africa and Africa is born in me”
Aya has traveled to some 30 African countries, met with thousands of inspiring young people, supported and worked with hundreds of women groups, artists and activists on youth empowerment projects and trained them in peace-building, social media, blogging and mobilization.
“ I realized the gap in coordination among youth movements working in silos and the post-colonial divide. I decided to create a platform to bridge North Africa with the rest of the continent, I created a Facebook Group and added 500 of the most inspiring people I’ve met and this is how Afrika Youth Movement (AYM) was born”
In March 2017 in Kenya, Aya organized the Premier AYM Retreat and brought together an African network of members, organisations and young leaders to set direction for movement’s engagement at the grassroots, national, regional and international levels.
She also organized Afrika Youth Empowerment Forum on the SDGs and African Union Agenda 2063 providing a platform for youth to get their voices heard on international processes. She mobilized 70 young changemakers from 19 countries in Africa and the diaspora, many of whom represent grassroots initiatives, to participate in creating a new model of youth forums to engage with the United Nations and the African Union.
She ensured participation from South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Ghana, Tunisia and Tanzania among others with no external funding, mainly by maximizing strategic partnerships, members’ mobilization through their organizations and communities.
She has worked tirelessly to create this robust process where youth can add their voices to international discourse on the implementation of the Global Goals.
Her leadership as Chair of Afrika Youth Movement (AYM) for the past three years, has given direction to the movement and raised the engagement to reach over 5,000 members in 40 countries across Africa and the diaspora.
Marion A Osieyo, Development Expert , UK, “ As AYM Chair, Aya demonstrated an example of servant leadership. She is constantly inspiring, affirming and achieving”.
Daniel Nwaeze, Media Expert, Nigeria, “Aya’s approach to leadership has been highly inclusive and gives everyone a sense of ownership and fulfillment. She ensures the involvement and participation of young people at every level of the conversation”
Sick of the mainstream media negative portrait of Africa, diffusion of misinformation and under-reporting of key narratives, Aya curated the Africa Inspire Project to change the narrative about Africa. Africa Inspire is a series of short and long documentaries showcasing a different and positive narrative of Africa’s story.
In 2013, Aya produced a documentary called “Kenya’s conscious transformation” with the support of the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe and project team Rose Wachuka and Joshua Orgure from Kenya, highlighting the role of youth and women in Kenya’s peaceful elections.
“ By giving a first-hand portrayal of the political situation in Kenya in 2007/2008, this documentary allowed a better understanding for a non-expert audience of Kenyan politics and the factors involved in the violence lived during that period. It also allowed a greater projection of the work of local youth-led and other organisations in Kenya have done to stabilize the political situation in the country, demonstrating the relevance of such movements in peace-building processes” North-South Centre
This is the story of three African feminist bloggers who decided to make their privilege of blogging and voicing out women’s rights and violations, a privilege to every woman and girl.
In 2013, Aya co-founded with Rose Wachuka and Konda Delphine, the Voice of Women Initiative (VOW-I), a feminist collective that empowers women through access to the digital space. They trained correspondents in various cities around the world on online reporting to document the stories of ordinary women doing extraordinary things. The platform published about 200 stories, trained 35 correspondents and successfully implemented field projects on health,peace and the safety of women.
Your can read the Story Behind the Voice of Women Initiative (VOW-I) here.
During 2014 World Conference On Youth in Sri Lanka, Aya mobilized with a group of youth present at the conference, Bring Back Our Girls campaign, with extensive Sri Lankan media coverage to break the silence over the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapping and released a statement under VOW . The protest resulted in the recognition of the issue by the Nigerian Minister on Youth present, and support for the cause from the United Nations officials led by the UN Envoy on Youth, besides raising awareness of the issue and support of over 1,500 international delegates attending the conference.
During her experience as a Fulbright Scholar in Georgia, the United States, Aya has created popular Vblogs to tackle stereotyping and bridge between different geographical regions through storytelling.
“ I have multiple identities, I find myself often stereotyped as an oppressed woman, a terrorist Arab Muslim or a North African disconnected from the continent, I decided to counter these narratives through Vblogging”.
Counter narratives about Arabs
What do you know about Arabs? | Georgia, USA
What do you know about Arabs? | Nairobi, Kenya
Counter narratives about Arab Muslims living in the US
This is a short documentary that was selected as semi-finalist for PLURAL + 2013 Youth Video Festival
Counter narratives about the Arab spring
What Youth across Africa think about 2011 Revolutions?
The Future of MENA
It’s “the Revolution of Dignity” not the “Arab Spring”
I am constantly asked why I advocate against the “Arab Spring” propaganda and I don’t get tired of explaining until we change this narrative. It’s “the Revolution of Dignity”! Get over it media and scholars
Counter narratives about terrorism
Do You Think Arabs are Terrorists? | USA
Tunisia after Bardo Attack – The Story unlike the News | Tunisia
Counter- Narratives about women
“No Woman, Nuh Cry”
Message from Inspiring African Women
Counter- Narratives about Human Rights
For four years, Aya served as Programs Director for Africa and Middle East regions and later Director of Strategic Planning and Partnership of World Peace Initiative Foundation, a global organization that runs 48 projects in 150 countries. Aya has founded and led four dynamic peace building projects with vigor and passion in Senegal, Kenya, Morocco, and Thailand among other countries. The projects she designed in several editions are Amani Fellowship, Amandla Fellowship, MENA Salam Fellowship and Heya Fellowship for Women. She has organized and directed 15 retreats that trained over 200 young people from over 46 countries to become peace agents and introduced a culture of peace to over 3000 young people through non-violent communication and mindfulness practice workshops with holistic focus on empowerment and well-being in 10 countries; Jordan, Dubai, Morocco, Nigeria, the Gambia, Cameroon, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and South Africa.
MENA SALALAM FELLOWSHIP
Organizing in Kenya
Besides, Aya volunteered as Peace Educator and Mentor for children at the refugee camps on the Tunisian- Libyan border when the refugees coming from Libya reached a million in June 2011.
Aya sits on the International Steering Committee of United Network of Young Peacebuilders where she influences conversations on youth, peace and security and advocates for the implementation of UNSC 2250 resolution.
As 2015/16 Mo Ibrahim Scholar at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Aya conducted her Masters thesis on youth radicalization, a comparative study of Daesh recruitment in Tunisia and Al-Shabaab recruitment in Kenya. She has presented her research worldwide to influence de-radicalization policies affecting youth. In Tunisia, she co-founded, following Bardo Attack, a youth led platform fighting violence and violent extremism called Coexistence with Alternative Language and Action Movement (CALAM).