The Story of Gloria Bella, a Youth Advocate

On Wednesday the 12th of August we celebrate International Youth Day. The film crew of Amref Health Africa Dagoretti Child Protection and Development Centre spoke to several inspiring youths about meaningful youth engagement. Their voices are important today and therefore they should be included in political processes now. Young people are standing up, raising their voices and contributing to sustainable change. Let’s listen.

My name is Gloria Bella Ouma. I’m 20 years old and I’m working as an advocacy officer. I am also an actress and I work in theatre and use these skills to engage youth.

Through my advocacy work, I bring the voice of reason to the youth for example about sensitive topics like drug abuse. I do lobby work and try to influence young people in various activities for example in the talent search. I try to help them with finding their true talent. I give acting workshops and help to empower the youth in taking the stage and talking in front of an audience. I also write set books and I go to many schools in my community to help the youth through reading and acting the set books about life skills

What is meaningful youth engagement to you?

Meaningful youth engagement to me are activities undertaken by the young people to empower them and other youths in the community. It can be in all sorts of things like art, sports, talent search etc. as long as we come together and do it together.

How has COVID-19 affected your area and your work?

It’s very unfortunate but I see a lot of young people getting into poverty. They lose jobs and out of misery they get into drug abuse which they hardly get out. I also see that young people get into trouble for example theft because they don’t have money for food and supplies. I hope that there will be more jobs available anytime soon so we can stop this.

Through acting, I bring my voice to them and arrange conversations and education. It is hard to do my work because the schools are closed. I hope that our stories on international youth day will reach a lot of people

What motivates you to do this work?

First of all, I love acting it’s my passion in life. I get to reach many people and I think it’s great to talk to those youths and hear their experiences. I know what they are thinking, what keeps them busy, the challenges they face and the solutions they need. I hope I can continue with this work and inspire young people to raise their voice. Because of acting, they will feel less ashamed if they talk in front of a big group. I hope that my sessions and workshops will motivate them to raise their voice.

Final words of call-to-action!

I hope this day will bring unity among (young) people, bring them together and learn more about equality. I hope that together we can bring an end to discrimination and favouritism in cultures and traditions. Whether you are from Sudan, Kenya or Tanzania we are all the same and we bring a voice to reason.

These stories have been created by the Dagoretti Film Centre. Click hear to learn more about the Amref Dagoretti Child Protection and Development Centre