Esther Gomani, an impressive 19-year-old, has achieved far beyond her years.
She is Africa students representative in the executive committee of United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco ) SDG4 Youth and Student Network.
She has also served as vice-president of the Malawi National Students Union from 2021 to 2022.
Esther showcases her fervent dedication to youth activism in education through the many hats she wears.
The Unesco network is an inclusive and representative platform for youth and student groups that ensures meaningful participation in shaping global education policies.
“Having commenced my tenure in January this year, my role of representing Africa on the executive committee is multifaceted.
“It involves amplifying the voices of millions of African students and spotlighting initiatives led by young people in the education space, influencing education policies in various ways, empowering youths, students, contributing to dialogues and consultations on education advancement at global, regional and national platforms, she said.
Esther expressed her gratitude and excitement about the many other roles and opportunities this position will unfold.
She particularly looks forward to the continuous learning, impact, exposure and networking opportunities that come with these roles.
The activist believes she will also acquire invaluable experiences, including participating in a global leadership programme.
“I’ve had the privilege of travelling and speaking at global platforms. To date, I have visited Ghana, Zambia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia in my union capacity.
“Notably, I was speaker at the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour in May 2022 and at the Africa Music Art and Cultural Exhibition (Amace23) in Lusaka, Zambia in June,” she said.
As an education advocate, she uses personal experiences to address challenges in the sector.
Esther is also a trained facilitator for the Gender Action Learning System under the Propel Health Youth Leadership Programme.
This is a year-long programme for youth leaders
She is the only Malawian recipient of the 2023 Kids Kindness Grants by Kindness Grows Here, a US-based non-profit organisation.
“Driven by my passion for youth engagement and education advocacy, I graduated from the Malawi Assemblies of God University with a bachelor’s degree in commerce, specialising in banking and finance, at the age of 18.
“This achievement is significant to me given the educational landscape of Malawi where many girls of my age are still in primary or secondary school, or even married,” she says.
She recently established the Eat and Learn Project to combat student hunger.
This initiative was sparked by her observation and concern in addressing realities of hunger in many schools, recognising that a well-fed child is better equipped for learning.
Esther said the project was inspired by incidents of children fainting from hunger in schools.
Motivated by this story, she applied and received a grant under the Kids Kindness Grants Programme by Kindness Grows Here.
Together with her team, she sourced more support from well-wishers and friends.
They held their inaugural one-day activity at Madzi Christian Academy on January 11 this year, feeding over 180 students.
She works with a team of nine youths.
When asked about her vision for the initiative, she said a child well-fed is a mind well-fed.
Esther believes in the power of food as a catalyst for productive learning outcomes.
‘’My vision for the project is
expansion and sustainability. I aspire to secure long-term funding and establish partnerships with organisations such as Mary’s Meals and others committed to addressing food insecurity in educational settings.
“By collaborating with such entities, we aim to amplify our impact and ensure no child’s education is hindered by hunger,” she said.
Esther added that initiatives such as the Eat and Learn are integral to promoting education by allowing children to focus in class, increasing enrolment, attendance and promoting retention rates in schools.
They envision providing food, mainly porridge, to marginalised schools in the Central Region.
The organisation will also seek guidance from the district education management office on rural, marginalised schools to ably implement their project.
Before joining the Unesco network she has worked in various capacities from student leadership roles at local levels to the global level.
Esther has over two years of professional and volunteer experience,
Her journey commenced as general secretary for the Malawi Assemblies of God University in 2021.
She has served as finance and administrative officer for Ngale 428 Arts Centre and the Malawi Assemblies of God National Headquarters.
In 2023, she lectured at the Malawi Assemblies of God University.
From August 2022 to December 2023, she volunteered at Youth Inspire Initiative as programmes manager for nine months and associate director for eight months.
Her dedication to tackling educational barriers is evident in the #datamustfall , digital inclusion campaign, where she advocated for affordable internet for students under the All Africa Students Union.
Esther aspires to be a beacon of hope and inspiration for her generation and those to come.
She attributes her success to family, role models and faith in God.
She values constructive criticism, advice and support for growth.
Esther encourages fellow women to pursue their passions and make meaningful contributions now, as there’s no perfect time to start.
She wants all youth to discover their interests and take intentional steps towards them and embrace small, bold actions.
She was raised in Lilongwe, has two sisters and a brother.
During her free time, Esther enjoys writing, resting and reading content about young leaders, education, youth empowerment and community development
The post Esther gomani: africa students representative for unesco first appeared on The Nation Online.
The post Esther gomani: africa students representative for unesco appeared first on The Nation Online.