Twenty year-old Grace from Malawi didn’t think of herself as a leader and change maker. But after training on advocacy and youth participation supported by SAT, Grace has realized her potential and is pushing her way forward.

“During the training, we were told that girls are undermined traditionally, but beyond this we can change the narratives and stand up for our rights. As girls, we should always remember that we can do anything and claim our spaces and strive to be leaders. Too often, if a woman is seen taking a leadership role, she is associated with masculinity traits, but as leaders we want to break that attitude.”

Grace says her life changed after the advocacy training on active youth participation – she felt that she had to take a leading role on issues affecting girls.

“The skills that we have learnt are valuable. I am more confident and I know my rights and the power of influence in me. After the training, I went back home and reflected on the topics and scan my environment where I live. I found that girls are left behind and do not participate in decision making.”

“I decided to push my way and negotiated to be listed as a member so that I represent the voice of the young people at that level. I am very happy to say that I was accepted and became the youngest and female member of the Area Development Committee in TA Mavwere.” Grace says that this initiative has empowered her and given her a voice. She is now a role model in her community and is passing on to her peers the importance of youth involvement and active participation of young people in community development.