Varsha Ajmera is the Chief Operations Officer of the World Youth Foundation (WYF) and She is Training Young Leaders.
WYF is “an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations” and an NGO associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information. WYF was launched in 1994 with the aim to promote research, development and the documentation of youth programmes beneficial to youths worldwide. The headquarters is located in its own complex in the city of Malacca, Malaysia. Through a variety of programmes, they seek to engage, empower, and educate young people on a range of issues, as well as give them the opportunity to share best practices, network, and learn through people-to-people exchange.
Varsha grew up in a family of social workers and was surrounded by humanitarians. She was trained in youth development and volunteered and mentored her way through nonprofit work which led her not only to the World Youth Foundation but she also serves as an NGO representative on the UN Dept. of Public Information (UNDPI)
Varsha shares that probably the most important conference the WYF has held is the International Conference on ”Youth, Ocean and SDG 14” that was held in early July 2019 in Melaka, Malaysia. Along with the issues of poverty, education, gender equality, work/economic growth, reduced inequalities, climate change, sustainable cities, and really, all of the SDGs, the WYF puts significance on Ocean concerns. The 2019 conference saw 80 attendees from 15 countries and an ocean clean-up day was part of the agenda.
From a June 19th, 2019 Linkedin post by Varsha about the importance of World Oceans Day
Here are some facts why empowering women in conserving and protecting our oceans is important:
a) In the fisheries sector, women constitute half the workforce.
b) Ninety percent of women are involved in the secondary field such as fish processing.
c) Shrinking fish population create yet another distinct challenge for pregnant women worldwide, where Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)—an essential omega-3 fatty acid that is critical to fetal brain and retina development—is primarily derived from seafood and algae.
d) The rise in sea level rise stands to disproportionately impact coastal developing countries. Coastal flooding means women and girls must face additional farming challenges and travel greater distances to collect potable water and biomass fuels.
In so many ways empowering and engaging women and girls stand to gain the most from a clean, thriving ocean and smart coastal adaptation strategies.
Varsha shares that the WYF is headed towards bringing in more youth representatives from the European Union to meetings and sharing best practices on environment-related issues. The primary focus will be coaching and mentoring programs in rural communities and which will also provide the opportunity for young people to immerse in local cultures of other countries by having them actually staying in local homes.
The WYF is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.
Varsha’s Networking Interests:
- AI Resources
- Funding Sources
- American & UK Representatives to the UN
- University Contacts