Influencing Policy for Better Change.

International Development & African Diaspora

(SSAP) Youth Leadership Network - SYLN

A youth-led network made up of young people from the African community and within local Universities. BAME/African young people are experiencing barriers that are preventing them from flourishing. Many of our young people are marginalised, unemployed, not in education, suffer poor mental health, are in care (or are care leavers),are asylum seekers, refugees, disabled, from low income households or are an ethnic minority.

The network under SSAP is supporting young people to become active citizens by

1. Directly influence individuals, constituencies, organizations, communities, decision makers and general population to take action in addressing social problems affecting young of African background.

2. Provide virtual, physical and creative spaces for young people to hang out, explore issues of identity, wellbeing and positive relationships. Learn about their rights and become activated, using methods such as storytelling, creative arts, music and dance.

3. Work with existing organisations and statutory bodies such as the police, probation etc to identify a small group that can be trained to tell their stories and to do it creatively through arts , storytelling etc.

4. Facilitate youth-entrenched peer-to-peer and cooperative learning enabling.

5. Develop a youth-led political engagement programme of campaigning and advocacy to articulate their voice in consultations and representative Welsh Government policy making.

6. Establish a formal agency for young people to gain work experience while at the same time supporting them to grow as leaders. This will create opportunities for them and keep them out of trouble.

Our Projects


Beyond The Objects - History Behind Museum Artifacts


Are you 18 – 35 and interested in History? Especially ancient Africa history and its relevance then, now and in the coming years? Then ‘beyond the objects’ is the project for you.


The idea for ‘Beyond The Objects’ is based on this premise. The primary aim of this project is to give a historical background of select artefacts at the National Museum Cardiff while highlighting the issues surrounding them and contextualising them to contemporary realities in society especially with regards to Africa. It attempts to give an unbiased perspective with a view to giving understanding on the pedigree of issues.


The project is an initiative of the National Museum of Wales in collaboration with the Sub-Sahara Advisory Panel and other partners. The primary resource person is Mr Abu-Bakr Al-Shabazz of City of Bristol College with vast experience on the subject of history. The project employs remote and digital learning to try, as much as possible, to reach as many people as possible and trigger interactions. Based on the open access policy, it is free, and invitation is extended to the public.


There will be 3 sessions in total running on the

  • 8th May
  • 22nd May and
  • 5th June


Reframing the African Narrative: Beyond the 'pitiful victim' - new frames and narratives for the African continent

Renowned Kenyan author, Binyavanga Wainaina wrote an essay titled ‘How to write about Africa’ where he uses clichés and  stereotypes you  get to hear about the African continent. He starts with “Always use the word ‘Africa’ or ‘Darkness’ or ‘Safari’ in your title. Subtitles may include the words ‘Zanzibar’, ‘Masai’, ‘Zulu’, ‘Zambezi’, ‘Congo’, ‘Nile’,

Is this the Africa everyone is familiar with?

Is this a fair representation of the continent?

These are some of the questions we are asking and attempting to address them through this project. It questions the 'frames' being used by charities and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in their communications.  We will address pubic opinions and perceptions of Africa and Africans. What are the messages they spread when looking for funding and support from the public, how does it affect their audience and what are possible alternative approaches? How can we provide a balanced narrative of the continent? And how can we do this?

Meet Our Youth Leaders


Umalkhaire Goran: Network Coordinator

Umi is a Welsh-Somali with a Social Science background from Cardiff University. She is interested in social justice and inequalities with a particular  emphasis on youth engagement and empowerment of BAME individuals in Wales.

Outside work, Umi loves travelling, hiking, films and wellbeing practices.

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Raphael Esu: Research Lead

Raphael Esu is a Nigerian and British trained lawyer, licensed Barrister and Solicitor, arbitrator and academic. He is also a PhD researcher in the area of maritime law.

In the third sector, Raphael has worked with the UN, World Bank, Sub Sahara Advisory Panel, Empowered African Youths Foundation and other organisations on delivering various projects both in Nigeria, Africa at Large and the United Kingdom. He is keen on youth development and inclusion as evidenced in his work.


Hoda Alshaibani: Communication lead

Born and raised in Sudan, Hoda's ambition has always been to be in the media sector where she can express her true personality. She has writtea writen and happy to say published her first book in 2017. A talented communicator with passion for photography she uses her lived experience to strengthen herself and those around her. Resilient, competitive and determined, Hoda aims to embrace life to the fullest in everything she does.


Billy Mazoya: Marketing Lead

I am a highly self-motivated, charismatic and hard working man of faith. I have been working as the communications officer at SSAP since November 2019. Originally I joined SSAP as a volunteer during my placement year at university. My role involves managing SSAP’s social media platforms, sending out daily posts, creating blogs, newsletters and working alongside prject managers to help communicate their projects and events. A fun fact about me is that I only drink water and almond milk. I have not drank a fizzy drink, cow's milk or any form of juice in over 5 years.



Wanitta Adzangoa: Partnership Lead

Born in Congo and raised in Ireland, Wanitta has been with SSAP for over 2 years and is currently studying Biomedical Sciences at Cardiff University. She is an aspiring medic with passion for STEM education , especially for young BAME women.


Wanitta enjoys spending time with family and friends; reading books and travelling.


Daouda Conte: Planning and Logisitcs Lead


Daouda moved to the UK at the age of 13 from Guinea where his family is from. Having graduated from Cardiff Metropolitan University in Business and Management with Law, he volunteered as a case worker at Asylum Justice where he witnessed the inequalities that our communities face on a day to day basis.


I am passionate about the work that SSAP does through providing opportunities for the young BAME community. To be part of this platform has allowed me to learn and raise awareness of issues of BAME groups locally and internationally.