Meet the team
We are a membership-based organization composed of young people and adults. We are governed by the General Assembly and Board of Directors. Members constitute the general assembly, which is the supreme organ of the organization and met once in a year to review program progress and give guidance to its internal policy and programmatic portfolio.
The board drawn from the general assembly is mandated to oversee the decision of the general assembly to be followed up. We have a 7 members board of directors. Two seats in the board reserved for young people age 29 and below and three seats are reserved for women. The Secretariat undertakes the day-to-day operations. Headed by the Managing Director, the office constitutes two departments, Finance and Administration and Programmes.
TaYA has 29 full time staffs, 5 interns and 21 volunteers who are actively supporting project and activities. It has two program coordination offices in Amhara and Benishangul Regional States.
Meron Debebe received an MA from Addis Ababa University in Public Administration and Development Policy and bachelor’s degree in law from JigJiga University. Meron have a wide range of experience working with government office’s, INGO`s, Community and grass root organization`s and different International Development Actors.
Meron is an experienced programme manager with a demonstrated skills and experience of working in many projects and program focused on humanitarian, refugees and development context for the past 8 years. She is one of the board members for TaYA and she has been actively supporting the organization for the past 2 and half years. She also served as national youth advocate for TaYA on SRHR and advocacy works at policy level. She has a strong believe on the importance of engaging young people in the decision-making process in which her educational background has given her a broad base to approach many topics.
Her professional interest is focused on communicative and right based approach to thematic planning, design and implementation any development or humanitarian interventions.
Dr. Alemayehu Hailu
Dr. Alemayehu “Alex” Hailu Gebre is a Regional Strategic Advisor for the Luminos Fund and is based in Ethiopia. As Strategic Advisor, Alex advises on the Luminos Fund’s growth strategy; provides guidance and support to Luminos programs, curriculum, and monitoring & evaluation; and helps Luminos liaise with partners and governments.
Alex is an accomplished international development and education leader with over twenty years of experience in the NGO sector across project management, partnership development, project monitoring and evaluation, human resource and organizational development, and management.
Previously, Alex worked for the Adult and Non-formal Education Association in Ethiopia (ANFEAE), the international nonprofit Pact, and most recently served as a Country Director for Geneva Global. He has served as a valued partner to the Second Chance program (also known as Speed School in Ethiopia) since its early days.
Through Alex’s leadership, ANFEAE won UNESCO’s International Literacy Prize of 2008 and the World Bank’s Development Market Place Award of 2003. Alex has co-written the book Everyday Literacies in Africa, and wrote the case study, “Action Research for Curriculum Development: An Example from Ethiopia” for UNESCO’s 2015 book, Action Research to Improve Youth and Adult Literacy. Alex has a master’s in economics from the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and a PhD in education.
Yoadan W Shiferaw
Yoadan is a proud pan-African with education background in law, peace and security studies and African Studies. She has over 8 years’ experience in programme management, advocacy, youth empowerment and local, regional and international volunteer works.
Yoadan has taken part often as a lead in a number of initiatives and organizations that works at different scale and in different geographical locations. Through her Rotaract life, she has led her club Rotaract club of Keroggie as community service director, international service director, club secretary and president during her 7 years stay. She has also served as a country chair for Rotaract in Ethiopia and regional secretary for Rotary District 9212.
Yoadan is also a Packard and Lucile Foundation Youth Champion; World Economic Forum’s Global shaper at Addis Ababa Hub; global youth ambassador for world at school Ethiopia representative; youth team of Global Partnership for Education; youth champion for Voice Africa’s Future on post 2015 SDGs; an executive member of African Unbound Movement; British Council Youth leader for “Horn of Africa Leadership and Learning for Action (HOLLA)” program; Emerging African Leaders programme of University of Cape town alumni and, Young African Leaders Initiative alumni.
In her professional life, Yoadan currently manages a programme that supports Refugees and Migrants to and from Ethiopia at British Embassy’s Development team in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Yoadan is a well-rounded individual who lives with passion, dedication, and grace. She is a people person and loves to network.
Dagem Demerew has over 5 years of experience in working on issues of young people Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights, Meaningful Youth Participation, Policy Advocacy, Program Management and Research. He currently serves the Right Here Right Now 2 SRHR Program in Ethiopia as a National Program Coordinator. In his international engagement he is serves as Regional Coordinator for East Africa for the International Institution for Human Security.
He has extensive experience in Meaningful Youth Participation through his previous roles where he worked a Youth Country Coordinator for the Get Up Speak Out Program. He used to serve as youth advisory board member in different national and international organizations including TaYA and United Nations.
He has good reputation in partnership building, program coordination & management and provision of training on different topics. He holds a BA in Social Work from Addis Ababa University.
Aman Amare is a senior media reporter at Abega management PLC. He has professional media experience in Television show, documentary, advertising spot and short movies. In the last two years he produces and transmit more than 100 talk shows in the national television ETV /Nuro Ena Business/.
“Nuro ena business” is a Television Show aired in Ethiopian Television ETV 1 news channel Saturday 10:15 and Wednesday 10:15. The show is a 40-minute Business TV program, about Finance, Economics, and Private equity management, Trade, Jobs, Tax, social issues and many more. Furthermore, he has over 15 years volunteer experience with 4 local and international NGOs. He published a book under the title ‘kerase meraq’ published in November 2009.
Currently he contributes articles in different news magazine especially in Addis Zemen. He currently contributes short stories and poems to the daily Amharic newspaper Addis Zemen.
Secretary & ex-officio
Ephrem Berhanu has over 15 years of experience working on issues of adolescent and youth sexual reproductive health rights, HIV/AIDS, family planning, policy advocacy, and research and program development. He used to serve as a CEO of the Network of African Youths for Development /NAYD/ till January 2015. NAYD is an African regional youth network with over 1000 youth led organizations in membership stretching across 42 African countries. In his African regional experience working with the African Union Commission (AUC) Youth Division in the preparation of the African Youth Charter and the Decade Plan of Action, he is well conversant in African regional policy issues regarding youth development issues. He is a member of a pan African youth initiative African Youth Decade Alliance /AYDA/. AYDA is an alliance of African regional youth networks to promote meaningful engagement of young people in policy and program designed by the African Union and advocating the African Union for the implementation of the decade plan of action for youth. He has been actively involved in the ICPD Beyond 2014 African regional process. He holds a master’s degree in Economics from Indira Gandhi National Open University.
Finance and Administration Director
Aklilu Guulay was founding member of TaYA back in 2003 and has been working for the organization at various levels and capacities. Aklilu is certified with a diploma in Human Resource Management and BA Degree in Management and worked as a Head for Finance and Administrations from January 2005 to December 2017 and from January 2018 to date he is working as Operations and Program Coordination Head. He led the processes of developing, domestication and implementation strategies, policies and procedures, systems, programs and projects and communications. He was also responsible resource mapping and planning, drafting budgets and financial reports, organizational and program/project audits, meeting legal compliance requirements of the organization, analyzing and report on finance status and health of the organization, human resource development and logistics and event management among others. He has played significant role networking and partnership development, building collaboration positive relationships and linking the organization with governmental and non-governmental stakeholders for the best interest of the organization. He led and/or participated working groups and task forces and program/project governance steering committees and teams representing the organization and chairing Youth-Adult Partnership development Advisory Committee since 2016 for the Get up Speak Out Program the organization has been implementing since 2016. Aklilu has successfully delivered assignments in the areas of baseline assessments and evaluations, undertake institutional capacity assessment and development of capacity building plans, recruitment and placement of staffs, advocates and volunteers, and assist the establishment of national networks.
Dr. Eyob Balcha
Eyob is a Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science and a Program Director for the MSc Program in African Development at the Department of International Development. He currently teaches African Political Economy in the MSc program. Eyob holds a PhD from the University of Manchester in Development Policy and Management (2018). He was trained as a Sociologist (2005, AAU) and studied Development Studies and African Studies at post-graduate level at Institute of Social Studies, The Hague (2009) and Leiden University (2011) respectively. Eyob has the experience of youth, civil society activism and policy advocacy both in Ethiopia and at continental level in Africa.
A former Matsa Fellow at IDS – Sussex, Eyob’s areas of interest include politics of development, African political economy, citizenship, youth, and young people in politics and regional integration in Africa.
Leilena Shimeles, MD
SRHR Program Manager
Dr. Leilena Shimeles is a General Practitioner who is currently working as a program manager at TaYA. She received her Medical Degree from Addis Ababa University, college of health Sciences, School of Medicine in 2017 and is currently a candidate for Master of Public Health at Jimma University and Master of Project Management at Addis Ababa University, School of Commerce. She has engaged in sexual and reproductive health and right activities since high school with further involvement in national and international medical students’ association through peer-to-peer learning, mentorship, and volunteering activities. She is the co-founder of Ethiopian Medical Association-Junior Doctors’ Network that envisions a network where young, empowered physicians meet and revolutionize the health system through extraordinary leadership and impact global health.
After graduating from medical school, she went to Debresina Primary Hospital and served as a medical Director. She has played key role in the hospital’s advancement and assuming first place in Ethiopian Hospital Service Transformation Guideline assessment. she then joined Addis Ababa Regional Health Bureau as emergency and referral Officer where she established Disaster Medical Assistant Team (DMAT) for the city. This team has successfully responded to large gatherings such as Irreecha and Meskel celebration and continue to do so.
Dr Leilena Shimeles is a passionate youth advocate who has dedicated her life for Sexual and Reproductive health equity. She is the only Ethiopian trainer for Dance4life, an international youth initiative that aims to promote a healthy lifestyle among young people, maintaining and strengthening reproductive health and preventing HIV infection and other socially significant diseases, and bringing out one’s unique potential.