Girl Up MENA

Girl Up MENA

Girl Up MENA leaders are a force for social good, advancing gender justice in the region & beyond!


Girl Up MENA

As part of Girl Up’s global movement, Girl Up Middle East & North Africa (MENA) delivers evidence-based leadership development training through youth-led Clubs, programs, and events. Striving to build leadership and advocacy skills in youth throughout the region, Girl Up MENA focuses on a variety of issue areas including STEM, gender justice, education, gender-based violence, climate change, and more. The Middle East & North Africa is full of exciting new opportunities and youth are key to the region’s equitable & sustainable development. 

Over the past few years, Girl Up MENA has been greatly expanding its regional team, Girl Up Clubs, and youth leaders. Girl Up MENA leaders are a force for social good, advancing gender justice in the region & beyond! Currently, more than 500 youth leaders in 113 Clubs exist in the region across 16 countries, including in the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, and Egypt. Our global headquarters was founded by the United Nations Foundation in 2010. Girl Up MENA welcomes girls and youth of all gender identities. Together, we are expanding girls’ skills, rights, and opportunities to lead, and changing the face of leadership for generations to come.


  1. 113

    Girl Up Clubs

  2. 16


  3. 500+

    Girl Up Leaders

A group of youth leaders pose together at the UAE Leadership Summit.
2024 Girl Up UAE Leadership Summit


We were so excited to welcome you to Dubai on March 3rd when we brought together youth changemakers from across the UAE. This was an incredible day of organizing and advocating for change at home and beyond! Attendees had the opportunity to convene with fellow youth activists, exchange ideas in youth and expert-led workshops, and get inspired by a stellar line-up of speakers advancing the movement for gender justice! Hopefully, you left with the knowledge, skills, and new friendships necessary to take your leadership skills to the next level.

Programming featured keynotes and conversations with powerhouse leaders across the gender justice space and interactive workshops where you learned how to further accelerate social change.

Date: March 3rd, 2024

Time: 8:30am – 5:00pm GMT +4

Venue: Heriot – Watt University, Dubai


Speaker Bios

How to start a Girl Up Club

Check out more moments from the 2024 UAE Leadership Summit on YouTube Now!

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Our Issue Areas
  1. STEM for Social Good

    Bridging the gender gap in STEM through WiSci Morocco & virtual bootcamps on sustainability

  2. Youth Leadership

    Ensuring youth have access to decision-making spaces

  3. Education

    Providing external educational opportunities, e.g. public speaking fellowships, for girls

  4. Menstrual Health

    Promoting awareness, autonomy & dignity for women’s healthcare decisions

  5. Storytelling

    Creating feminist podcasts, zines, and more to amplify underrepresented voices in the region

  6. Climate Justice

    Advocating for change at regional events focused on climate advocacy like COP28

MENA Youth Advisory Group
From youth, with youth, by youth, for youth

Recognizing the importance of including youth in the design process of our program delivery and our growth in the region, Girl Up MENA recently launched a new initiative: The MENA Youth Advisory Group (YAG). This group creates an avenue for youth leaders who were instrumental in Girl Up’s grassroots growth in MENA meaningfully engaged, while also providing our team with valuable youth input. YAG members directly advise Girl Up MENA on the design and implementation of Girl Up programming in the region and offer youth perspectives on various challenges and opportunities in the region for youth leadership & gender justice. The MENA YAG currently consists of five self-identified girls between the ages of 16-26 from different countries in the region. YAG members receive an honorarium in consideration for their time and input.

Girl Up MENA YAG 2022-2023

Being provided with the opportunities and tools to advocate for what I believe in, grow as a leader, and connect with changemakers from around the world has been life changing.

Lamya, girl up mena regional leader (uae)
Our Team
  1. Youmna El Khattam (she/her)

    Regional Manager for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

    Youmna El Khattam is a development practitioner with more than 15 years of experience. Her main focus is resource mobilization and program management in gender justice, youth empowerment and social innovation with public, private, and civil society actors. She has worked extensively in the Middle East and North Africa region, with a focus on Egypt and Tunisia. For the past six years, Youmna worked for Oxfam, where she designed and implemented programs and projects that promote gender and economic justice. She believes in social justice for all and strives for equal political powers in a turbulent yet extremely exciting region. With a deep understanding of the complex socio-political dynamics in the region, she has dedicated her career to empowering marginalized groups, particularly youth and women and is a strong advocate against systematic gender-based violence. She loves to read and travel to off-the-track destinations, immersing herself in different cultures, food and conversations. She is an avid cinephile and enjoys exploring the intersection of film and social change.

Contact Us

Connect with us on the Girl Up Community or on our social platforms.

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How to Get Involved

All around the world, our network of a million supporters is mobilizing for gender equality. Will you stand with us?

  1. Careers + Internships

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    Apply today
  2. Alum Network

    Where former Girl Up activists & members can connect, grow, & give back as they navigate adulthood.

  3. a girl who is looking down and using her finger to scrolling the phone

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  4. a girl with big smile on her face wearing Gril Up t-shirt (close shot)
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    Join more than 270,000 changemakers from 155 countries and all 50 U.S. states.

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  5. two girls are smiling and writing down notes and sharing a laptop
    Explore the Issues

    All issues are gender justice issues! Find out more about what our members are passionate about.

  6. Ayanna Pressley speaking on the #girlhero event
    Upcoming Events

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