Patricia Mativo, 26


United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Youth Advisory Panel

Patricia lives a life of adventure. The vice president of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Youth Advisory Panel is a social media star.

One moment she is on TikTok creating and watching videos, the next she is addressing a gathering at the United Nations on serious humanitarian issues.

Patricia studied analytical chemistry at Multimedia University and graduating with First Class Honours in 2021. A born leader, the GenZer led in high school and university.

"Patricia typifies an unyielding spirit of a fighter, leaving every battlefront with triumph. "

Patricia typifies an unyielding spirit of a fighter, leaving every battlefront with triumph. Even after a road accident about a decade ago that left her with a disability, she has sought to outdo herself in every engagement.

‘‘It was a dark period for me. But there is always light. I am happy about where I am and happier about where I am going,’’ she says.

The 2023 Rhodes Scholarship finalist is currently the coordinator of the Global Network of Persons with Disabilities.

At the UN, she was involved with support for populations in their sexual and reproductive needs and campaigns against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

‘‘We advise the UN on how best to implement their programmes inclusive of youth and disabled persons at the grassroots level,’’ she says.

Besides the advisory role, Patricia and other youth in the office carry out various youth-targeted activities.

What is it like to work at the UN as a young person?

‘‘It gives me the exposure and networks I need. I am able to mentor other young people in terms of what impact they can create in their communities.’’

Is she political? ‘‘I do not like the word politics. Politics is more about noise. I see it as leadership that works to meet people’s needs, without noise. For me, this has to come from the heart.’’

She likes to be in communion with nature, often taking walks in parks. That and road trips.

Patricia intends to start her Master’s in Environmental Engineering later this year. ‘‘I am also registering an organisation that will support and gives hope to people with acquired disabilities.’’

James Kahongeh