About us

Youth LEAD is the largest network of Young Key Populations (YKPs) in Asia and the Pacific

Our Vision

Our vision is to create an inclusive region where the human rights of young key affected people are respected, and the impact of HIV and AIDS is mitigated through the meaningful involvement of young key affected populations to equal and equitable access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. 

We want to be the catalyst of change and to empower young key populations through capacity building, advocacy, and the expansion of partnerships between local, national, and regional YKP organisations. We want to ensure more meaningful participation and involvement of YKP in all levels of decision making that impact their lives. We respect diversity and ensure gender balance in all aspects of our organisational structure and decision making.

Our Mission

Youth LEAD works to empower adolescents ages 14 - 18 and young key populations ages 18 - 30 at the grassroots level from across the Asia Pacific region.

Youth LEAD was established to strengthen partnerships among organisations working on key population issues across the region and to equip our members with the necessary knowledge, skills and tools to advocate for change.
Adolescent and young key populations bear disproportionate burdens of HIV and are most at risk for HIV infections. Young key population communities are made of:

  • Young men who have sex with men
  • Young transgender persons
  • Young people who use drugs
  • Young people who engage in sex work

Our organisation and programs are led, designed, and implemented by young people, working for young people. We embrace each other's differences and celebrate our similarities, connected by our values and needs of being young and our shared passion for ending HIV/AIDS. 
This is what makes Youth LEAD strong. Our network is comprised of focal points, network partners, civil society organisations and networks, stakeholders and donors, all coming together to advocate for issues that affect our communities.

Our History

Youth LEAD began as a project to address the needs of young key populations in 2010, under the Coalition of Asia-Pacific Regional Networks on HIV and AIDS (7 Sisters), which was financially supported by UNFPA.

It later gained support from various UN agencies, such as UNICEF EAPRO, UNAIDS RST, and UNESCO as the project expanded across the Asia Pacific. The success of the project established Youth LEAD as an independent network in 2012, after the development of a three-year-long strategic plan and governance handbook. In 2014, Youth LEAD became a legally registered organisation in Thailand through the financial and technical support of the Robert Carr Fund and UN partners.

Youth LEAD works with a team of in-country representatives (known as Focal Points) to coordinate the grassroots engagement of young people across 20 countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos Malaysia, Myanmar, Mongolia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, Thailand and Viet Nam.

Our Partners

Youth LEAD works closely with UN agencies, funding agencies and civil society organisations and networks to ensure meaningful partnerships are established. 

We recognise that is through these strong partnerships that our network is able to expand and that the impact of work is greater because of these key partnerships.

Our Team

Gaj Gurung
Regional Coordinator
Ikka Noviyanti
Advocacy Officer
Eddy Rudram
Communications Officer
Vanessa Monley
Programme Officer
Nounvan Suwanviwatana (Yui)
Finance Officer
Gaj Gurung

Gaj Gurung is from Nepal and is the Regional Coordinator at Youth LEAD. Gaj joined Youth LEAD in 2013 as the Programme Manager after completing this Master in Development Studies at the College of Development Studies in Kathmandu, Nepal. He has experience working with women living with HIV and became a focal point for Youth LEAD in 2011.

In his role as a Regional Coordinator, Gaj oversees the regional programs and daily operations for the organisation. Gaj coordinates with stakeholders, civil society networks and board members to manage Youth LEAD’s strategic direction. He manages the secretariat as the head of the organisation and represents Youth LEAD at international forums and meetings. Gaj is also a PhD candidate at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand, majoring in Public Health.

Contact Gaj at gaj@youth-lead.org

Ikka Noviyanti

Ikka Noviyanti is from Indonesia and is the Advocacy Officer at Youth LEAD. 
Ikka joined Youth LEAD in 2018 after working for OPSI, the national network of sex workers, Indonesia. Ikka has experience working with key populations networks at both national and regional levels.

In her role as the Advocacy Officer, Ikka represents Youth LEAD at various workshops, consultations and forums to ensure the needs of YKPs are being met. She also provides technical support to country-partnered organizations and ensures meaningful engagement of Youth LEAD’s Focal Points in advocacy. Ikka was involved with the Global Fund as the Youth Adviser for the Point 7 Constituency. Currently, she represents YKPs in Asia and the Pacific as a Youth Council member for the Global Fund. She also uses this platform and opportunity to address and bring attention to the needs and challenges faces by YKPs.

Contact Ikka at ikka@youth-lead.org

Eddy Rudram

Eddy Rudram is from Thailand/UK and is the Communications Officer at Youth LEAD. Eddy joined Youth LEAD in 2018 after completing his Master in International Development from the Global Development Institute at the University of Manchester. Eddy has experience working for LGBTQ support groups and has several years of experience working in communications and media. 

In his role as a Communications Officer, Eddy is responsible for managing Youth LEAD’s social media presence and works to promote the impact of Youth LEAD’s activities. Eddy develops communications strategies, provides reporting assistance and engages with stakeholders to strengthen partnerships. In his role, Eddy has successfully worked on campaigns with UNICEF ROSA to raise awareness on emerging issues among YKPs in South Asia. In 2019, Eddy co-chaired the IATT (Inter-Agency Task Team) on Young Key Populations Asia Pacific; a collaboration of UN agencies and civil society organisations/networks working on YKPs. Currently, Eddy is managing the YKP COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, a grant scheme aimed at supporting youth-led initiatives in the time of COVID-19 for YKPs and YPLHIV across Asia and the Pacific.

Contact Eddy at eddy@youth-lead.org

Vanessa Monley

Vanessa Monley is from Thailand/Australia and the Programme Officer at Youth LEAD. Vanessa joined Youth LEAD in late 2019 after working for a creative marketing agency. Vanessa holds a Bachelor Degree in Media and Communications from the University of Melbourne and has experience working on campaigns for UNWOMEN on gender-based violence.

As Programme Officer, Vanessa is responsible for managing the SKPA Program Grant; a Global Fund grant handled by AFAO. She is currently coordinating with Global Fund targeted countries such as Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, and Laos to ensure YKP capacity development through leadership trainings and monitoring in-country activities. Under this grant, she will also be managing the development and implementation of the Regional Healthcare Worker Guideline. Also, Vanessa is handling the Organizational Change and Development project under the UNDP, Being LGBTI in Asia, “Small Grants Programme”.

Contact Vanessa at vanessa@youth-lead.org

Nounvan Suwanviwatana (Yui)

Nounvan has been working for Youth LEAD for over seven years and has more than 10 years of experience in finance and accounting. Before Youth LEAD, Nounvan had worked for HSBC Bank and the Canadian Embassy. Nounvan oversees accounting, cash management, financial reporting, budget planning and overall financial control of Youth LEAD. 

Contact Nounvan at yui@youth-lead.org

Youth LEAD Board Members

Youth LEAD is made up of five board and two alumni members representing various key population backgrounds from across the Asia Pacific. The role of the board is to provide strategic direction, governance and oversight into the operations of Youth LEAD. Board members help ensure the activities and work-plans of Youth LEAD encompass all young key population needs covering all of Asia and the Pacific. The board and the secretariat work collaboratively as a truly youth-led network.

Board members are as followed:

Fletcher Chiu
Fame Taqueban
Board Member
Chinmay Modi
Board Member
Pooja Kunwar Chhetri
Board Member
Tan Fok Jun (Jeremy)
Alumni Board Member
Aadi Baig
Alumni Board Member
Missael Hotman

Youth LEAD Internship Programme

We offer internships to students currently enrolled in post-graduate studies. Students interested in development issues, public health, youth and education, SRHR and HIV can intern with Youth LEAD through-out the year. 

To find out more about the internship programme at Youth LEAD, please email