Advisory Board

Advisory Board

The Water Youth Network is led by a group of 4 to 5 people that are chosen by the members every 2 years by ballot. In May 2017 a new Advisory Board was elected. Since then, these 4 leaders have been working alongside WYN working group coordinators to steer WYN projects and efforts in accordance with the WYN mission and vision.

The following five talented women will serve on the WYN Advisory Board from June 2017 through May 2019:


Shabana Abbas

Shabana is the President of the Water Youth Network and leads the Advisory Board. Her key responsibilities include steering the strategic direction of the network, overseeing internal activities and developing new partnerships. She is also liaison from the board for the Water Governance working group. In addition to her Advisory board role, Shabana is member of the Junior Global Advisory Panel for University of Oxford’s REACH program on Water Security.

Shabana hails from Pakistan and has been living in the Netherlands for past three years. She became engaged in the WYN while pursuing her masters at UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education in Delft, the Netherlands. Her first ever engagement with WYN was in 2014 for the World Water Forum 7 in South Korea. Since then, there has been no turning back. Shabana currently works as a Program Manager for Aqua for All, a foundation based in the Hague, Netherlands. Here, she works on a water innovation program supporting local innovations in cities in seven countries  in Africa. Shabana previously worked for the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat in Pakistan, part of the larger Aga Khan Development Network that operates in over 30 countries. 

LinkedIn profile here. E-mail:



Veronica Diaz Sosa

Vero (as she likes to be called) was born in Merida, Mexico but now lives in Europe. Vero is currently the Vice-President of WYN and also the Communications officer, always making sure that the paths we follow to communicate internally and externally, are the most efficient, engaging and as clear as possible. She also supports the IWRM thematic working group and is co-creator of the YouKnoW! Platform. Veronica joined the WYN in 2013, when she was coursing an Environmental Technology and Engineering master’s degree programme, hosted by a consortium of three universities throughout Europe (UNESCO-IHE, Ghent University and UCT Prague), which she completed in 2015. Currently, she is working on her PhD on Environmental Engineering and Water Reuse. Vero has previously gained commercial experience working for over 4 years in big corporations such as The Coca-Cola Co. and Kellogg’s; these experiences have given her a broader view about the world, the corporate environment and the tools needed to move forward successfully. She is now focused on finding ways to get people (especially youth) engaged into making significant changes to improve the world we live in. Whenever Vero is not working, she is likely to be painting, reading, travelling or sleeping.

LinkedIn profile here. E-mail:




Maryellen Hearn

Maryellen Hearn originally hails from Minnesota, USA. As a WYN Advisory Board member and as the WYN Treasurer, Maryellen focuses her support on finance and human relations within the network. She is also the liaison for the Disaster Risk Reduction thematic group and provides board support for the YouKnoW! project team. Before joining the board, one of Maryellen’s favorite WYN projects was being on the organizing team for a session of the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction. As part of this role, Maryellen eventually served on the Drafting Committee of the Forum, thanks to the United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth (UNMGCY) and the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD). Maryellen joined WYN during her flood risk management master’s degree program, hosted by a consortium of four universities throughout Europe, which she completed in 2017. Maryellen had previously worked for four years at an environmental consulting company in Seattle, WA, where she contributed to a variety of water, energy, and climate-related projects, primarily in the public sector. In her free time, Maryellen enjoys singing, dancing, and spending time with her favorite people.

LinkedIn profile here. E-mail:



Oclaya Verwey

Oclaya is a Surinamese young water professional, who is currently studying Hydrology and Water Resources at IHE-Delft. It is at this institute she became engaged with the Water Youth Network, where she joined as a member of the WASH team and helped to organise her first activity for the World Water Day 2017. As a member of the Advisory Board, Oclaya is the official Secretary,  the liaison for the WASH thematic working group and she also focuses on the WYN activities carried out at IHE, and further on internal activities and Human Resources. As a WYN member and student at IHE, Oclaya also had the opportunity to join the first UNLEASH lab 2017 on Sustainable Development Goals in Denmark.




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