Riya Williams Yuyada

Co-founder, Crown the Woman South Sudan

Region(s): Africa
Country of focus: South Sudan
Based in Juba

Riya Williams Yuyada (@theonlyriya1) is best known for her role in peacebuilding in schools and communities. She co-founded  the Play for Peace South Sudan initiative which brings children, youth and adults from conflicting cultures together through cooperative play to create laughter, compassion, unity and peace.  

Along with six other young Sudanese women,  Riya founded Crown the Woman-South Sudan (@CrownTheWoman), a women-led national grassroots organization that aims to foster a future with zero tolerance for inequality, inequity and injustices that affect women and children.

She participated in South Sudan’s peace process at the High Level Revitalization Forum in Addis Abba and Khartoum through the South Sudan Women Coalition for Peace, and the South Sudan Civil Society Forum, and continues to work for enforcement of affirmative action commitments on women’s  representation and participation in implementation of peace.

In 2021 she received a Ginetta Sagan Foundation award from Amnesty International USA honouring her activism. The citation said her work supporting survivors of sexual violence, while also advocating for women’s rights and justice, is changing lives and worthy of recognition.

Riya is an alumna of the 2018 Women’s Human Rights Institute at the University of Toronto, the 2017 Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership program on education and women’s activism, the 2016 Young African Leadership Program, the Feminist Leadership, Movement Building and Rights Institute East Africa and the 2015 Nobel Women’s Initiative’s Sister-to-Sister Mentorship program.  She is also a fellow of Akili Dada, a leadership incubator nurturing the next generation of African women leaders.