Ilwad returned from Canada to Somalia in 2010 whilst the conflict still raged heavily and the majority of Mogadishu and South Central Regions of Somalia were lost to the control of the Al-Qaeda linked terrorist group Al-Shabaab. She remained in Somalia ever since, co-founding the first rape crisis centre for survivors of sexual and gender based violence, designing interventions aimed at security sector reform to create an inclusive space for women in peace building, and developing programs for the disarmament and rehabilitation of child soldiers and adults defecting from armed groups for their socio-economic empowerment, rehabilitation and reintegration.
Beyond her duties at Elman Peace; Ilwad is an advocate for the Kofi Annan foundation’s latest initiative called Extremely Together, where she and 9 other youth leaders under the mentorship of Mr. Kofi Annan are Preventing Violent Extremism by inspiring, engaging and empowering youth globally.
Ilwad additionally serves as the chair of the Child Protection Gender Based Violence Case Management Group in Mogadishu; is a founding member of the Advisory Committee for Researching Gender Based Violence Social Norms in Somalia and South Sudan, is a member of the international practitioners network for civilian casualty recording, as well as an expert in the Women Waging Peace Network for Inclusive Security.
She has served as the One Young World Ambassador to Somalia since 2013; completed President Barrack Obama’s flagship White House fellowship for Young African Leaders in 2014 and in the same year was appointed Youth Ambassador to Somalia for Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict.