Day One of Women Deliver 2013: Tuesday 28 May 2013
By: Jenna Evans, Carly Checholik & Rukaiyah Lakkadghatwala, Girl Guides of Canada
As we entered the Plenary Hall of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, we could feel the passion and hope for a better tomorrow for girls and women. With representatives from over 150 countries, we were truly a global village, united with a common purpose to empower women worldwide.
"I had the amazing opportunity to attend concurrent sessions that aimed to encapsulate the overwhelming benefits of investing in maternal health care and the manner in which global maternal deaths can be prevented. Each session communicated that when a society invests in the well-being of its women, communities are as a result able to reach their true potential." –Rukaiyah Lakkadghatwala, age 16
“I started my morning by attending a session about the sexual and reproductive rights for youth around the world. We touched on the importance of educating not only girls, but their families and communities as well. During my session I had the opportunity to express my views on the widespread education of young girls to an esteemed panel of adults working in the field. It was amazing to be in a room full of wise individuals and have my outlook appreciated and welcomed. It really reinforced my idea that I want to pursue a career in human rights.” –Carly Checholik, age 16
“Long after the opening session came to a close, the words of Dr. Musimbi Kanyoro from the Global Fund for Women continued to echo in my ears: ‘Justice delayed is justice denied.’ While dialogue and bridge-building are crucial, only through action can we hope to effect change at the front-lines where it matters most. I walked away from the sessions today with a framework of key areas where transformation is needed: (1) norms and attitudes, (2) household dynamics and decision-making, (3) health system delivery, (4) economic opportunities, and (5) data collection and reporting. The time for change is now.” –Jenna M. Evans, age 27
Day Two of Women Deliver 2013: Wednesday 29 May 2013
Today I decided to enter what I thought would have been an informative session and I must say I was not disappointed! This session was titled: ‘No women left behind: Leveraging Sexual, Reproductive and Maternal Health Services to address Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs)’ with exceptional speakers such as Maria Blair, Vice President of the American Cancer Society; Karl Hoffman, President and CEO of Population Service International (PSI); Seth Berkley, CEO of GAVI Alliance; Helen McGuire, Director of Non Communicable Diseases PATH, USA; and Isabella Danel, Associate Director for Programme Development, Centre for Global Health, Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
In this session, it was amazing and heart warming to see representatives from countries across the world in dialogue with such powerful persons. The level of education received on the correlation between such things as HPV and its connection to cervical cancer and many others was astounding. Also, results were revealed and voices heard on matters such as evolutionary cancer research - which is under way. Though there was much focus on NCDs, there was much discussion on reproductive and maternal health as it related to access to what we consider simple and basic entitlements. Note was also given to the fact that some facilities and medications were not readily available and these gaps in the system played a significant part in what can be prevented in the long run. However, what really touched me was that by the end of this session (which ran over its allotted time due to the great interest) directors of various organisations showed interest to work with one another and PATH offered help and hopes to form bonds with other members in the room in addition to the Cancer Society.
These are the reason we come together! We gather to show not only that we care, but by putting actions to our words. This session, along with the many others, and the entire experience of Women Deliver 2013 will always be with me. With the knowledge learnt I hope to better not only my community, but my island and the world. Through education, advocacy and heart we can make this happen!
Sharie Thompson – Rudder, 21 (Barbados)