Friday, 25 February 2011
Today we had a long but really exciting and productive day.
It was 7:45am and Fiona, Carine, Rachel and Nefeli were already up and rehearsing for our side event that was happening in the afternoon.
For Rachel, Maria Laura and Nefeli the excitement was yet to start as they rushed to the UN building for a 10am UNAIDS event on Woman, Girls and HIV. We had the opportunity to listen Michelle Bachelet (Head of UN Women and former President of Chile) and Michel Sidibe (UNAIDS Executive Director) talk about the importance of the partnership between the two UN entities and how interrelated their work and agendas on gender and HIV/AIDS is.
It has been pointed out that girls and young women are especially affected by this pandemic and educating young people could assist in the prevention. Rachel seized this opportunity and addressed a question to the panelists: “As WAGGGS is providing non-formal education to our 10 million members in 145 countries around the world, how important is non-formal education in the prevention of HIV/AIDS?” We were very proud to hear the response from the Head of UN Women, stating that peer education is the key to raising awareness among young people of issues such as HIV/AIDS.
Our second excitement for the day, was the WAGGGS side event on ‘Uniting against violence: a girl-centered approach’ joined with Soroptimist International and the World YWCA. For our panel discussion our guest speaker, Maria Jose Alcala (Senior Programme Advisor, Ending Violence Against Women Section, UN WOMEN), spoke about the commitment of UN WOMEN to put an end to violence against girls and young women. The three organizations presented case studies and how girls and young women have taken action to create safe spaces and opportunities for all of us. WAGGGS introduced examples from Canada, Sweden, Rwanda and the global poster competition as part of the Secretary-General’s UniTe campaign to 'Say NO to Violence against women’. During the session we pulled out proposals and examples of best practice from each of the panellists and the audience to include in an outcome document sharing ideas and policy suggestions to help us all move forward.
The launch of our Global Advocacy Campaign this July will be a step further in our current work on bringing violence against girls and young women to an end. As Nefeli concluded in her speech at the panel: “We are taking action today to put an end to violence, one of the issues that most affects us as girls and young women. We know that together we can make the world a safer place for everyone. As girls and young women, you may call us the leaders of tomorrow, but we are also the leaders of today’.”
Check out this video of the delegates in action at the side event.
Maria Laura Navarro Solano, Costa Rica, and Nefeli Themeli, Greece