To mark International Day of the Girl Child (11th October), WAGGGS joined a coalition of nine Civil Society Organisations to celebrate the European Week of Action for Girls. As an External Relations Volunteer for the Europe Region, I was given the opportunity to represent WAGGGS as a youth advocate as part of this initiative.
EWAG brought together almost 30 young advocates from Europe and Africa to share their recommendations with EU and global decision-makers. This is the eighth year that the European Week of Action for Girls (EWAG) is celebrated, but for the first time it was hosted as a fully digital event.
Over the summer of 2020, I and the other EWAG young advocates connected on several occasions to define our recommendations to the EU. We focused on four key areas, one of which was non-formal education. On October 14th, I was honoured to participate in the “Girls Connect with Parliamentarians” online exchange event, through which we presented this recommendations to MEPs, as well as to MPs from Kenya.
The key objective of the intervention was to stress the significance of mainstreaming and inclusion of girls and young women in the future EU-Africa partnership. Our recommendations include equitable access to non-formal education for all girls and young women so that they will be able to thrive in a safe educational environment.
Another major part of the EU-Africa Strategy is digital transformation. Proper measures should be implemented in this regard so that girls become drivers of digital transformation. The digital gender divide does not encourage gender equality, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.
This is most relevant as COVID-19 increases countries’ reliance on digital services. Supporting girls’ access to digital devices, promoting digital skills and girls’ participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) are essential while tackling stereotypes and gender biases in curricula.
My experience at the European Week of Action for Girls has been a truly unique and enriching one for me as a Girl Guide and Volunteer in my Region. Platforms such as EWAG help us retain our hope and ambition that our voices are listened to and taken into consideration for sustainable growth towards the EU-Africa Partnership.
Written by: Elena Konstantinidi