As the sun dawned in Strasbourg on day two at Yo!Fest and the European Youth Event, our team (now fondly known as #teamyellow thanks to our amazingly bright t-shirts) was enthusiastic about the day ahead. We made our way to the European Parliament for an exciting day of events.
Some of us attended events where the United Nations Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickarmanayake, was speaking.
During a panel discussion on whether young people are equally represented and heard on the political scene, Jayathma mentioned that it is important for young people to have other young people as role models.
She talked about the power of personal stories and mentioned that she was sure that lots of organisations, like WAGGGS, had many amazing young people who they could share stories about. We may be a little-biased but we definitely agreed.
Agnes, Sophie and Eline attended a discussion on youth participation in elections in the Hemicycle which is the large room the Members of the European Parliament sit in during plenary sessions. They had the chance to bring up the important issue of the barriers that young women may face when they decide to run for elections in the European Union. Some barriers are clearly present as only 37 per cent of the Members of Parliament are currently women.
In the afternoon, Olivia and Jenna ran a workshop focusing on how we can use technology to advocate. The session focused on U-Report, a social messaging platform built by UNICEF which allows young people to speak out on issues they care about.
In advance of Yo!Fest, we sent out a U-Report poll to young people around the world to find out whether it was difficult for young women to find their first job and whether there were any barriers which made it more difficult for young women to work. Over 15,000 U-Reporters responded and we shared the results of the poll with participants at Yo!Fest. Participants were engaged in the session regardless of it being 30 degrees and us being stuck in a hot tent!
At the end of the second and final day, the whole team met to debrief and share stories from their day. We talked about what we learned personally and what we could bring with us in our work as the External Relations team of Europe Region.
Overall, it was a very successful event and a great opportunity to raise the profile of WAGGGS Europe Region. We were delighted to be able to spend two very productive days in Strasbourg together.