It is evident that technology has changed the way people think, act and understand things. More importantly, technology has reduced the space and time taken to engage with a wide range of audiences in what has come to be termed as the global village. As time evolves, more and more people are seeking technology driven innovations to solve their problems.
This was the message a group of at least 30 group of young women took home- among them five FAWE Alumni from Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Senegal- during a Young Women advocacy training hosted by YWCA and Rozaria Memorial trust. The training was held on the sidelines of the 29th Gender is My Agenda Campaign (GIMAC) Pre AU consultative meeting from 21st to 27th January 2017 in Addis Ababa Ethiopia.
The youth were extensively taken through the various technology tools and channels they can use to launch campaigns and mobilize audiences to influence change including: social media accounts and pages, blogs, websites, hashtags among others.
Being a year specifically set aside to deliberate on youth affairs under the theme was “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend Through Investment in the Youth”, the training also covered several binding AU instruments that delegates attending the week long consultations would make reference to. The youth were thus encouraged to question the commitment of their countries’ leaders in implementing the agreed upon laws and regulations encompassed in the said instruments.
During the youth deliberations, terrorism, Gender Based Violence (GBV) and ineffective education systems were listed as some of the key issues harbouring the well-being and development of young women in the continent. The fora observed that girls, women and children have been on the receiving end in the wake of terrorism as most have been abducted and traded off as sex slaves to militias, raped and impregnated, discontinued from school and disconnected from their families.
‘Displacement of families, disconnection of children with education, cases of assault and sexual abuse in the makeshift comes reserved for survivors” noted Firehiwot Yemane, a FAWE Ethiopia Alumnus.
The young women called on the AU governments to develop emergency preparedness mechanisms to shield and reinstate the lives of the victims of violence.
On education, the young women observed that part of the reason why the youth make uninformed decisions on their sexual reproductive health is because of their lack of knowledge. In this regard the forum recommended the inclusion of sexual reproductive health rights in school curricula and sensitization workshops on the use of contraceptives. The youth also expressed the need for teenagers and adolescents be sensitized on their rights to stop them from being victims of GBV. The young women also called for a skills based curriculum in schools through after school training sessions.
The training culminated in the development of an outcome document that was shared with the council of ministers attending the AU consultations during the week. This year, FAWE under the Girls Advocacy Alliance Project will be enhancing the capacity of regional and sub-regional youth led CSO networks to influence regional policy making and monitoring on Gender Based Violence (GBV) and Economic Exclusion (EE). One of the ways the organization intends to fulfil this is mobilizing youth led organizations to attend regional forums of this nature.