Power To Change Fund Success stories
Mobilising Young Women’s Leadership and Advocacy in Asia and the Pacific is a multi-year initiative managed by the World YWCA with funding from AusAID. The goal of the initiative is to contribute to a critical mass of young women leaders across the Asia Pacific region. Phase 1 of the project (2012-2013) was implemented in 11 Asia Pacific countries and built the capacity of at least 580 young women to become leaders and human rights advocates in their communities.
In the Solomon Islands, women’s progress towards equal representation in leadership positions is painstakingly slow. At a community level, the potential of young women to bring about positive change is rarely acknowledged. Without a voice in the decisions that affect their lives, widespread abuse of young women’s human rights, including physical and sexual violence, are common. With this in mind, the YWCA of Solomon Islands developed the Rise Up! Young Women’s Leadership Programme, which teaches young women how they can become leaders, transform their communities and claim their rights.
With no comprehensive sexuality education in schools and limited access to information and services, misinformation about young people’s sexual and reproductive health is abundant. Access to information about sexual and reproductive health is limited, with as many as 58% of school students reporting that they are dissatisfied with the amount of reproductive health information they receive. As a result the YWCA of Sri Lanka’s Young Women Lead Change project aims to change this by training young women as peer educators and supporting them to provide relevant, evidence based information about sexual and reproductive health to other young people in their communities. The project is funded through the World YWCA Power to Change Fund with the support of the Australian Government Aid Agency (AusAid).
The YWCA of Belize has developed comprehensive programmes which directly address the needs of the young people within the local community. Their project titled “Empowering, Engaging and Informing our Youth”, operates from an intergenerational approach enabling transformative leadership and empowering young people especially young women to take control of their own lives. In this regard the project aims to develop young leaders to be self-sustainable, lead healthy lives, be informed of potential opportunities and equipped with the necessary skills as desired. The project is supported through the World YWCA Power to Change Fund Grant.
Open discussions about sex, violence and what goes on inside the privacy of one’s home are considered taboo in Burundi, especially in rural areas. Rural women are the most prone to violence, often daily, and have the least access to information and justice. It is also not uncommon for girls in schools to face sexual violence and intimidation from their teachers and peers. In order to address the problem of violence in rural areas the YWCA of Burundi’s Power to Change Project focuses on providing information, holding perpetrators of violence accountable and changing attitudes.
Women in Myanmar face barriers to living informed and healthy lives. Myanmar is plagued with a lack of education on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), HIV and gender based violence. Cultural taboos, language barriers and vast expanses of rural areas pose a great challenge in spreading vital information, especially to young women.
Grenada’s economy is very much based on agriculture, producing 23% of the world’s nutmeg. Nutmeg production continues to play a pivotal role as a source of income, employment and revenue for Grenada. However, the recent decline in the nutmeg trading price on the international market has seriously affected the economy of the country. For the young, the future is equally bleak. Agriculture has little appeal for providing a secure livelihood and many are leaving the island.
Globally, an estimated 140 million girls and women are currently living with the consequences of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Young women and girls are too often subject to harmful traditional practices, such as FGM and child marriage, which increases their risk of maternal mortality or childbirth injury, HIV infection, and domestic violence. In Africa alone, an estimated 92 million girls, 10 years old and older, have undergone FGM (WHO, 2012).
The YWCA of Naucalpan was created in 1972 with the objective of promoting the leadership of women and young women in the municipality of Naucalpan, Mexico. What started as a modest structure offering classes to 30 children, over the years grew into a primary school. Today it boasts 1000 students and also a kindergarten with 260 small children. The students are given medical and dental attention and young people are provided with training in areas such as carpentry, sewing, hairdressing, etc. Adult literacy classes are also offered.
About 650 million people in the world (10 per cent of the world’s population) live with disabilities, and frequently encounter a myriad of physical, economical and social obstacles. They often lack the opportunities of the mainstream population and are usually among the most marginalised in society. Often, women with disabilities are invisible both among those promoting the rights of persons with disabilities, and those promoting gender equality and the advancement of women. As noted in the Platform for Action document, created at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, 1995, "Girls and women of all ages with any form of disability are among the more vulnerable and marginalised of society. There is therefore need to take into account and to address their concerns in all policy-making and programming. Special measures are needed at all levels to integrate them into the mainstream of development."