Current World YWCA News
Statement to the 24TH African Union Summit, January 23-31, 2015
African Union Goodwill Ambassador for the Campaign to End Child Marriage
The African Union (AU) has made tremendous strides in establishing continental instruments for protecting the rights of women and girls, including the Protocol on Women’s Rights in Africa and the Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. This is accompanied by the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality, and the Youth Policy. However, African governments have realised that policies without robust interventions and programmes in communities are insufficient to bring the accelerated change necessary.
While 2014 came to an end on a festive note, filled with the euphoria of messages of peace and joy worldwide, 2015 has kicked off to a most horrifying and dramatic start in many parts of the world, leading to suffering, loss, shock, devastation, hatred and fear, as a result of ruthless, senseless acts.
The countdown has begun… In a little over 8 months – from October 11-16, 2015, YWCA women and young women from across the world will come together to celebrate the 28th World Council in Bangkok, Thailand. The World Council is the legislative authority and governing body of the World YWCA. During this auspicious event, representatives from each affiliated association will gather to elect the members of the World YWCA Board, to set priorities for the coming years work and to determine policies through resolutions.
Since the earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010, the small Caribbean country has been struggling to get back on its feet. The YWCA of Haiti is one of the organisations that has been working tirelessly to contribute to reconstruction efforts. Haiti is a country in which it is key to invest in girls, as they are subject to violence, poverty, and health and education disparities. Adolescent girls in Haiti are largely unable to access education and economic opportunities, and have increasingly become heads of households providing the sole income, while also caring for siblings and elderly family members. Girls living in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps and other relocation sites, particularly those without parents, remain especially vulnerable to violence, and offering sex for food and/or for shelter is not uncommon. Adolescents and younger girls make up over 60% of reported rape cases. Due to the high levels of violence, 36% of women between the ages of 15-24 think that “wife-beating” is justified under certain conditions.
Wishing all our supporters, members, partners and readers a Happy, peaceful and inspiring New Year.
The World Office wishes all of our movement, our friends, partners and our donors a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! May your holidays be full of cheer, love and blessings.
'Till next year..
On December 12, 2014, the World YWCA joined more than 500 organizations worldwide to launch the first-ever Universal Health Coverage Day. As a grassroots organisation witnessing the distress and hardship caused by the lack of adequate health services to women and girls in many parts of the world, the World YWCA organised a lunch panel on the subject of women’s right to health. To mark their commitment to ensuring that every person has access to health care without financial distress, a panel comprised of Dr. Andres de Francisco Executive Director a.i. (PMNCH), Dr. Chandra-Mouli, Department of Reproductive Health and Research (WHO) and Dr. Fulata Moyo, Programme Executive for Women in Church and Society (WCC), and moderated by Hendrica Okanda, World YWCA Global Programme Manager SRHR and HIV and AIDS, shared their experiences and expertise on the subject. As the day marked the two-year anniversary of the unanimous United Nations resolution endorsing universal health coverage and the international community embarks to formulate its Sustainable Development Goals next year, the panelists engaged in a dynamic discussion with the audience. Representatives from World Vision, UNICEF, the WHO, as well as youth and older persons came together for the event hosted at the Geneva Press Club.
The World YWCA annually recognises Human Rights Day, which is celebrated globally on the December 10. Historically, the date marks the United Nations General Assembly's adoption and proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The theme for this year’s Human Rights Day is Human Rights 365 and it encompasses the idea that every day is Human Rights Day. It celebrates the fundamental proposition in the Universal Declaration that each one of us, everywhere, at all times, is entitled to the full range of human rights, that human rights belong equally to each of us and bind us together as a global community with the same ideals and values.
Two years ago on December 12, the United Nations unanimously endorsed a resolution urging governments to ensure universal access to health care without financial hardship. This landmark commitment affirmed the right of every person to have the opportunity for the highest standard of health; the responsibility of governments to urgently scale up universal access; and the promise of health for all to create a fairer, more resilient society.