Current World YWCA News
World YWCA General Secretary Named Goodwill Ambassador of the AU Campaign to End Child Marriage in Africa
In an effort to provide a bright future for millions of young women and girls, the African Union has launched the first-ever Campaign to End Child Marriage in Africa on May 29, 2014 in Addis Ababa. The two-year campaign is organised in partnership with UNICEF and UNFPA, and it brings together a large range of partners including the Ford Foundation, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Save the Children, Plan International, Africa Child Policy Forum (ACPF) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID). Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, World YWCA General Secretary, was named AU Goodwill Ambassador by the Commissioner for Social Development during the Ministerial Meeting.
During the Asia-Pacific War which took place from the early 1930s to 1945, Japan forcefully mobilized girls and young women for sex slavery in battlefields and areas where soldiers were stationed, thus violating their human rights. After the war, survivors were either slaughtered or abandoned far from their native countries, unable to return. Japan concealed and distorted its own war crimes and did not provide reparations for the few survivors who were able to return to their home countries. The survivors were forced to silently endure their sufferings for more than 50 years.
In Asia and the Pacific, where more than half the world’s young people live and where, in the Pacific, 56% of the population are under the age of 24, young people are important stakeholders in the development of societies. Young people can become a powerful force in economic, social and cultural development and bring positive change in their communities. To achieve this young people need to be empowered to know and claim their rights to health, education and decent work. The current demographic trends also create space for constructive intergenerational dialogue where women and men of all ages can share knowledge and life skills with each other. A gender perspective is also critical given the widespread discrimination women and girls face in the region due to the simple fact they were born female.
The YWCA of Rwanda was established in 1995 in response to the rising concern for the many widows and children left in the wake of the genocide. It has been a member of the World YWCA since 1999, and its mission is to develop the leadership and collective power of women and girls in Rwanda to achieve high quality education, health and socio-economic conditions for themselves, their families, and their communities.
The YWCA of Palestine will host an international conference on United Nations Security Council resolution 1325 in Palestine. See below for full details- Conference callout
The Human Rights Council requested the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to prepare a report, in consultation with States, United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, civil society and other relevant stakeholders, on preventing and eliminating child, early and forced marriage, with a particular focus on challenges, achievements, best practices and implementation gaps.
The YWCA of Palestine has released a statement calling for the Right of Return to be recognised. The right of return polarises the seemingly intractable conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis like no other issue. For most Palestinians the right of return for the up to six million refugees who are ancestors of those who made the exodus from Palestine that followed the creation of Israel in 1948 is an absolute. For Israeli officials - whose historians dispute the figure of six million and also the reason for the mass exodus - the issue is existential. The World YWCA fully supports the Right of Return for Palestinians.
The YWCA of Sri Lanka and the World YWCA recently co-sponsored a parallel event during the World Conference on Youth, in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The UN sanctioned conference took place 6-10th of May, 2014, and was supported by the government of Sri Lanka. The president himself, His Excellency Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa, opened the conference and spoke of the importance of young people being treated as stakeholders of services. He encouraged delegates to create platforms, strengthen partnerships and be creative. "This century belongs to the youth. It is the century of knowledge", stated President Rajapaksa. He also discussed the importance of building a future that respects culture.
The World Conference on Youth which took place in Colombo, Sri Lanka officially closed on the 10th of May, 2014. The conference gathered thousands of participants from across the world to discuss key issues and topics in relation to young people. Through workshop discussions and roundtables, facilitators and rapporteurs were able to capture the solutions and ideas of young people, to the present problems that continue to stifle the progress of achieving the MDGs.
Geneva, May 8, 2014: The World YWCA joins the YWCA of Nigeria and the rest of the world in calling for urgent and immediate safe return of the 276 girls kidnapped from a state school in the town of Chibok by armed and uniformed men on April 15.