Current World YWCA News
Today marks the beginning of the World YWCA Week Without Violence (WWV). For decades, the World YWCA movement has taken action in communities, schools, workplaces and public forums to raise awareness of violence against women, its widespread existence, and its impact on families and societies. The WWV is one of the ways that YWCAs are working to address gender inequality and violence against women. The aim of the WWV is to challenge and inspire “people to bring to life a vision of the future where all people are free to live in peace, respect and opportunity.”
Girls are needed for the future. They play a large role in the advancement of the world and it is necessary to include them on the global stage. Unfortunately, girls have been mostly ignored, including in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that will expire in 2015. This cannot happen again.
In early August 2013, the World YWCA and its global movement took pride in the United Nations Secretary General’s announcement that Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, former Deputy President of South Africa, was appointed as the new Executive Director of UN Women.
September 27, 2013 marked an historic day and a significant step towards the advancement of women, young women and girls’ human rights. The 24th session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) came to an end last Friday September 27, with states unanimously adopting a resolution on child, early and forced marriage, calling for the elimination and prevention of this harmful traditional practice. For the first time in history this issue has been recognised and documented as a human rights violation within a UN document.
The youth pre-conference to Africa on Population and Development took place between 24-25 September 2013 in Addis Ababa Ethiopia. African Youth representatives from different countries and organisations gathered in advance of the September 30 - October 4, Regional review conference on progress towards the goals of the ICPD Programme of Action. The main theme of the Regional conference is Harnessing the Demographic Dividend: the Future We Want for Africa. The World YWCA was represented by Nelly Lukale youth coordinator at the YWCA of Kenya and Jennifer Mbise a young woman from the YWCA of Tanzania who was also a member of the steering committee.
The work of the YWCA and YMCA movements is rooted in Christianity and we are driven by our Christian beliefs in everything that we do. One of our oldest joint traditions is to celebrate the YWCA/YMCA Week of Prayer, a tradition that goes back to 1904. Every year during the month of November, the YWCA and YMCA movements issue a joint call for prayer as an important reminder of the spiritual vision that drives their efforts to create a better world for all people. This year's YWCA/YMCA Week of Prayer will be held from November 10-16, under the theme: "Be the Change”.
Speaking at the United Nations 68th General Assembly High Level event on Women's and Children's Health: The Unfinished Agenda of the MDGs in Support of Every Woman Every Child, the World YWCA General Secretary, Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, demonstrated how important it is to make room at the podium for young women's voices. Instead of giving a closing statement herself, Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda shared this global platform with the YWCA’s Communications intern, Ramya Kudekallu, who gave a strong, clear and impassioned message asking leaders to “invest in education and economic opportunities including the provision of age appropriate sexuality education and firm action against early and forced marriage.”
The YWCA of Japan joins Japanese NGOs by endorsing a petition regarding their concerns since the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident. Tepco, the company in charge of the nuclear plant, has not yet found the cause of or the solution to the ongoing serious radioactive pollution leakage into the ocean, despite a statement by Prime Minister Abe at the IOC that the situation was under control.
The World YWCA is currently attending the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and surrounding events in New York, USA taking place from September 23-27. The UNGA will have a special focus on the discussions around the crucial millennium development goals (MDGs) and the Post 2015 Development Agenda. World YWCA General Secretary, Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, Programme Associate, Ramya Jawahar Kudekallu and YWCA UN Representative, Elizabeth Nash, will attend various events along with a host of other civil society organisations in order to follow the outcomes of the various deliberations that will take place.
In Kenya, the Children’s Act of 2001 gives every person below the age of 18 the right to health and medical care. Reproductive health services are an essential component of young women’s health and wellbeing and therefore the government has a duty to ensure adequate reproductive health services for adolescent girls. Adolescent girls are at higher risk of illness and death from reproductive causes, including early pregnancy, unsafe abortion, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Young girls are more vulnerable to infection during intercourse and at greater risk of pregnancy-related complications. Most adolescent girls are less informed about the risks of sexual activity and and how to prevent infection and pregnancy. Factors contributing to the risk associated with sexual behaviour include age at initiation of sex, number of sexual partners, and condom and contraceptive use.