Current World YWCA News
Another year is here - 2014. Should we really call it “new” year, and if so what’s new? After all, today can only be fully understood and have its contextual meaning if we reflect on yesterday. We can only plan for tomorrow with confidence if we have a good grounding of where we are today. Therefore as I share this message with you, I will take us back to our World YWCA experiences in 2013 and reflect on our key focus for this year as we significantly roll up our sleeves for 2015 and beyond.
The last month saw a sharp escalation of violence in South Sudan, with the usual impact on women and girls. The trauma has reverberated throughout the region, as the birth pangs of a new nation remain fresh.
The World YWCA works to stimulate its members and its member associations to excel and successfully meet their objectives. It facilitates an environment through which people can act both individually and as a group to make effective changes and pursue a common purpose.
It is that sad time of the year again when the World Office says goodbye to its long term interns. This year we bid farewell to two special women: Kgothatso Mokoena from South Africa and Ramya Jawahar Kudekallu from India. During their time in Geneva, Ramya and Kgothatso travelled all over the world and attended many international meetings and events, from Korea, Ethiopia and the Caribbean. For the last year they have brought much laughter and warmth to the World Office and we are sad to see them go.
The Fabric of Our Lives Project is an advocacy project of the YWCA of Palestine under the association’s Rights for Women for Peace, Security and Dignity programme. Palestinian women and young woman involved in the project have designed dolls made out of olive wood, dressed beautifully in traditional Palestinian embroidered dresses. Suhair, YWCA of Palestine Project worker shared, “The process began with listening to stories from women who remember what happened in 1948. These stories are then fleshed out with more details about their village both past and present. During the interviews the women sometimes bring out embroidery they have done. Next we designed a model dress based on real dresses worn during that time period in the village.”
From 14-17 November, 2013, the World YWCA and the Population Council held a training programme in Lusaka, Zambia hosted jointly by the YWCA of Zambia and the Adolescent Girls’ Empowerment Program (AGEP). A total of 11 selected YWCAs (Argentina, Belize, Benin, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Myanmar, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, The US Virgin Islands, and Zambia) participated in a mentoring and training experience on the design and implementation of targeted girl-centred programming. Each YWCA assigned one decision maker (.e.g., General Secretary, President, or senior staff person with solid programme knowledge and experience); and one programme implementer to attend the training. One team member was to be a young woman. This was an exciting opportunity for the twenty-four intergenerational participants to learn collectively, with colleagues around the world, about how to strengthen and expand programming for critical populations of adolescent girls and young women.
Eastern and Southern Africa’s leaders agree. It’s time to act now on young people’s education and sexual health needs.
The World YWCA annually recognises Human Rights Day which is celebrated globally on the 10th December. Historically the date marks the United Nations General Assembly's adoption and proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The UDHR declaration was adopted in 1948 at Palais de Chaillot, Paris, France. The document is more than as affirmation of international consensus; it has become a symbol of ‘fundamental freedoms’, which under no circumstances should face violation.
On December 8, 2013 the World YWCA and the Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Information Dissemination Service (SafAIDS) held a joint intergenerational dialogue, “A Tweet@ble Intergenerational Dialogue: Investing in Young Women’s Leadership – Key to Changing the SRH Terrain in Africa”. The dialogue brought together men and women of all ages, as well as the voices of those men and women following the discussions online who contributed to the discussion by tweeting. These tweets were then projected live and the audience and panelists, as well as those attending the Intergenerational Dialogue, could directly react and tweet – everyone was participating!
6 December, 2013. Geneva, Switzerland
The World YWCA joins the world in mourning Tata Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, a towering champion of freedom and liberty. He made many personal sacrifices for his country, South Africa, for Africa and beyond. This was a journey he shared with the his family, friends the people of South Africa. With his death, the world’s conscience is pricked, for we are all reminded of the deep values he stood for.