Current World YWCA News
Mary Robinson, the first female President of Ireland (1990-1997) and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997-2002), has spent most of her life as a human rights advocate. As an academic legislator and barrister she sought to use law as an instrument for social change, arguing landmark cases before the European Court of Human Rights, as well as in the Irish courts, and the European Court in Luxemburg. Committed to women’s leadership, Mary Robinson served as Chair of the Council of Women World Leaders. Mary Robinson also established Realising Rights: the Ethical Globalisation Initiative that has as its mission to put human rights standards at the heart of global governance and policy-making and to ensure that the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable are addressed on the global level. Mary Robinson also served as UN Special Envoy to the Africa Great Lakes Region and was recently appointed the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Climate Change.
Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
The YWCA and YMCA’s main focus is on the holistic development of youth and women since their creation. In the month of November, for over a century, the YWCA and YMCA movements have collaborated to issue a joint call to pray as an important reminder of the spiritual vision that drives their efforts to create a better world for all people. In 2014, the World YWCA/YMCA Week of Prayer and World Fellowship takes place from November 9 - 15 under the theme “Bold and Transformative Leadership.”
On May 25, 2014 the Ministry of Health and Sanitation in Sierra Leone made the following statement “Ebola Virus Disease is a severe, often fatal illness which affects our cultural practices.” Since this statement was made some four months ago; Sierra Leone is now in a state of emergency. According to the United Nations 2,288 people have died from Ebola in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. By some estimates 12,000 people have been infected with Ebola so far.
Since the recent outbreak of the Ebola Virus in West Africa, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) 4,293 cases have been recorded in five West African countries as of September 9, 2014. The outbreak began in Guinea and has spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Senegal. According to the United Nations 2,288 people have died from Ebola in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. By some estimates 12,000 people have been infected with Ebola so far.
An estimated 10 per cent of the world’s population live with a disability. People living with disabilities have the same sexual and reproductive health needs as other people. Yet they often face barriers to information and services. Due to their increased vulnerability to abuse, a person with a disability may even have greater needs for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) education and care than persons without disabilities. The challenges in SRHR are not necessarily part of having a disability but instead often reflect stigma and discrimination, a lack of social attention, legal protection, accessibility of services, understanding and support.
On 5 September, 2014 in New-York the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) held it’s first-ever panel discussion on child marriage. The panel, requested by last year’s first General Assembly resolution on child marriage, focused on the post-2015 development agenda and the development costs of child marriage. Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, World YWCA General Secretary was invited to speak on the panel, alongside Mr John Hendra, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy and Programme, UN Women, Ms Ndodeye Bassey-Obongha, Coordinator at Girls’ Power Initiative (GPI), Nigeria, Mr. Amjad Rabi, Chief of Social Policy and Economic Analysis Section, UNICEF Nepal and Dr. Anita Raj, Director of University of California San Diego’s Centre on Gender Equity and Health and Professor in the Division of Global Public Health.
Last month the World YWCA participated in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Heads of State and Summit meeting held in Victoria Falls, Republic of Zimbabwe on 17th and 18th August 2014. The Summit took place under the theme: SADC Strategy for Economic Transformation: Leveraging the Region’s Diverse Resources for Sustainable Economic and Social Development through Value Addition and Beneficiation. Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, World YWCA General Secretary and AU Goodwill Ambassador led a roundtable discussion organised by Plan International as part of their Child Marriage Symposium on ending child marriage.
The ceasefire is on and so is our international women’s conference. Come to Palestine and see for yourself what is happening here in the occupied State of Palestine. Be a witness to the ongoing colonization and dispossession process that is ongoing in the West Bank, and East Jerusalem. Be a participant in our groundbreaking international conference where we will be exploring women’s participation in peace, protections and prevention from all forms of violence, including gender-based violence. Help us develop a National Action Plan.
Honduras suffers from rampant crime and impunity for human rights abuses. The institutions responsible for providing public security continue to remain marred by corruption and abuse. The YWCA of Honduras, in efforts to support women and raise awareness on human rights and with the assistance from the World YWCA Power to Change Fund developed an awareness called “Violence against Women and the Measurements of Prevention”.
During World Council 2011 in Zurich, Monika Simeon - General Secretary of the YWCA Namibia and World YWCA Board Member - approached the delegates of the YWCA of Germany. Monika wanted to meet the German delegates to exchange thoughts on the painful history that their two countries shared. The women struck up a friendship and a couple of months later the YWCA of Germany invited Monika to be their guest speaker at their Annual Meeting in October 2011. During her speech Monika gave a vivid report of her work and the challenges faced by the YWCA of Namibia. Her words - “The YWCA is not about money, it is all about skills” – struck a chord with the ladies from the YWCA of Germany and they decided to partner with the YWCA of Namibia.