Current World YWCA News
Taking initiative from the EU’s assertion of its commitment to women’s rights issues, specifically, in ending domestic violence against women, the YWCA of Romania launched its own campaign to end violence against women last year- a necessary step for a nation where domestic violence is too often overlooked and accepted as the norm. The programme was comprised of three components: workshops, counselling services, and online advocacy.
The YWCA of Lesotho launched a successful programme last year in an effort to increase the dignity as well as the socio-economic status of Lesotho's domestic workers.
“In 1995 Member States took a huge step forward for my rights, I was a very young girl. Today I am one in 860 million girls and young women in this world still facing the critical issues identified in the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA).” – stated Marcia Banasko, Co-Chair of the Young Women and Girls Forum.
Representing an immense victory for women and girls, the Malawian Parliament recently announced the passage of the National Marriage Law--a huge gain in the fight to end child marriage worldwide! The law raises the legal age of marriage from 15 to 18 years old. This is a crucial and necessary piece of legislation in a country where 50% of girls are married before the age of 18, and, subsequently, Malawi possesses one of the highest rates of maternal mortality. Even more unsettling, many young Malawian girls are forced into early marriages as their only viable option after experiencing kusasa fumbi, a practice of removing a girls “childhood dust” through forcing her to have sex with an older man. After undergoing this traumatic ritual, which also puts them at risk of becoming infected with HIV, most girls drop out of school and get married due to societal pressures. However, the National Marriage Law gives young Malawian women a legal voice to end this cycle.
The World YWCA and the young women from our movement have, over the last few years, raised their voices and claimed their space at the African Union Summit. Since 2012 we have been advocating for a stronger presence and inclusion of young women, and young people in general, in matters regarding Africa’s future - and our work has paid off as during each gathering of Africa’s nations, the World YWCA’s presence is increasingly felt. Furthermore, it is our uniqueness in bringing the true voice of communities to the global platform that is increasingly respected and sought out.
Each year in the month of February, the World YWCA Office has the great pleasure of welcoming our new Programme Associates. For the last 22 years, the World YWCA has been selecting young women to spend a year working at the World Office in Geneva and learn and grow in an international environment. This year is an exciting World Council year and we have 3 new young women with us in the Office.
On February 5, 2015, the YWCA of Korea staged a “March Against Nuclear Energy”. More than 150 YWCA members from all over South Korea joined the “No More Nuke Campaign” to protest against the Kori Nuclear Power Plant in the southern most region of South Korea.
Do you have a great idea for a project but are in need of funding? Then apply to the Power to Change Fund today. Applications are currently being accepted for 2015. All YWCA Member Associations are welcome to apply!
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.