This year, the African Union (AU) Summit takes place on 10-18 July in Kigali, Rwanda. The theme is “Towards a Peaceful, Prosperous & Integrated Africa”.

The YWCA has engaged in the African Union Gender Pre-Summit which ran two days before the Summit. The meeting emphasized two aspects of achieving gender equality; political goodwill and financing. It is essential to have leaders who can implement commitments of meaningful participation of women. In terms of financing, there is a need for gender responsive budgeting although interventions should not only target gender equality but the overall health and development of communities. The meeting resulted in concrete recommendations that will be presented at the AU Summit. It ended with the Continental Gender Awards which was given to President Kagame of Rwanda and Dr. Nkosana Dlamini-Zuma, the chairperson of the African Union Commission. Dr. Zuma has been openly supportive to the YWCA delegation at the AU Summit, and she continues to inspire many young women in her leadership role as the first female chairperson of the African Union Commission.

We also attended the Gender is My Agenda Campaign (GIMAC) Network Meeting. Two of our young women from Tanzania and Rwanda made presentations on what leadership is. 15 year old Raisa from YWCA Tanzania impressed the audience with her in depth understanding of her rights. Hendrica Okondo from the World YWCA also contributed to the SRHR panel with reflections from the global level negotiations in New York on CSE, the HRC as well as our work with religious leaders in addressing comprehensive sexual education for girls.

Today is the last day of GIMAC, and then the delegation will finish up with a day of consultations and field visits.

The YWCA has been represented by young women and mentors from Burundi (4) Cameroon (1) Ethiopia (2) DRC(2) Ethiopia (2) Tanzania (3) Uganda (2) Rwanda (14) and the World YWCA (2). Our delegates were also active on Facebook and Twitter,  using the hashtags AUSUMMIT27, GIMAC28, Rights4women, please share and amplify the messages to your networks.