In November 2018, young women from nine YWCAs in the Asia and Pacific Region met for a meeting on Rise Up! Transformative Leadership Evaluation. Having successfully completed Phase III of the Mobilising Young Women’s Leadership and Advocacy (MYWLA) project, funded by the Australian Government, young women coordinators from the Solomon Islands, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Nepal, India, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka met in Bangkok. The YWCA of Thailand hosted a one-week meeting, creating opportunities to share leadership journeys, assess progress, compare experiences, and reflect on how to expand the diversity of young women’s leadership in our movement.
The Rise Up! Guide for Young Women’s Transformative Leadership project has generated growing demand from communities, local YWCAs, and both new and established partnerships with civil society organizations and government agencies to invest in young women. YWCAs are working closely with schools, health services, and local and international NGOs to ensure that young women and girls have knowledge about and the ability to exercise their Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and to challenge violence against women and girls.
Facilitators from the World YWCA, Monash University and the Pacific region collaborated and used feminist participatory methods to understand the holistic leadership experiences that have come about as a result of Rise Up!. Thus far Monash University identifies the characteristics and achievements of the MYWLA program as collaborative, collective, and transformative. The unique processes used by YWCAs are based on knowing your human rights, making change together in Safe Spaces, and strengthening peer, shared and intergenerational leadership for transformational change.