SDG 5: Gender equality
This year, International Women’s Day comes on the heels of an unprecedented global movement for women’s rights, equality and justice. Echoing the priority theme of the upcoming 62nd session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, International Women’s Day draws attention to the rights and activism of rural women, who make up over a quarter of the world population, and are being left behind in every measure of development.
They came to share their experiences, learn from each other and build a network of colleagues and friends to help them overcome the many difficulties they face in challenging contexts like Mali, the Democratic Republic of thr Congo, Liberia and elsewhere.
The community radio project helps improve access to information and public services for marginalized rural communities. The radio stations are entirely run by volunteers from the communities, a diverse bunch of inspired, mostly young people, eager to learn and contribute their time and energy. They know the communities, people and various ethnic languages.
Living in Pakistan since September 2015 has truly been an eye-opener. In a developing country where most of the population are youth, I have seen first-hand how we in the UN can actively influence young people to realize the benefits of women’s empowerment and give equal opportunities to women and girls. As a UN Volunteer, I encourage people to take action.
UN Women and UN Volunteers launched a community-focused radio project in Quetta, Pakistan, in 2017. The aim of this project was to empower women through community focused-radio and volunteerism. It engaged marginalized women and youth in two towns, and established establish community-based radio programmes for entertainment, information and education purposes.
"Voices Against Violence" in Togo is an $85,000 USD project that was funded and implemented by the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme between October 2016 and April 2017. The project is based on an informal education program developed by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts and UN Women. It aims to fight against gender-based violence by raising the awareness of young secondary students about the root causes of violence, ways to prevent it, and finding solutions.
The Gender Based Violence Sub Cluster Report from West and Central African countries facing armed conflict revealed that the prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence has drastically increased since the last report in 2016. It is in this line that we jointly organized, in 2017, a regional capacity building workshop on gender mainstreaming, prevention and response to Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in emergency and humanitarian settings in Dakar, Senegal.
According to a recent Oxfam study conducted in six districts in Tajikistan, 96.5% of men interviewed and 71.5% of women consider that women must tolerate violence for the benefit of the family. Needless to say, when I first read this report, only a couple of weeks after I began my assignment, I was shocked by these statistics.
Within the first three weeks after the earthquake, UNV mobilized five UN Volunteers to immediately support the work of UN agencies after the earthquake. The rest of UN Volunteers were deployed during the three months after the disaster. They all worked directly with the communities and the people who suffered the devastation of the earthquake, focusing mainly on reaching families, especially women and children who lost not only their homes but also their livelihoods, helping build their capacity and supporting strategies for economic empowerment.
Women volunteered in Chandragiri, Kathmandu and demonstrated their vital role with their implementation of non-structural earthquake mitigation measures. As part of the USAID/OFDA funded programme Frontline, the residents in Chandragiri identified earthquakes as the top threat in the community, and non-structural mitigation as one of the priority actions to be implemented.