Three national UN Volunteers are working to empower adolescent girls by raising awareness amongst adolescents, their families and local authorities on women’s rights, and addressing issues such as early marriage, sexuality and violence against women. Their work contributes to the Saqilaj B’e Joint Programme (JP) implemented by UN Women, PAHO/WHO, UNESCO, UNFPA and UNICEF, together with the Government of Guatemala.
Ramallah, State of Palestine: "Adolescents can be powerful agents of change in communities," says Chizuru Iwata, an international UN Volunteer from Japan, who worked with UNICEF as a UNV Adolescent Participation Officer in the State of Palestine.
Her volunteer assignment was by no means in an easy environment. A 51-day Israeli military operation in July and August 2014, according to United Nations reports, left several thousand people dead, many of whom were children, and over 10,000 injured. It destroyed and damaged homes, leaving tens of thousands homeless.
Guatemala City, Guatemala: Guatemala is a young country. According to data provided by the National Statistical Institute, one fourth of the Guatemalan population is younger than 18 years old and one half is between 10 to 30 years of age. Most Guatemalan adolescents live in rural areas, and belonging to one of the ethnic indigenous groups makes them even more vulnerable given the discriminatory practices still existing in the country.