What images come to mind when you think of a disaster? Search and rescue teams pulling people from the rubble? Relief camps filled with displaced families receiving aid from international organizations? These are the typical images we see in the media. However, they misrepresent the reality that the vast majority of people are rescued and helped by their fellow community members after a disaster.
On the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, the UN pays homage to the victims of hunger and social exclusion to encourage multilateral partnerships that are based on solid, compassionate responses to their struggles. Poverty has numerous repercussions: hunger and food insecurity, increased crime and child mortality rates, political instability, corruption and dysfunctional governance. We are seeing now that poverty is a prime driver of violent extremism, breeding and intensifying conflicts worldwide.
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.
Volunteerism can widen spaces for voice and action within the development process, including for young women and girls. An expert panel discussion, organized by the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme on the margins of the 59th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW59), explored the role of volunteerism in enhancing the accountability of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and advance gender equality.
On the right bank of the Congo River in Kisangani, thirteen women weed and plough a piece of land that you can see from the road. Small rows of all kinds of vegetables have been planted side by side - eggplants, green beans, tomatoes, cabbage, amaranth, and sweet potatoes, among many others.
Solomon Ayiko (Canada), a UNV Recovery, Reintegration & Peace Building Officer assigned to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is convinced that increasing womens representation in post-conflict peace- and state-building is essential to achieving success in the process.
Its through cohesion and intense consultation of both women and men that the peacebuilding and state building process can see hope for legitimacy and progress, said Solomon.
With a quiet focus, Hateme Krasniqi, an Ashkali woman in her mid-30s, keeps her eyes trained on the tip of her pencil as she carefully draws one letter after another to spell out her first name: HATEME. Today, bundled up in her winter coat while a chilly drizzle rains down outside. Hatemes hands are cold and red but increasingly well-practiced in writing her name. But this is something very new and very exciting for this mother of six from the marginalized Ashkali quarter of Fushe Kosove, Kosovo.
Equality for women is progress for all." Today, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme joins in the global celebration of this compelling theme for International Womens Day. We know that development can neither be equitable nor sustainable as long as women are disproportionately affected by poverty, have lower access to education or health care, and continue to suffer social, cultural and political constraints.