From the 9th - 18th March, Youth For Change attended sixtieth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW60) at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. We were there to fight for gender equality, and push for young people to be involved in decision making at every stage. Find out how it went and what we achieved...
CSW Youth Forum
CSW60 Youth Forum was good interaction with youth delegates from across the world, sharing experiences, amplify youth voices and promote young people’s needs. Over the course of of two days we had many discussions on youth issues with high profile delegates like the Director of UN Women, YWCA, Equality Now, Chair of CSW His Excellency Brazillian Ambassador and many others.
It was an invaluable opportunity for Youth For Change to share our insights and experiences. During the Youth Forum we joined several working groups, sharing our expertise and providing recommendations on how to address the issues we focus on – Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and child & early forced marriage (CEFM).
CSW Youth Forum Drafting Committee
Youth For Change also sat on the Drafting Committee for the Youth Forum outcome statement. The challenge was to compile recommendations of youth delegates to make a youth declaration. We used this opportunity to give out our suggestions as well on the issues of CEFM& FGM, and youth engagement in general in the implementation of the SDGs. We’re happy to say we achieved our goal, and the first draft had clear provisions addressing CEFM and FGM.
Audience with high-level Tanzanian officials
Athuman had the privilege to have the audience with the Permanent Representative of Tanzania to the U.N., His Excellency Ambassador Tuvako Mnongi, who connected him to the Ummy Ally Mwalimu, the Tanzanian Minister of Health, Community Development, Gender, Seniors and Children.
It was great moment to put forward the Tanzania Team’s concerns prevailing in the country. The Minister appreciated the work Youth For Change are doing and committed to implement some of the suggestions put forward. In an upcoming Parliamentary session in September she plans to table the Bill to amend the Law of Marriage Act 1971, to raise the age of marriage and protecting girls and young women. She invited Youth For Change Tanzania to her office to talk more about how we are going to address these issues. It was a great success to have an audience with these two officials.
High-level meeting with the UK's Baroness Verma
Youth For Change also managed to have an audience of Baroness Verma, the UK Ministerial Champion for Ending Violence Against Women Overseas. Harry was able to chair the discussion with her, and shared our countries experiences of these problems making suggestions around what she can do to persuade other governments to address these issues.
Among our recommendations were the need to have institutional spaces for young people in decision making process so that their voice can be heard and second, the reformation of laws to raise the age for marriage to girls up to 18 as a minimum, and making the law simple and accessible for young people to understand.
Overall, CSW60 was a big success for Youth For Change. Throughout our stay in New York, we were able to connect with many young people, government delegates and NGO representatives to promote the work of Youth For Change.
It was amazing to be surrounded by people who have the same heart, goal and vision to make ‘Planet 50-50 by 2030’ a reality. Not only that, but there was a common understanding that this aspiration will never become a reality if you don't include youth. We plan to maintain the momentum from CSW60, and keep fighting for a better world for women, girls and young people.