Global development agendas are key to ensuring that all development efforts are aiming towards the same goals and targets, bringing together a coalition of actors in order to address some of our world’s most pertinent development issues. In 2015 the Millennium Development Goals came to the end of their term and replacing them is the post-2015 agenda; the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Made up of 17 targets to achieve global development by 2030, this new agenda aims to address and incorporate the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. They are applicable to all countries, developed and developing alike.
Although we have posted about the SDGs in the past, today we want to bring your attention to a specific goal. Coming in at number five, the goal to achieve gender equality and empower women and girls everywhere is especially important to us as we celebrate International Woman’s Day (IWD) here at D2D. On March 8th 2016, men and women, boys and girls, come together everywhere to celebrate the economic, social and political achievements of women all over the world. Each year IWD fosters a theme which the global community raise awareness about. This year in particular, the theme has been an interesting concept. Chosen in order to consider how we can help accelerate and build momentum for the effective implementation of the new SDGs, the Pledge for Parity IWD event gained international media attention for aligning with the SDGs.
So, what is pledging for parity? IWD (2016) say that men and women can pledge to take a concrete step to help achieve gender parity whether to help women and girls achieve their ambitions, call for gender-balanced leadership or root out work based bias. Each of us can be a leader within our own spheres of influence and commit to take action to accelerate gender parity. When discussing this theme with our female sponsored youth, we decided to do just that… Be the leaders within our own spheres of influence!
As part of our Female Youth Empowerment Program, all senior sponsored girls take part in a weekly meeting at Girls Club, a club set up to support their education and personal development in a safe and encouraging environment. To celebrate IWD this year, we decided to create our own theme based around education, which also aligns with another SDG: Goal 4, Ensuring inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning. On Saturday 12th March we spent the afternoon celebrating with different activities around the theme of girls and education and we want to tell you all about it!
In the run up to IWD, the girls prepared by making posters around the idea of ‘I love being a girl because…’ to display around our venue. They also decided to create some role plays portraying issues that girls around the world face today. Some plays included child marriage and gender discrimination. Individuals also prepared poems about education and the best things about being a girl.
When it was time for our celebration day, we first played some fun games together to get excited. After a short speech by our Girls Club Coordinator Ponelo about IWD and the importance of equal access to education, we kicked off our afternoon by watching two short films about girl child education. After watching each clip, girls got into groups to discuss what they had watched, and come up with some questions. After some time considering the short films, we opened up any questions to our panel of university graduates. The questions asked led us to discuss important themes and ideas centred around access to education. After an hour of discussions, Girls Club showcased their talents by reciting their poems and acting out their plays.
Our celebrations were a great success, and we are happy to play a part in pledging for gender parity. Although the achievement of the SDGs are a long way off, with every little initiative like this one, we can work together to create a better future for ourselves and the next generation of young people. A big thankyou to the graduates who made up the panel and to all the girls who came to take part.
Tawonga chomene (We thank you)!