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Engaging ASEAN youth in gender initiatives

Update: October, 10/2018 - 17:44
Youth representatives from ASEAN countries participated in the event. — Photo Courtesy of the UN Women
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Youth representatives from ASEAN countries, together with 100 other young people from Việt Nam, on Wednesday participated in the “Gender Dialogues: Engaging ASEAN Youth in Gender Initiatives” course at the Green One UN House in Hà Nội.

The event highlighted the potential for youth engagement to generate social change for gender equality and the empowerment of women at both regional and national levels

The dialogue concluded a five-day participatory “Training of Trainers: Change Makers - Youth Activists for Gender Equality” which concluded yesterday.

The core material used for the training was the UN Women’s The Change Makers, a toolkit for young activists to end violence against women and girls.

The training was jointly organised by the Centre for Sustainable Development Studies (CSDS), UN Women Việt Nam and the Việt Nam Volunteer Centre (VVC), with the support of the Mission of Canada to ASEAN.

Mohd Faizul Ilham Ibrahim, one of two youth representatives from Brunei, said: “This is one of the most comprehensive training [courses] on gender equality I have ever participated in. It offered us practical experience on top of theory, giving the young participants a broad understanding of gender issues and the challenges that hinder progression in gender equality.”

“I will return to Brunei fully-equipped to share this knowledge with people around me and advocate for actions in my own community,” said Mohd.

The ASEAN Regional Plan of Action on the Elimination of Violence against Women (ASEAN RPA on EVAW) highlights the importance of youth engagement as a means of generating social change for gender equality and the empowerment of women at both regional and national levels. Echoing this spirit, the course aimed to engage youth at the regional level to contribute and lead the efforts to address and take action to alleviate gender inequality and gender-based violence in ASEAN countries.

In the “Gender Dialogues: Engaging ASEAN Youth in Gender Initiatives,” 20 representatives from ASEAN countries and more than 100 Vietnamese youngsters together with international and local experts participated in a dialogue about the challenges and solutions to achieving gender equality in ASEAN by 2030.

Following the dialogue, the group of ASEAN Youth for Gender Equality released a joint statement in an effort to mobilise both individual and ASEAN-wide support for gender equality.

“We are happy that some youths participating in this dialogue have already identified themselves as change makers after the Change Makers training over the last few days,” said Elisa Fernandez, Head of Office at UN Women Việt Nam.

“I encourage you to maintain these spirits beyond today and throughout your lives, and hope you are inspired to continue by targeting your peers in rural and urban settings, proposing campus safety measures to school authorities, and advocating for gender mainstreaming in school policies,” she said.

Đôn Tuấn Phương, director of the CSDS, said: “We believe that youths are capable of driving change with their creativity and passion. Once connected, they can learn and share quickly, and they can inspire each other and their respective communities in the pursuit of a mutual goal.”

Đỗ Thị Kim Hoa, director of the VVC, said: “We are glad to see the recognition of the central role volunteers play, especially young volunteers, in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It’s great that young people from 10 ASEAN countries have gathered in Việt Nam to promote gender equality initiatives in the region.”

The programme also provided small grants to help participants share the knowledge they gained through the training with their peers and initiate campaigns or projects in their local communities.

Following the course, at least 12 projects will be undertaken in communities in ASEAN countries with financial and technical support from the organisers to tackle the issue of gender inequality.  

The dialogue is a foundation for creating and maintaining a network of changemakers, and youth activists for gender equality in the ASEAN region, and beginning a collective awareness-raising campaign in the region which will promote gender equality and youth engagement in the issue. — VNS




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