Launch of the Youth Digital Stories of Change

In April 2013, Sonke Gender Justice, the MenEngage Alliance and the UNFPA Africa regional office will be launching the first Regional Youth Stories of Change DVD, that will document the important role that young people can play in combating gender-based violence.

In Issue 4
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There has been a growing global interest in enabling youth participation in decision-making, with the African Charter placing an emphasis on the importance of youth decision-making, especially on issues pertaining to development and transformation. Acknowledging that, and whilst progress has been made at various levels since the Cairo Programme of Action in 1994, young people continue to remain marginalised from mainstream society through inequalities.

 

These inequalities, among others, include unemployment and underemployment, being infected and affected by HIV and AIDS, living in situations of poverty and hunger, experiencing illiteracy and poor quality educational systems, restricted access to health services and information, exposure to violence including gender-based violence, engaging in armed conflicts and experiencing various forms of discrimination. These issues still disproportionately affect youth, suggesting that there is an urgent need to address child rights and prioritise youth participation in decision-making processes at the local, national, and global levels.

In response to the challenges faced by young people, the MenEngage African Youth Alliance, in partnership with UNPFA Sub/Regional Africa Office and Sonke Gender Justice Network, conducted a four day Regional Digital Training Workshop on “Youth Stories of Change in addressing and responding to Gender Based Violence” on the 13th – 16th August 2012, in Cape Town South Africa. The workshop allowed a platform for young people across the Africa region to share and showcase their personal stories on what motivates them as activists against gender-based violence, and to highlight their reasons for being involved in responding to and reducing gender-based violence across the Africa Region.

The overall objective of the Regional Digital Training Workshop was to promote and document young people’s stories of change – particularly young men – and of working towards preventing gender-based violence and promoting gender equality. By sharing their stories, youth who attended the event were able to inspire each other, build networks, and feel empowered about their own capacity to change their communities and combat gender-based violence. The MenEngage Network will now go on to use the youth’s Digital Stories to inspire and equip other youth to develop skills, take action and also be agents of change.

by Nkonzo Khanyile