Report by Hassan Joumaa, ABAAD and MenEngage Alliance Youth Representative, From the CSW Youth Forum

Click here for a PDF of Hassan Joumaa’s full report from the CSW Youth Forum, which includes a copy of the Youth CSW Declaration on Gender Equality and the Human Rights of Young Women and Girls.

Hassan Joumaa, a community outreach mobilizer for ABAAD-Resource Center for Gender Equality, a MenEngage Alliance member in Lebanon, participated in the first-ever CSW Youth Forum in March, a two-day event which brought together more than 300 young people from across the globe to share ideas on achieving gender equality around the theme ‘Advancing Agenda 2030 – Empowered Young Women and Young Men as Partners in Achieving Gender Equality’.

Hassan spoke powerfully about the critical need to engage both boys and girls in the work of gender equality from a young age: ‘The uniform voices from the young delegates highlighted the importance to work during the childhood, adolescence & youth ages which are seen as [a] “window of opportunity” to formulate positive attitudes and behaviors, including the huge opportunity to advance gender equality and Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. And also that it negates the investment, which is always expensive, to address gender inequality and violence later during the lifetime- thus having a lasting economic benefits to all.’

‘We, at ABAAD, are currently working on engaging boys and young men, especially, even if sometimes they decline some of our ideas for various reasons. But we are constantly reaching out to them with our programs and this is one of the learnings of working with boys and young men – is to enter into the space they are in rather than waiting them to come to ‘our’ spaces. Sometimes we need to meet with them for more than one time to get them into the programs/activities and to support them to understand about the importance of this issue. With this strategy and enabling and explaining them about what is the benefit for them to be involved in this discussion and connecting with their difficult life conditions, we have been able to get good results.

‘ABAAD and MenEngage Alliance are committed to keep up our programs and work on this agenda. For us this is a beginning of a new era and we need to continue having regular meetings and interactions to share our experiences and to achieve gender equality & justice for all.

‘Thank you.’