UN outreach empowers girls
The United Nations (UN) System in Namibia launched “Prosperous Paths,” a unique educational outreach programme targeting young girls in Namibia, last week.
The objective of the programme is to reach out to young girls at secondary school level and educate them on gender equality, women’s empowerment as well as offer mentouring opportunities to enhance the status of the girl child in Namibia.
The launch of the programme took place at Jacob Marengo Tutorial College last week, where 600 young girls were addressed by the UN Resident Coordinator in Namibia, Kiki Gbeho. She encouraged the young girls to “take space, be prepared and dare to be different.” She also called upon them to take their seat at the table, “now is the time to step it up.”
“In Namibia, unfortunately, 33% of all married women aged 15- 49 have experienced physical, sexual, and/ or emotional violence from their spouse and have also suffered one or more physical injuries. A total of 28% of women and 22% of men aged 15-49 justified beating as an acceptable way for a husband to discipline his wife (NDHS: 2013). Although there is still a tremendous amount of work to be done, Namibia has made progress in gender equality and in eradicating GBV,” she said.
The launch event of “Prosperous Paths” will be the first in a series of similar interactions, where the top executives of UN Agencies in Namibia will utilize the platform for public education. Their presentations will focus on leadership, vocations and ideas on closing the gender gap, in order to raise the profile of young women in Namibia to become leaders in any field of study, economic sector and institution. Some of the topics to be covered include: gender justice, reproductive rights, girls and leadership, poverty, health, educational and career opportunities for women and girls.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by UN Member States in September 2015 is a universal roadmap for people and planet, addressing the key challenges of the 21st century, such as poverty, inequality, and climate change. Women’s empowerment is recognized as a pre-condition to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the core of the 2030 Agenda.
As part of implementation efforts, UN Women adopted “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step it up for Gender Equality,” a campaign that asks governments to make national commitments to address the challenges that are holding women and girls back from reaching their full potential. Empowering women and girls is central to achieving the SDGs.
Students will be encouraged to tweet using #ProsperousPath to highlight where they want to go with their careers, the questions they have about leadership and challenges they face as women. This social media campaign will act as a digital mentorship programme in which the UN System will continue to interact with students after the presentation.