April 10, 2018 by Katrina Leclerc*
On April 5th, 2018, the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders’ Girl Ambassador for Peace, Noella Muhamiriza, traveled to Paris, France for the 2018 Global Forum on Development hosted by the OECD.
“Words cannot describe the amount of excitement I felt on the morning of April 5th while getting ready for the big forum. It was a mix of nerves, but also excitement as I was ready to go speak and carry the voices of thousands of girls who I represent,” says Noella.
Alongside Her Excellency First Lady of Afghanistan Rula Ghani, Her Royal Highness Princess Abze Djigma of Burkina Faso, Ms. Carin Jämtin, Director General of Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, and Ms. Kawinzi Muiu, Director for Gender of UN World Food Programme, Noella shared her experiences about young women’s participation in peacebuilding in conflict-affected areas.
Noella reflects: “I was the youngest member of the panel, which is very essential because representation is key. We need participants from youth and other age brackets at the same table to learn but also to be inspired from one another, especially in a forum like this which focuses on the role of women and youth in bringing about global change.”
Noella had three clear calls-to-action for members of the international community:
1. Funding: Funding for peace needs to be sustainable and long-term. Programs for young women peacebuilders cannot be funded simply as projects;
2. Education: We need to invest in peace and gender-sensitive education for men and boys. Gender mainstreaming in school curricula is crucial for the Women, Peace and Security Agenda; and,
3. Local Contexts: Peacebuilding curricula and initiatives need to be translated into local languages. We need local actors to implement and translate the work on the ground.
She adds, “I also had a chance to record an interview with Radio France Internationale and I’m hoping it will reach many young people – because stories matter. My social media accounts were flooded by young people expressing their joy as they felt represented by my presence at this Forum.”
GNWP is proud to enhance young women’s voices and offer them a platform through its Girl Ambassadors for Peace program. We strongly believe in the presence of young women in decision-making and policy-making spaces; they are indeed not the leaders of tomorrow but the leaders of today. Empowerment and capacity-building of young women in conflict-affected areas is essential to conflict prevention and inclusive peacebuilding and the promotion of human rights across the globe.
“I am so thankful for this opportunity to represent GNWP’s Girl Ambassadors for Peace in this global arena. I am already planning how to share my experience with young women in the coming weeks.”
Noella is one of the 200+ participants of the Girl Ambassadors for Peace program, GNWP’s program consist of 1) Literacy and numeracy; 2) Leadership; 3) Capacity-Building; 4) Use of Media and Theater for Peace; and, 5) Economic Empowerment. Currently, the program is operational in South-Kivu and North-Kivu, DRC, in South Sudan and Rhino Camp in West Nile, Uganda, in Lamongan and Poso, East Java, Indonesia, and starting soon in Cox’s Bazar and Chittagong, Bangladesh.
Want to hear Noella’s presentation? It is available online at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74Aw6ptNbtI
*Katrina Leclerc is GNWP’s Girl Ambassadors for Peace Program Coordinator, for more information about the program please contact: email@example.com