Young women demand economic opportunities

gnwp

Young women demand economic opportunities

June 18, 2018 by Katrina Leclerc*

Speaking at the World Trade Organization’s Global Forum on Inclusive Trade for Least-Developed Countries in Geneva on June 13-14, Noëlla Muhamiriza and Ariane Moza, Girl Ambassadors for Peace from South Kivu, urged the international community to help young women to become economically independent.

The GA4P members emphasized: “To achieve strong economies in the least developed countries, we must build stronger communities; individuals who are being empowered locally to trade internationally. The GA4P program trains young women to become leaders and literacy teachers in their communities. This year, the GA4P program also provided training on entrepreneurship, job skills and life skills to young women.

Noëlla and Ariane addressed the following questions at the forum: Why is trade and economic empowerment important?

Their response: “There is no better way to give women and youth their voice than by creating pathways to economic independence. For so many women, poverty and lack of education are the main reasons why there is a perpetual cycle of violation of their basics rights.

In the least developed countries, where populations live under corrupted justice systems, being economically independent reduces their vulnerability and enables them to fight injustices more strongly, it guarantees the right to have a voice and advocacy.

Studies have found that, the more women are in decision-making positions, the better the country does, both in terms of country security and protection but also economic growth, especially in the least developed countries. This can only be achieved when women have a level of economic autonomy and stability. There is no power to women in least developed countries without economic empowerment, where the justice system is absent, money does ‘the talk.’”

How can we support youth in seeking employment?

Ariane and Noëlla highlighted the need for more opportunities for young people. Noëlla added, “this is one of the most empowering things to do and that starts with representation. Having been invited to panel like this is an incredible inspiration to so many young people in DRC and surrounding diaspora communities. After I spoke at another event –the OECD Global Forum- I many young people contacted me to express how much my experience has encouraged them to dream bigger and to reach out for opportunities.”

It’s not enough to imagine jobs for youth without involving them at all levels, mentoring them, teaching them. Among the attendees of this forum are representatives of great organizations, governments and leaders from different spheres of influence, therefore you can all have an impact in creating economic opportunities for young people, especially young women.

To ensure young women’s economic empowerment, Ariane and Noëlla recommended the following:

1. Skills-building: Invest in skills-building opportunities for young people, whether it be in school curricula or in informal settings, young women need skills in different areas.

2. Internships & job readiness: In order for young women to take their place in society, we need to provide meaningful job opportunities and training. They need to undergo culturally-relevant training and experience for job readiness.

3. Economic opportunities, enabling and maintaining: The international community needs to provide sustainable economic opportunities for youth.

For more information or to watch the Forum’s sessions: https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/devel_e/teccop_e/eifglobalforum18_e.htm

Noëlla and Ariane are among the 200+ participants of the Girl Ambassadors for Peace program of the GNWP. It consists of literacy and numeracy; leadership; peacebuilding through the use of media and theater; and economic empowerment. Currently, the program is operational in South-Kivu and North-Kivu, DRC, in South Sudan and Rhino Camp in West Nile, Uganda, Central Sulawesi and East Java, Indonesia, and starting soon in Cox’s Bazar and Chittagong, Bangladesh.

The Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) is proud to enable the participation of Girl Ambassadors for Peace members in international forums and policy spaces. GNWP strongly believes in young women’s potentials and capacity to advocate for concrete action for the implementation of the women and peace, and security agenda; and promotion of women’s rights and gender equality overall.

*Katrina Leclerc is GNWP’s Girl Ambassadors for Peace Program Coordinator, for more information about the program please contact: katrina@gnwp.org