Young Women Speak Out for Conflict Prevention and Sustainable Peace

Young Women Speak Out for Conflict Prevention and Sustainable Peace

Young Women Speak Out for Conflict Prevention and Sustainable Peace

October 11, 2018 by Katrina Leclerc*

From an early age, girls in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Sudan and many other countries are told: “You are only girls.” Yet, a new generation of young women leaders has emerged, and they are taking a stand against discrimination, they promote women’s rights and gender equality, build peace and prevent violent conflicts. At the intersection of Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) and Women, Peace and Security (WPS) are young women, yet they suffer double discrimination as being young and women. It is crucial to acknowledge and include the diversity of voices, and address the diversity of needs, both within the WPS and YPS agendas.

This year on the International Day of the Girl Child, the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) along with its partners celebrate the agency and leadership of young women in conflict prevention and achieving sustainable peace. Later this month, on October 26, 2018, GNWP with UN Women, UNFPA, the Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO), and Permanent Missions to the UN are thrilled to be hosting a panel discussion on the sidelines of the Security Council’s Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security.

We will be featuring voices from DRC, the Philippines, South Sudan, Finland, Canada, and Latin America – working together to build a network of solidarity among young women peace leaders. On the occasion, we will be showcasing the following three objectives:

1. Launch the Young Women Peace and Security Background Paper and discuss the persistent challenges faced and opportunities for young women and girls living in conflict-affected areas;

2. Highlight young women’s contributions to peacebuilding, preventing violent extremism, sexual violence and sustaining peace globally and bringing the voices into the global policy discussions around the Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security and the Anniversary of UNSCR 1325, and ensure that their leadership is recognized;

3. Generate support for young women peacebuilders initiatives including Young Women for Peace and Leadership (YWPL) to ensure continued operation and strengthen their positive impact.

The Young Women for Peace and Leadership (formerly known as the Girl Ambassadors for Peace) is coordinated by GNWP and local partners in the DRC, South Sudan, Indonesia and the Philippines; the program will be launch in Bangladesh later this month. On September 27, 2018, GNWP co-hosted a civil society roundtable with the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund (WPHF) for Global Advocates Kristen Bell and Louane. The Young Women for Peace and Leadership were represented by the Program Coordinator, Katrina Leclerc, and Program Officer, Mallika Iyer, who highlighted the successes of the program in Africa and Asia. Among these, it was shared that the Young Women in DRC alone had reached over 2,000 other young women in their literacy, leadership, peacebuilding, and economic empowerment training. Since 2015, they have raised the profile of young women and girls and brought issues of sexualized violence at the forefront of peacebuilding work. The YWPL continue to be a beacon of hope and a strong voice against violence within their regions.

Join the Young Women for Peace and Leadership on October 26, 2018, from 10 am to noon at the 8th floor of the UN Church Center (777 United Nations Plaza, New York) or tune in on Facebook Live to celebrate the voices of young women leaders!


*For more information on the October 26, 2018 launch event or the YWPL program, follow the YWPL on Facebook or contact