UN Women as a platform for the youth (WACRIA)

On September 14, 2017, UN Women organized a panel discussion named “Brown Bag Panel Discussion on Youth-led Organization WACRIA” to present an NGO/Platform known as WACRIA created by young Africans from the University of Albany. The panel was moderated by Tolulope Tamoka-Lewis, UN Women Programmes, Africa, the participants from WACRIA were Jennifer Abu, Jonathan Abu, Michelle Wafo and UN Youth Partnership Analyst, Allyson Humphrey. Gender equality is a priority for many organizations as one of the top SDGs. The youth have been taking this cause into their own hands by creating platforms to discuss ways in which solutions can be found. Through a youth program created by UN Women, “Youth leap into gender equality,” UN Women is working towar
ds the 2030 agenda on gender equality by involving the youth because they make up the majority of the world population today.

Women and Children’s Right in Africa (WACRIA) is an NGO advocating for the furtherance of the rights and societal status of women and children in Africa and the African Diaspora. Jennifer Abu is a young Nigerian woman who, sadden by the Chibok girls kidnapping in the Borno State, Nigeria, decided that actions speak louder than words. Instead of just complaining about the lack of protection for young girls, she, along with some of her classmates from the University of Albany created W

The three areas WACRIA is mostly focused on are the Economic Development and Stability of women: teaching women how to become more responsible with their money and plan for the future; Politics and Leadership: showing the women and girls that the opportunities are not limited to men and that they as well can work hard and obtain leadership positions; and finally Ending Gender Violence: by creating a safe place for the girls to speak and express their feelings on what goes on in their communities. The primary campaign that they will pursue before the end of the year, is a hygiene campaign in Nigeria. In this campaign, they will teach the girls how to maintain a clean body, as well as partner with a company that will distribute disposable pads. They also mentioned that they want to work in partnership with the local organizations, because the people on the ground know best their needs and the ways to approach the local populations.    

One of the details that struck me the most about WACRIA was the fact that there was a young man who was an important member or the team, Jonathan Abu who is WACRIA’s senior advisor. Jennifer Abu’s father as well was present during the panel supporting her and believing in this cause. In today’s world, it is important for the men from all age groups, from the young Jonathan to Jennifer’s father, to participate and fight alongside women to end gender inequalities. Hearing Jonathan speak reminded me of the He for She campaign by UN Women. The main difference that WACRIA has from many other small NGOs is that they are not only an NGO but also a platform for young Africans around the world to exchange and share their ideas and research with one another. It is through the exchanges that actions and change can be brought.  

This panel was my first event I attended as an intern, and it confirmed why I am doing this internship. People recognize that there are issues and take actions. It is very encouraging to see an important platform such as UN Women to give space for the youth to share their accomplishments and give them advice on how to continue and grow their projects.

For more informations on WACRIA and UN Women:

WACRIA website

UN Women Youth leap into gender equality