CategoriesBlog Press Release

Empowering Safely: Safe Digital Advocacy for Girls and Young Women!

Gracious Lekgoathi, an AfNHi youth cohort member and HER Voice Fund Ambassador for South Africa used her digital advocacy skills to create an impact at the Women Deliver Conference 2023. As a panelist on the topic of “Online Community Building,” she emphasized the importance of educating and investing in mental health support for girls and young women in the digital space. Gracious stressed the need for both digital and traditional advocacy to create safe and inclusive online spaces.

Screenshot 2023 07 31 at 11.20.41 She also stressed the need for both digital and traditional advocacy in order to create safe and inclusive online spaces for girls and young women. She used the digital advocacy skills she learned as part of the AFNHi youth cohort during the Youth Leadership and Advocacy programme to share her insights on creating safe and inclusive online spaces for girls and young women.

The Women Deliver Conference is a global gathering of leaders from the worlds of government, business, philanthropy, and civil society to discuss the health, rights, and well-being of girls and women. The conference was held in Kigali, Rwanda, from 16 to 20 July, 2023.

Her own experiences as a social impact digital content creator has given her a unique perspective on the power of digital media. She has seen how it can be used to raise awareness of important issues, connect with others, and build community. However, she also recognizes the potential for digital media to be used for harm. That’s why she is so passionate about using her digital advocacy skills to promote safe online spaces for girls and young women.

“We must not take for granted that girls are aware of how violence can occur online,” Lekgoathi said. “We need to educate them on their digital rights and how violence can surface online.”Screenshot 2023 07 31 at 11.20.58

Gracious also emphasized the importance of storytelling in digital advocacy. She believes that personal stories can be a powerful way to connect with others and raise awareness of important issues. “As we hold our policymakers accountable, let’s take into account that maybe they too need some of this information broken down to simpler terms for them to comprehend,” Gracious said. “This can be done through the storytelling of personal experiences.”

The AfNHi Youth Leadership and advocacy program which she is currently undergoing has provided Gracious with the skills and resources she needs to take her digital advocacy to the next level. She has so far learned how to create engaging content, build relationships with key stakeholders, and measure the impact of her work. She also gained the confidence to speak out on issues that matter to her, even when it’s difficult.

“I want to inspire girls and young women to use digital advocacy to become the best vision of themselves,” she said. “We have the power to change the world, and I believe that digital media is a powerful tool that we can use to do that.”

About the HER Voice Fund

The HER Voice Fund is a global initiative empowering adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) to advocate for their health and rights. Managed by Y+ Global, a youth-led organization promoting sexual and reproductive health, the fund uses digital advocacy through social media, online platforms, and training AGYW on digital tools to raise awareness and connect them to share experiences.

Gracious participation in the Women Deliver Conference was an important opportunity to raise awareness of the issue of violence against girls and young women online. Her digital advocacy skills helped her to reach a wide audience and to share her message of hope and empowerment. She is an inspiration to girls and young women everywhere, and her work is making a difference in the lives of those who are most vulnerable.

 

CategoriesBlog

Pride Rising: LGBTQ+ Activists Shaping Change in Kenya

In recent years, LGBTQ+ activists in Kenya and Uganda have been at the forefront of the fight for equality, challenging discriminatory laws, attitudes, and policies. While Kenya has seen successful campaigns like #TheQueerRepublic, the struggle for LGBTQ+ rights extends beyond national borders. A parallel battle is taking place in neighboring Uganda, where activists are facing significant challenges in their quest for justice and acceptance.

In December 2021, the late Professor George Magoha, who was then the Education Cabinet Secretary-Kenya, issued a directive that not only deprived queer children of quality education but also fueled negative attitudes, stigma, and discrimination against them. He stated, “Right now there are contemporary cases of children who are homosexual and lesbian, they must go to day schools close to their homes. Your responsibility as headteachers should be for the greater majority, not a few individuals. Do not allow yourself to be intimidated by children.”

These remarks by the Education Cabinet Secretary were not only harmful but also sexualized children, denying them the opportunity to receive the best education in institutions of their choice. Moreover, these comments violated the safety and protection of children. By mandating that learners perceived to be LGBTQ+ attend day schools, their education was disrupted, and they were exposed to the risk of being disowned by their families or facing attacks from homophobic members of society.

In response to this injustice, Marylize Biubwa, a black Radical and Angry queer intersectional feminist and activist initiated a petition in collaboration with allout.org. The aim of the petition was to bring about change and ensure the safety of LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly children, in Kenya. It called upon allies from Kenya and around the world, media outlets, and individuals from various backgrounds to join #TheQueerRepublic in signing the petition. The objective was to guarantee a secure and inclusive environment for kids in Kenya. You can find the petition at the following link: https://action.allout.org/en/m/78d631fb/?utm_campaign=mgp-78d631fb&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social_share- 

The petition gained momentum in January 2022, and Marylize Biubwa, along with other dedicated activists, organized a protest to voice their opposition to the Education Cabinet Secretary’s remarks and the government’s intention to ban queer children from enrolling in boarding schools. The protest was a powerful expression of unity and resilience, drawing attention to the unjust treatment of LGBT+ individuals in Kenya. It served as a powerful symbol of resistance and a call for change. https://fb.watch/lzCO1AEXZs/?mibextid=KZAQMH

The success of the protest was further solidified when the activists received official approval to conduct the demonstration. This acknowledgment not only validated their cause but also demonstrated the government’s recognition of the importance of protecting the rights of all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

As a result of the campaign’s efforts, The Queer Republic, an organization dedicated to advocating for LGBTQ+ rights, became institutionalized, providing a platform for ongoing activism and support. This story serves as a testament to the power of collective action, determination, and the unwavering belief in equality and justice. By standing together and speaking out against discrimination, the ILGBTQ+ activists and organizations in Kenya have made significant strides towards a more inclusive and accepting society.

Despite the adversity they face, LGBTQ+ activists in Uganda continue to demonstrate extraordinary courage and resilience . They strive to create safe spaces, provide support networks, and advocate for their rights against all odds. Organizations like Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) and Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF) work tirelessly to protect and amplify the voices of the LGBTQ+ community, challenging discriminatory laws and providing vital assistance to those in need.

The fight for LGBTQ+ rights in Uganda requires international solidarity and support. The global community must join forces with local activists, amplifying their voices, and pressuring governments to uphold human rights and end discrimination. Continued awareness campaigns, petitions, and diplomatic efforts are vital to create lasting change and provide hope for LGBTQ+ individuals in Uganda and East Africa community.

Sources: 

https://www.mambaonline.com/2022/01/17/kenya-lgbtq-students-protest-over-boarding-school-ban/

https://twitter.com/search?q=Fahe_K%23TheQueerRepublic&t=maGcGoyUe73l1Z2DdhW2fw&s=09

CategoriesBlog Press Release

United Nations High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage 2023

The 2023 United Nations High-Level Meeting (UN HLM) on universal health coverage (UHC)

provides countries and all stakeholders an opportunity to reinvigorate progress towards delivering health for all.  An action-oriented outcome focusing on building resilient and equitable health systems is key to provide the basis for implementation and accountability.

What is the Action Agenda from the UHC Movement?

The Action Agenda from the UHC movement is a set of action-oriented policy recommendations that country leaders should implement to strengthen resilient and equitable health systems, advance universal health coverage and health security, and deliver health for all by 2030. The UHC Action Agenda was developed by an inclusive, multi-stakeholder Task Force, which brings together twenty representatives from UHC2030 constituencies and beyond. It was informed by a public consultation which gathered 830 responses from over 100 countries. It was endorsed by the UHC2030 Steering Committee. Learn more.

Toward the High-level Meeting on UHC
The President of the UN General Assembly hosted an interactive multi-stakeholder hearing on UHC on May 9, 2023. The summary report from the hearing constitutes an official input for the drafting the Political Declaration on UHC. Intergovernmental negotiations on the Political Declaration on UHC started shortly after the hearing and should close by the end of July 2023.

 

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