Funding to promote gender equality, youth leadership

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Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls Natasha Stott Despoj.

Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls Natasha Stott Despoj.

The Australian Government and The Royal Commonwealth Society (R.C.S) have announced new funding to promote youth leadership and gender equality in the Commonwealth. 

The announcement was made by Natasha Stott Despoja, Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls at the 11th Commonwealth Women’s Ministerial Meeting (W.A.M.M) at Taumeasina Resort which ended last night.

A portion of the A$340,000 (T$612,000) funding from the Australian Government will be used by the R.C.S to train young Commonwealth citizens as skilled advocates for gender equality in local, national and international politics. The R.C.S will also conduct research into young peoples’ experiences of gender based violence and how young people can effectively address the issue. 

Much of this work will be carried out through the Commonwealth Youth Gender and Equality Network (C.Y.G.E.N), convened and supported by the R.C.S. 

The R.C.S has supported members of the C.Y.G.E.N network from all five regions of the Commonwealth to participate in three major international gender equality events in the past year – the Women’s Summit at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2015 in Malta, the UN’s Youth Commission on the Status of Women in New York in March and the Women Leaders’ Summit at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London in July. 

Addressing the event at W.A.M.M, Natasha Stott Despoja, Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls, said: “Australia is a strong supporter of the empowerment and agency of young people. I am proud that Australian funding is enabling members of C.Y.G.E.N to add a youth voice to contemporary discussions and decision-making. No community, country or organisation can reach its full potential without drawing on the ideas and talent of its youth.”

Michael Lake CBE, Director of the R.C.S, said: “The Royal Commonwealth Society is tremendously proud to be embarking on this next phase of important work in partnership with the Government of Australia to empower young people and make strides in realising gender equality right across the Commonwealth.”

Tahere Siisiialafia, C.Y.G.E.N’s Representative for Samoa said: “Our voices as young people have the greatest potential to combat the damaging effects of gender prejudice and raise aloft the emancipation of women. This funding opportunity is a material means that could assist in channelling the voices of young people to be inclusive within planning, decision making and implementation on gender equality across all levels”.

This is the second phase of funding provided by the Australian Government to support the C.Y.G.E.N initiative, bringing Australia’s contribution to A$620,000.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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