Young Women and the Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations recently hosted its inaugural yearly training on how young women leaders can realise their aspirations through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The training took place in Maputo, Mozambique’s capital, from 17 July through 2 August.

Lebohang Makobane, a junior researcher in EPD, was part of this talented group of 24 trainees mainly from Africa and Latin America. Chapters of The Grail, a global non-governmental organization which forms part of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, was responsible for recruiting participants.

The Young Women Leadership Training 2018 (YWLT) uses a participatory information sharing and training model. In addition to mentors explaining how the SDGs can better the lives of young women, this training also prepares participants for annual UN Conventions. Mentors showed that the SDGs form a powerful framework for change in local communities. More importantly, this forum creates a space for participants to learn from each other about what they do or can do in their respective countries to realise their own aspirations.

Presentations highlighted the proactive roles of young women in human rights advocacy across several domains. Examples of this grassroots activism ranged from reproductive health projects, migrants & refugee human rights work to social & economic research based projects. Women are not only burdened by adverse macroeconomic policies but defeating the feminisation of poverty requires the empowered voices and actions of women. The need for women to do more community development interventions, sometimes outside their professional work streams came out strongly, as it inspires women all over the world to improve their living conditions. Young women have the potential to be inspirational catalysts for societal progress.

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