As part of ‘Prosperous Paths’ which aims at empowering 5,000 girls, the United Nations (UN) System in Namibia educated 600 female secondary school learners at Academia High School about gender equality and encouraged them to promote the aims of the fifth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG).
On Tuesday 5 July 2016, Ms. Anthea Basson, the National Information Officer to Namibia, welcomed the highly motivated crowd and introduced them to the scope and commitments of the United Nations worldwide, while also emphasizing the ultimate objectives and duties of the UN System for the Namibian society.
Throughout a short and informative slideshow, the students were educated on the United Nations efforts to “end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.”
The students learned that in order to turn these visions into reality, world leaders have defined and adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs), which provides concrete guidance and targets to all countries in achieving these visions. Ms. Basson emphasized the importance of Goal 5 of the SDGs, namely the aim to reach gender equality and empower women to step it up and make their voices heard.
The discussion touched on three core issues, namely gender-based violence, the high prevalence of HIV and AIDS among women and female leadership and political representation. The learners shared their personal testimonies of GBV and abuse, raising important questions about how and where to seek help.
According to research provided by the World Health Organization (WHO; 2016) about 70% of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime. Further it has been found that women who have been abused by their partners are more than twice as likely to have an abortion, twice as likely to experience depression and 1.5 times more likely to acquire HIV, as compared to women who have not experienced partner violence.
The students were alarmed when confronted with statistics on the persisting gender inequalities as well as the impact of GBV and HIV infection on the lives of many women across the globe. They were inspired to bring about change along their future prosperous paths.
The Prosperous Paths outreach, which aims at educating 5,000 girls about gender inequality and empowering them to follow their dreams and bring about change, will continue throughout the month.