One of our Global Youth Ambassadors tells of his trip to Canada to take part in the announcement of the Women Deliver Conference in Vancouver in 2019.
I was very excited when I received an email from the Women Deliver head office in New York City.
It was asking me to join Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Katja Iversen, CEO/President of Women Deliver, to symbolically announce Canada as host of the Women Deliver Conference in Vancouver in 2019.
We were joined by Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and the La Francophonie, and Maryam Monsef, Minister of the Status of Women, and Madame Sophie Gregoire.
The event, which took place at The Famous Five Monument located on the ground of Parliament Hill in Ottawa, brought together close to 100 representatives from civil society, businesses, arts institute and the First Nations.
There was no better place to hold this event other than the Famous Five - a group of five Alberta Women who fought tirelessly to have Canadian women recognised constitutionally as “persons”.
They were unwavering advocates for Canada’s women and girls who believed women should participate equally in society and paved the way for progress through generations to come.
This groundbreaking conference will bring together over 6000 world leaders, influencers, advocates, academics, activists and journalists and young people from more than 150 countries - to showcase what it means and how it works when girls and women become the focus of development efforts.
As a Women Deliver Young Leader, I had the opportunity to attend the last Women Deliver conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2016. It brought together close to 1200 young people and focused on how to implement the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals in a way that most benefits girls and women.http://www.wvi.org/niger
As Canada hosts the next Women Deliver conference, I feel even more empowered as this sends a clear message not just to Canadians but to the world about Canada’s strong commitment to empowering women and girls and promoting gender equality.
As I listened to this announcement, it brought back memories of my time working for a WHO/World Vision Niger-funded programme.
There I came across many young girls including “Aminata” - married at 13 and who had been stripped of her basic human rights as a girl and denied an education. Through this announcement she sees hope, a better future, a friend and a partner in Canada’s leadership.
In addition to hosting the 2019 Women Deliver conference, the Prime Minister announced a $20 million assistance from 2017 to 2020 to support Women Deliver programmes aimed at promoting the health, rights, and wellbeing of women and girls, with a focus on their sexual and reproductive health and rights
Trudeau said: “Everyone benefits from a more gender equal world - but little progress on gender equality can be made without a strong focus on the health and wellbeing of women and girls, especially their sexual and reproductive health and rights.
"Organisations like Women Deliver understand this, which is why I’m so proud to announce that Canada will host their next conference in 2019.”
Canada has made so much progress towards gender equality, which is critical as it accelerates economic growth and women’s participation in decision-making. That in turn leads to more inclusive, equitable, peaceful, secure and cohesive societies.
In June Canada launched its very first Feminist International Assistance Policy, which aims to position the country as a gender equality leader on the world stage.
Through this plan, Canada will allocate $150 million over five years to help local organisations in developing countries whose work promotes women’s rights - with the overall goal of reducing global poverty through the empowerment of women and girls .
Canada has shown long-standing leadership in supporting women and girls - not just at home but around the world, particularly in developing countries and fragile states where millions of women and girls are fighting for their rights.
But much still has to be done in empowering and equipping women and girls as agents of change in their communities – key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Organisations like Women Deliver play a critical role in championing this cause.
In June, 2019, Canada will send a signal across the world about what it truly means to be a feminist country that delivers for women and girls and why investing in them is foundational for a stronger society.