Post-GEF Youth Forum

Nalafem Collective, Post-GEF Youth Forum 2021

“ The Post-GEF Youth Forum was amazing, we got to network, connect and engage with people from other countries, even of countries that had not make the commitments and encouraged each other to write to the government to commit” – Participant


Building on the outcomes of the 6 Intergenerational Dialogues, NalaFEM hosted a 3 day “Post-GEF Youth Forum” starting on 12 August 2021 (International Youth Day), around the calling theme of “Exploring challenges and solutions for the implementation and accountability of the Action Coalition commitments”.

The aim of this forum was to further support youth-led accountability and ownership of the GEF process by amplifying the work and impact of activists bridging their experience to Africa and the global stage to share lessons and gaps. The forum was designed as an informal space where youth and youth-led organizations from the 6 Action Coalition countries were able to share the outcomes of the dialogues. The three day forum focused on Connection, Dreaming and Building.


Nalafem Collective, Post-GEF Youth Forum Day 1 2021

The forum was opened with an intergenerational conversation between Ms. Bience Gawanas, Lawyer and Former UN Special Adviser on Africa; Ms. Sara Faivre, Action Coalitions Programme Manager and Ms. Anika Janes Dorothy – Member of the Generation Equality Youth Task Force. The conversation centered around the partnership and co-leadership needed between generations to achieve the commitment set out by the GEF Process.

Ms. Bience Gawanas rounded the conversation by connecting the GEF process with the struggle against colonialism and early campaigns for gender equality. She reminded the youth of the importance of working together across borders and continents. She further brought the demand for equality to the personal level, asserting that it is also a personal journey and struggle to realize and live with the realization that “no one can control your mind, your heart, and also your body”.

Representatives from youth organizations that were part of the 6 IGDs were then invited to share their own stories as to ‘what they are witnessing’ in the contexts that they are in and to speak to the 6 Action Coalition commitments. They shared their challenges and successes, and exclaimed that:

What are you witnessing?

  • Eradicating gender based violence can not happen unless there is efficient and effective access to justice
  • Information on where to get support needs to be widely available
  • There needs to be resourcing and political will to recognize that violence against women and girls is a pandemic
  • There needs to be knowledge, policy and implementation of reproductive and sexual health rights

Appreciative Inquiry: What is the world calling for?

The second day of the forum took the participants through two hours of an ‘appreciative inquiry’ session where they were invited to explore what – in their contexts – they are noticing from the ‘world’ calling for with the Action Coalition commitments. Participants were moved into smaller break-out rooms with the ability to move between rooms. This enabled them to have deeper conversations.

The last day and last two hours of the Post GEF Youth Forum focused on building and the calling question “What is needed for youth led accountability?”

The participants were taken through a virtual world cafe where they were invited to move freely between rooms that were set up as per the 6 Action Coalition commitments. See below:

Nalafem Collective, Post-GEF Youth Forum Day 2 2021
Nalafem Collective, Post-GEF Youth Forum Day 3 2021

The participants in the forum viewed the 6 Action Coalition commitments as intersectional issues which should be addressed holistically by governments and stakeholders.

Accordingly, they highlighted the following key recommendations:

  • IGD Implement and monitor policies and pathways that enable young women to be involved in political insitutitions
  • IGD Expand training programs in feminist leadership to vulnerable populations such as refugees, informal settlements & disabled populations IGD
  • Create partnerships between civil society and informal youth organizations
  • IGD Popularize the inclusion and protection of non-binary and LGBTQI persons
  • IGD Monitor and mobilize against laws and policies that infringe SRHR and bodily autonomy
  • IGD Create spaces for dialogue between women to create needs-based actions projects
  • IGD Promote digital initiatives that provide information and ways of reporting the different facets of gender inequality
  • IGD Promote the protection of women in digital spaces through legislation of laws that criminalize the abuse of women on digital platforms
  • IGD Invest in different forms of media to raise awareness on GBV
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