Spaces, Solidarity, Solutions: Save the Children’s Engagement at Women Deliver 2023
Completed mural at the end of the conference with messages of hope and ambition for women and girls. Christina Gordon/Save the Children
“Nothing for us without us!” Miriam, a 16-year-old girl from Zambia, along with two of her Rwandan peers sat on a stage of feminist researchers and development experts and proclaimed the importance of genuine participation of children in developing and instituting policies that affect their lives.
The girls’ comments during Save the Children’s side event at Women Deliver provided concrete examples of what the conference sought to achieve: catalyze collective action to advance gender equality, hold leaders accountable, empower the feminist movement, and reframe who leads.
Save the Children’s conference delegation of 25 staff, nine girl delegates, and three local partner organizations engaged in activities that created space for girls’ leadership, shared strategies for collective impact, and highlighted the work of local and feminist partners.
Reframing Who Leads: Girls’ Leadership at WD2023
Nine girls between the ages of 15 and 17 from Indonesia, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Zambia comprised Save the Children’s Girl Delegation. The girls provided remarks and facilitated conversations at numerous events throughout the week, contributing critical perspectives that are often overlooked at international conferences.
Following the conference, Hasna from Indonesia shared:
“One of my favorite moments in Women Deliver is the panel where Malala and Stacey Abrams are the speakers. When Stacey said that we girls have power, it boosted my confidence. Her words make me believe that as a child or teenager, we have power, and we are the key to the future.”
Co-Creating Spaces with Local and Feminist Partners
Save the Children dedicated space for partner organizations from Rwanda and Tanzania to join the conference and highlight their work in the conference expo:
Ni Nyampinga, a locally-led organization based in Rwanda, uses gender-transformative programmes to provide young people, especially girls and young women, with the skills and knowledge to make informed decisions and reach their full potential. Ni Nyampinga Executive Director Flavia Mutamutega shared detailed information about the organization’s approach with conference participants during Save the Children’s side event.
Haguruka is a Rwandan non-governmental organization that has been at the forefront of the fight for women’s and children’s rights in Rwanda. Haguruka works towards ensuring that women can claim their rights by empowering them and improving access to justice across the country. At Haguruka’s booth, representatives of the organization strengthened their connections with gender equality organizations and activists from around the world.
Vision for Youth (V4Y) is a women- and youth-led organization based in Arusha, Northern Tanzania. V4Y is dedicated to empowering young people aged 15-35 to change their lives for a brighter future. V4Y projects focus on health, economic empowerment, and civic engagement. V4Y representatives shared examples of successful youth-led initiatives in Tanzania at multiple conference events.
Focusing on Solutions: Save the Children’s Delegation in the Spotlight
Save the Children uses Gender and Power (GAP) Analysis to examine, understand, and address inequalities that prevent children, their families, and communities from claiming their full and equal rights. Throughout the conference, Save the Children staff and girl delegates shared examples of programmes that address gender and other social inequalities and advocated for child-centered and justice-oriented approaches to advancing gender equality.
1. Dr. Modupe Taiwo joined the stage with world leaders to share programme results from Save the Children Sierra Leone, including how Save the Children’s work has contributed to a 20% reduction in child, early and forced marriages (CEFMU) in project districts.
2. During a side event hosted by Save the Children partner Procter and Gamble entitled, “Together We All Lead: A Generation of Action and Impact,” Hasna from Indonesia shared her experiences as part of Save the Children’s “We See Equal” programme. The programme seeks to unlock the potential of women and girls through access to education, business investment and leadership opportunities that ultimately help families, communities and economies thrive.
3. Three Save the Children girl delegates facilitated roundtable discussions during a side event organized by the Adolescent Girls Investment Plan (AGIP), entitled “Where is the Money? Resourcing Adolescent Girls and Young Feminists.” During the discussions, adolescent girls, young feminist-led organizations, donors, researchers, and civil society organizations identified challenges, innovative solutions, and strategies to make funding more accessible for young feminist-led initiatives.
4. On the final day of the conference, representatives from the Coalition of Feminists for Social Change (COFEM), Ni Nyampinga, and the ATHENA Network joined Save the Children staff on stage for an event entitled, “Who’s Got the Power? Feminist Approaches to Decolonizing How and What We Know.” Save the Children’s Global Senior Advisor for CEFMU Rahinatu Adamu Hussaini shared how Save the Children uses GAP Analysis to develop knowledge in collaboration with local communities to understand and address the root causes of CEFMU. Three girl delegates also shared their experiences of contributing their knowledge to inform high-level decision-making that affects their lives.
Looking Ahead: Feminist Futures
As a result of Women Deliver, Vision4Y Founder and Director Violet Ayoub said following the conference:
“May we break down the hurdles that stand in the way of progress, amplifying the voices of all women, and embracing intersectional feminism with each step forward. Together, we hold the power to reshape the world and create a future where gender equity flourishes.”