GIMAC2019: 33rd Consultative meeting
Excerpts from Fikir Mekonen
I was honored to represent WREPA, an indigenous African civil society organization that is empowering and educating young women in different parts of Africa at the 33rd GIMAC conference held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from the 3rd to the 4th of February 2019 at the UNECA. This pre-summit consultative conference was preceded by a young women and girls advocacy training on the 2nd February, 2019 at Azzeman hotel.
The discussions, beginning from the pre-GIMAC training was in line with the AU theme of the year; refugees returnees and internally displaced persons. We had the pleasure of being joined by the AU Youth envoy Aya Chebbi on the pre-GIMAC training as well as presentations by many phenomenal women. We had a group discussions on the causes, problems and possible solutions for a number of problems facing our continent today that were also the thematic areas of the GIMAC theme such as; SRHR (Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights), decision making and technology, child marriage, and education. The group discussions and the combined solutions were presented by group representatives after lunch break, and a presentation of the youth statement to be read during the GIMAC conference which in turn was followed by very interesting presentations on using social media for digital advocacy, the ways to successful digital advocacy and stimulatingly, mental health and mental illness. Mental illness was touched on by many groups as something that is sidelined by different stakeholders. The discussion on mental health was especially eye-opening to how most of us saw mental health and mental illness. In this session we defined mental health as the positive dimension of emotional and cognitive wellbeing in which individuals realize their abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and contribute to the betterment of society.
The Gender Is My Agenda Campaign that was taking place with the theme: “Towards Gender-Responsive durable solutions to forced displacement” occurred with major success on the 4th February 2019. But that wasn’t the end of it for us, on the 5th of February I, along with seven other youth representatives went to the African Union Headquarters to meet with the African Union youth division. Which we had perhaps, the most motivating time with members of the youth division as they walk us through what they do and what it took them to get here. After which we all did our personal vows to thrive for mama Africa.