UN Women office in Ethiopia

By Ritha M.Clarisse Bumwe.

On Monday 27 January, 2014, a YWCA delegation of girls and young women from 13 countries gathering in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa for the AU Summit visited the UN Women office  in Ethiopia.

Letty Chiwara, UN Women Representative to Ethiopia, welcomed us and spoke highly of World YWCA General Secretary, Nyaradzayi Gombonzvanda and Monica Bihlmaier, who have a broad knowledge of different issues that can affect young girls personally, their families and communities.

Although women had come a long way, she reminded that “Challenges are still there; even getting a job is a big issue, because they ask about your experience. But all these challenges can be addressed as we are committed to address them.”

Ms. Chiwara went on to say that this 22nd AU summit is a great opportunity for bringing young people’s ideas and shaping the future they want and to continue to push open doors for youth to be part of all dialogues at the African Union that could impact their progress.

She ensured continuing support in terms of engaging governments and also the African commission and that UN Women was there to support women through their programmes in mentorship and leadership.

At the end, she shared her personal experience. What drove her from where she was to where she is now, she told us was her “PASSION”

She came up with a great quote saying: when you finish your school and get a degree, do not go out looking for a job, go out looking for your passion.”

The group then visited the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, where they were given an in-depth explanation about the work and the mission of the AU.

It was stated that “even though Africa is a continent rich in natural resources, it is the poorest,” and that it was essential for Africa to build a common economic space in order to secure our security and for Africans to access the education and tools to develop the business environment and resources of the continent themselves.”

Both these visits were enlightening experiences which gave the girls and young women new exposures and gave them the opportunity to ask many questions about these two organizations.