Author: Yeabsira Bogale

Let There Be Peace

How can we make good more violent than evil? A question posed by Rev. Canon Charles P. Gibbs, founding member of the United Religions Initiative, to the one hundred young people who were in attendance. More violent, Rev. Gibbs explained, in the sense that goodness begins to roar much louder than the bad news which is intruding our homes daily. A sentiment shared by all who were present at last month’s international forum for the official launching of “A Common Word Among the Youth” ACWAY fellowship in Rabat, Morocco. We live in a world where terrible acts of violence are getting more and more sensationalized and threatening to overshadow the many acts of kindness we need to build upon. Therefore, we have no choice but to become peace-warriors if we are to create a world where the good dominates. 2015 ended on a very high note for me. I was fortunate enough to be selected as one of the 100 young leaders of the ACWAY initiative, out of close to 4000 applicants from all over the globe who shared the program’s vision of building peaceful coexistence through promoting intercultural …

Hiding in Plain Sight: GBV & Working with Men & Boys

Gender-based violence is a problem that has been stubbornly persistent all over the world. It is a sensitive and often hidden issue exacerbated by the profound lack of reliable data to inform policies and programs; a challenge common across the board. It is, however, hiding in plain sight in light of the obvious magnitude and pervasiveness of the issue. I am currently in Harare, Zimbabwe taking part in the annual steering committee meeting of MenEngage Africa; a network which seeks to positively engage men and boys in various issues, including promoting gender justice. As our discussions start to focus on 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, I thought I would dive deeper into the issue and share my thoughts. Violence in the broader sense takes many shapes but gender-based violence casts a big shadow in the lives of women and girls. The problem is closely related to areas such as sexual and reproductive health and rights and family planning, including the prevalence of HIV. It also has significant economic implications. Although the problem is not just limited to this constituency, the majority of …

ICFP2015: When the Going Gets Tough

Photo Credit: World Bank There are some moments in life that sound and feel so similar that for a second, it’s like you are back in time reliving that exact same experience. You work incredibly hard to see your vision take off and circumstances that are beyond your control seemingly sway you off course. But I am writing to remind you that, that’s only true if you allow it to happen. You always have a choice to keep going, especially when you know your answer to the question: “why do you do what you do?” This week, so many people from around the world had their eyes on Nusa Dua, Bali as they made arrangements to take part in the International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP 2015). Young advocates, grassroots workers, communication experts, ministers, policy makers and practitioners were all ready to deliberate on this important topic that greatly impacts everyone’s lives. But as it happens, Mt. Rinjani had a plan of its own! A volcano eruption on the mountain led to a cloud of ash that ultimately caused the postponement of the conference. We all …

SDG 13: Climate Change – Faces Behind the Numbers

There’s something very unique about working at grassroots level and experiencing firsthand what the community is facing. A single day is enough to make all the statistics fade into the background and replace them with vivid images of what the numbers really represent. I am currently taking part in the fifth Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA-V) conference themed, “Africa, Climate Change and Sustainable Development: What is at Stake at Paris and Beyond?” in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. As a pre-event to the conference, the African Youth Initiative on Climate Change (AYICC) convened the first African Youth Conference on Climate Change (AfriYOCC) themed, “African Youth Responses to Climate Change and Food Security, Action from the Frontline”. The workshop served as a valuable space for young people to share their climate solutions and incorporate their recommendations to the African Youth Position on the Road to Paris (COP21). I also had the opportunity to serve as a panelist on the topic : “Gender Mainstreaming in Climate Governance and Community Based Adaptation”. All the high-level dialogues taking place for me put a spotlight on the community that will have to live the consequences of the …

MDG4 Progress: Saving Our Little Saviors

A nation’s future is built upon its children. Early childhood development is considered to be the most important phase which determines the overall wellbeing across the individual’s lifespan. Investing in children translates into saving our world from the countless ills that plague society today. 15 years ago, the world made a promise in the form of Millennium Development Goal 4 to reduce the global under-five mortality rate by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015 as our leaders agreed on the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). We have now reached the end of the era of the MDGs, and the world has come together to make a new promise in the form of a new set of goals for the coming 15 years. In that respect, it is important to take a closer look at how well we did in our strive to uphold our promise; and approach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a renewed sense of commitment. We should acknowledge that we have come a long way. According to the 2015 Levels and Trends in Child …