All posts filed under: sustainable development

The Importance of Educating Girls

Blog post by Lisa Öhman, intern at Flickaplattformen This text is based on my final thesis for my bachelor in Development Studies. My thesis is a discourse analysis of texts collected from governmental development agencies, analysing their call on the importance of girls’ education. During the past decades, gender and education have become central elements in debates about development aid. Today, almost all international development organizations have included a gender perspective in their work. The reason why education for girls and gender equality have become such central parts of development aid can be traced to the many direct effects it has on economic growth and human welfare. It is often argued in development discourses that educating girls and women is an investment that is worthwhile. This view of girls’ education as a tool for development is often described as instrumentalism. This instrumentalist view on girls’ education has received criticism. The central argument against it is that girls’ education is only seen as being of importance due to its effect on development. I argue that the instrumental theory is …

The Girl Child Platform is going to CSW

For the second year in a row the Girl Child Platform is going to the UN:s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York. The 61st session of CSW begins on March 13th and continues for two weeks. Representatives from UN member states, UN agencies and nonprofit organizations from all over the world will participate in the sessions. The theme of this year’s session is “Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work”. Today the labour market is in many ways unequal. Women often have lower salaries and inferior benefits than men. Men are also more often in power positions than women. However, this year’s theme is also important for young girls and not only adult women. Reports by The Adolescent Girls Advocacy and Leadership Initiative indicate that teenage girls represent the most economically vulnerable group in the world. Above all the problem remains that women and girls do a lot more unpaid work, like taking care of the household and the family. In many cases this workload leads to girls having to …

Being a Woman and an Entrepreneur in Malawi

By Mayamiko Chiwaya, Student Driven Solutions graduate, age 16 Starting a business in Malawi is not an easy thing. Most people think that once you come up with a business idea you can implement it right away, which is not always true. To start a business requires hard work and dedication. In this edition, I will share with you the challenges women and girls encounter while striving to start small businesses in Malawi. According to my investigations, the first challenge that women and girls in Malawi often meet is lack of recognition. Women and girls are not recognized as people who can develop Malawi as a country through business. It’s for this reason that they often fail to start small businesses because they are not given the chance. For example, in most banks in Malawi, women are given smaller loans than men. Pamela Banda, age 18, a successful young lady operating a shop selling fashion items once experienced this challenge when getting a loan from the bank, but still managed to get a small loan from …

Urban Farming: Regeneration in our Cities

Grey. Angular. The low buzz of foot traffic, rubber-on-tar traffic, shoulders pushing against shoulders traffic. Did you see his face when he tried to smile at your across the street? Did you breathe in the blossoming jasmine that crept toward you at the bus stop? We navigate through cities, so loud yet full of silence. We have been waiting. Waiting for the earth to rise up against the pavements, to activate our joy and to remind us who we are and where we come from. We are nature. This is an unfolding narrative of the environmentally conscious and gradual movement that is Urban Farming. This is the remembered narrative of the female presence in the food system. Hailing from the mountainous green landscape of Barberton, Mpumalanga, South Africa, I have long held the forest as a close friend. Mother Earth can be said to have an innately powerful, fecund and peaceful presence. Plant life and forests are the ultimate reflection of matriarchy, pregnant with the life of a million organisms. My first encounter with a large …

The Forgotten Development Goal: Personal Reflections

Sustainable Development Goal 18: Engagement and Interest for Development Within All People. How does that sound? Why is this goal needed when we already have 17 of them? But I know that if it actually was an SDG it would already be achieved. I can confidently say so after having the honor of attending this year’s United Nation’s General Assembly (UNGA) Week in New York City. If we take a look at the Millennium Development Goals I think that – to be honest – it was a thing created by force. The world was falling apart and our world leaders just had to figure out a solution. The result of that were a few great, optimistic, goals that we were all supposed to work on together. Where did it go wrong? How come we did not achieve the Millennium Development Goals? Of course, there were plenty of reasons. For example the lack of detailed targets and goals, the unrealistic part of achieving them and the missing piece of partnership. But the one thing I see in the …

(re)THINKING Youth Development

By Bhongolwethu Sonti “My life has been a great challenge and opportunity as it’s made me flexible to what is constant in the world – change. Change is something that we young people know a lot about – when we reach a certain age our bodies experience many turns and turbulences, some which we can’t explain and at most times no one wants to explain to us.” This was the opening line to my TEDxYouth@CapeTown talk on youth development and meaningful engagement. When we think about development we think of the re-imaging or rejuvenating of a place or situation for the better through a certain process. When it comes to youth development, per Eastern Kentucky University, it is “the process by which young people acquire competencies and positive connections to self, others and the larger community and all the people, places, supports, opportunities and services they need to be healthy, happy and successful.” These definitions, although accurate in describing the process, also outline the crippling problem that hinders this work. Youth development is seen and conducted …

10-Year-Old Girls are the Future of the World

According to the latest State of World Population by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), girls at the decisive age of 10 are the future of the world. At this age, girls are moving away from the world of childhood towards the world of adolescence and adulthood. In this season of life, it’s essential that girls be presented with opportunities, encouraged to dream big, given tools to pursue those dreams, and have access to education and health care. For many girls around the world, this phase of life is when they begin to face the reality of limited choices in life compared to boys and when they become more vulnerable to discrimination and gender violence. This reality needs to be changed, not only for the good of these girls, but also for the good of their societies and the world as a whole. Here are 4 reasons why investing in 10-year-old girls is good for the world: 1) Access to education is not only a human right, but it’s essential to helping girls achieve their full potential. …

A Smart Thing To Do: Data on Women in Higher Education & STEM

“When we talk about improving women’s lives, education is an issue that comes up over and over again as an equalizer, because when women and girls have access to an education, they can accomplish anything.” – United State of Women But do all forms of education create equity where gender disparities are greatest? Although we need to work toward improving women’s and girls’ access to education on all levels, real disparities deepen in secondary and higher education environments around the world. Significant progress has been made as 2/3 of developing nations have achieved gender parity when it comes to access to primary education. Despite significant progress made on girls’ school enrollment in the past decade, 32 million girls of lower secondary school age were out of school in developing countries. The situation is worst for the poorest rural girls in South and West Asia: only 13% complete lower secondary school. If we agree with UNICEF that educating girls is “both an intrinsic right and a critical lever to reaching other development objectives,” then advocating for a higher output …

The Vital Need for Data to Improve Maternal Health

Globally and daily, around 830 women die from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth – equivalent to nearly 35 women an hour. This results in over 300 000 maternal deaths each year – deaths that could be prevented if adequate care was provided. Skilled care before, during and after birth has been identified as one of the key strategies to reducing maternal deaths, a care that 25% of women still do not have access to. Bernice lives with her father and her four younger siblings in a small rural village in the north of Burundi. Her family, along with eight out of ten Burundians, live below the poverty line, and they depend fully on their household food crop production for their survival. Due to several droughts lately, they are currently facing severe food shortage. Bernice is pregnant with her first child, and even though she’s more than half way through her pregnancy, she hasn’t yet seen a doctor. She is severely malnourished, putting both her and her baby at an elevated risk of complications. Two years …

The Deadly Power of a Cookstove

2016—the year of a vociferous political climate, monumental policy changes, and finally the year of a forceful push toward gender equality. As an 18-year-old college freshman, I have recognized for years the existing gender gap, but I did not realize that something as simple as a cookstove could be an immense obstacle for closing the gender gap. I was a junior in high school when I had the opportunity to hear the CEO of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, Radha Muthiah, and other esteemed women advocates promote the discourse about deleterious effects of climate justice on the global population, especially women. After listening to this Women In Peace panel, I truly realized that a girl’s fight across the globe, is also my fight; it is our fight.I am impassioned about the implications of primitive cooking methods because the effects are primarily on the health of women in low-income parts of the world. The underlying matter is that while open fire cooking and the burning of biomass and coal causes a significantly negative impact on the …