As a part of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence and the Orange the World Campaign, the Ban Ki-moon Centre hosted an interactive session during the Education for Justice Global Dialogue Series organized by the United Nations Office of Drugs & Crime.
The event series, part of the Education for Justice initiative held between 1 – 4 December, was launched with a virtual high-level opening, where Co-chair Ban Ki-moon delivered his opening remarks, underlining the importance of youth education and rule of law for a more just world: “Empowering children & youth to understand & exercise their rights is what will bring us an equitable & sustainable future based on the universality of human rights” – Ban Ki-moon
The interactive session hosted by the BKMC titled “Education, Empowerment and Effective Policies: Preventing Gender-Based Violence” welcomed three experts and presentations of their innovative initiatives to prevent gender-based violence.
Setting the tone of the discussion, CEO Monika Froehler highlighted the urgency of the topic: “Education, empowerment, and effective policies are key tools to prevent and eliminate gender-based violence. We must act now to create a long-term solution.”
As the first intervention Humberto Carolo – Executive Director of White Ribbon Canada, shared his expertise on education for and inclusion of all, in particular men and boys, to address all forms of gender-based violence: “Accountable, intersectional, human rights-based, feminist-informed primary prevention with men and boys is an important complementary approach to ending all forms of gender-based violence and discrimination. Men and boys have important roles to play as gender equality allies and change agents at the individual and systemic levels.”
Sabeeka Ahmad, BKMC Global Citizen Fellow, and Social Entrepreneur shared her expertise on women’s empowerment and the mission of her business. The Bahrain based social enterprise Warsha develops customized programs for survivors of violence and works with women in the long run especially on financial stability: “We support survivors of GBV by listening to them. Only then we can design our intervention towards empowerment and recovery!”
With regards to effective policies for #GBV, Kristina Lunz, Co-founder & Co-director of the Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy underlined how current ideas and concepts in the security and foreign policy sector are based on an idea of dominating other states and individuals. She claimed: “Domination always requires violence. Gender-based violence is an epidemic in our society – we will only be able to overcome male violence against women once we have created a society based on equality. An end to violence is always grounded in mutual respect. “
Following the presentations, the audience was invited to join three virtual booths with each expert (Education, Empowerment, and Effective Policies) to engage in a brainstorming session and discuss innovative initiatives to prevent gender-based violence.
The education booth led by Humberto emphasized the need for a multi-stakeholder approach against backlashes to women’s rights. Sabeeka engaged her participants in the discussion via an online survey, discussing the complementing elements to financial empowerment such as education, trained health services, women’s clubs, etc.
Kristina encouraged attendees with a provoking question to think about how to drive change: “What makes you furious and angry about current policies for GBV? “ . Effective policies are only so effective when more women are part of the decision-making process, all people are educated on the issue, and multi-stakeholders recognize and raise awareness on GBV.
“Education for justice should be taught at all levels,” said Froehler at the Session II.She introduced existing initiatives and best practices of education for justice (E4J) such as UNESCO publications, UNESCO APCEIU’s GCED Online Campus, SDG Academy’s edX, OSCE, UNODC’s Education for Justice, and more. She said that different forms and tools of education that are effective should be adapted and utilized.
She said, “education on Global Citizenship and the SDGs is the key” and “what is spent for weapons should rather be spent for education.”As Froehler introduced the WEP Asia fellows to the crowd, she emphasized that youth empowerment is crucial and also that
“we need to focus on ladies and girls, and we need to educate them to be part of the movement, change, and these initiatives.”Patricia Colchero, Coordinator of Research and Studies at the National System for the Integral Protection of Children and Adolescents of Mexico, said that
“we need to respect educators and youth, and rules should be applied fairly.”She also emphasized that emotional skills should be taught and developed along with the traditional education on knowledge. Yoshimitsu Yamauchi, Assistant Vice-Minister of Justice of Japan, said that general education taught in a family also contributes to the overall development of society. Sharing collaborative examples between the educational sector and the justice sector, he stressed the importance of mutual understanding, involving the private sector, treating the rules equally, and seeing what is behind the constitution. Salem Al-Ali, Assistant Secretary-General of the Prevention Sector at the Kuwait Anti-Corruption Authority, also emphasized on the importance of youth engagement:
“education policy should be extended all the way to youth and young generation so that they can fight corruption.”During Session III, best practices and challenges of education for justice in Brazil, Macedonia, Qatar, and Nigeria were presented. Aly Jetha, President and CEO of a cartoon company Big Bad Boo Studios, shared his company’s efforts in utilizing cartoons to educate children for justice and to teach them a global citizenship mindset. The audience also actively involved themselves in the discussion and shared various perspectives. A representative from Ukraine said that informal education that comes from communications and/or home brings values that cannot be learned but can only be earned through one’s engagements and soul. The Ambassador for Nigeria spoke about the existing language barrier for education, stressing the importance of providing access to education for all. A youth representative from Thailand also said that people from diverse backgrounds should be able to feel that they are represented. As a closing remark, Dr. Zainab Bagudu, First Lady of Kebbi State of Nigeria, said that
“the world needs to invest in education now.”The Conference successfully provided the international community with an opportunity to discuss ways and means to promote education for the rule of law through diversified and creative educational approaches and activities.