19 October 2023

Girls and young women raise their voice for a more inclusive and equitable world

When we empower girls to become leaders, they can be the changemakers needed to transform communities and societies. UNICEF is committed to placing the rights and well-being of adolescent girls at the very core of what we do, and every day, we embrace and celebrate their leadership. Get inspired by 10 young female advocates in Eastern and Southern…, Catherine Mantswe (18), Botswana, “Advocacy for me is all about creating an inclusive world by raising awareness on the need to deal with barriers that hinder the girl child to reach her full potential and dreams regardless of where they are.” Blocks Catherine Mantswe, Charity Mukelabai Nyambe (22), Zambia, “Encouraging conversations about inclusive practices, addressing stereotypes in media, and promoting diverse role models can all contribute to a more equitable environment for girls in your community.” Blocks Charity Mukelabai Nyambe, Elisa Gordo (19), Mozambique, “I have raised awareness of the rights of girls with disabilities among girls with and without disabilities and was very pleased to learn that most of the girls were able to become agents of change in their schools and communities.” Blocks Elisa Gordo, Inaki Shongwe (16), Eswatini, “Realizing that I am being heard is empowering. Speaking or standing up for my rights and making people aware of my needs facilitated changes in my school which made me feel more accommodated. This encouraged me and gave me the confidence that I should continue being the voice of the voiceless.” Blocks Inaki Shongwe, Mary Adut (17), South Sudan, “People used to undermine girls, saying that boys are superior and can do best in everything but when I talked to them at the school assembly telling them the importance of girls’ rights, people's mindset began to change.” Blocks Mary Adut, Nasrin Abdi Abdullahi (27), Somalia, “I created a peer-to-peer network that connects girls together allowing them to engage in advocacy efforts. It was a gratifying experience to witness the empowerment of young girls who now possess the freedom to voice their personal concerns and address the challenges they face in society. I celebrate both my small and big wins, and when faced…, Patricia Mativo (26), Kenya, “My most rewarding and satisfying experience is meeting people who inform me that I unknowingly impacted their lives through my advocacy. When I get overwhelmed, I pause and speak to my closest friends about it. At times I take leave from all social media platforms by temporarily uninstalling them.” Blocks Patricia Mativo, Teresa Capilo (22), Angola, “I think that my actions can create positive changes in society, in the sense of emphasizing the qualities of people and I have been helping girls, especially girls with disabilities, to develop their self-esteem. Every action we do, such as debates and lectures are reflective actions and have created changes, because people listen and things…, Tlotlo Moilwa (24), Botswana, “I have found it was easier for girls my age to relate to me. Those that have been following my journey and even those that are now younger and would like to embark on advocacy have learned from me that it is okay to do advocacy even as a child and not to let their age or gender limit them.” Blocks Tlotlo Moilwa, Tsungirirai Lucia Paridzira (23), Zimbabwe, “My advocacy is on mental health and sexual reproductive health and rights. My most rewarding experience was training 98 youth from Zimbabwe on the UNICEF Youth Advocacy Guide and most of them were young people aged 16- 24. Being a trainer gave me the opportunity to see how young people are willing to fight for positive change in their communities…