The African Union Commission Heads of States Assembly marked the year 2021 with the theme ‘the Year of Arts, Culture and Heritage in Africa’, and to commensurate with this theme, the Gender Is My Agenda Campaign (GIMAC) Network has been hosting virtual events focused on arts, culture and heritage. On 26 September 2021, the GIMAC Network hosted the 6th GIMAC Young Women Advocacy Training. ACCORD’s General Manager, Ms Karishma Rajoo: Programmes and, Ms Marisha Ramdeen, Programmes Coordinator; trained and facilitated the session on Peace and Security.
While the focus of the training was on heritage, culture and arts, key topics for discussion were guided by GIMAC’s six thematic clusters, governance, peace and security, human rights, health, education, and economic empowerment. The primary outcome of the training sought to promote holistic youth development and participation through arts and culture, recognizing young people as vital actors and partners working towards development and peace, instead of recognizing them as simple beneficiaries or target groups.
During the various training sessions, the facilitators encouraged the mainstreaming of gender equality and youth involvement in arts and culture, the promotion of policy formulation, and inclusivity in implementation processes and action plans. Arts and culture were explored as tools that can used for advocacy and policy influencing with the AU mechanisms of decision making.
The outcomes of training allowed for the formulation of key recommendations that will be utilized by GIMAC to plan its roadmap and strategies with specific action points that aim to inform the effective coordination and implementation of AU Declarations at the RECs and national levels. The training was attended by representatives from the AU Youth Division, Civil Society Organisations, Advocacy and Policy Specialists, and young women working in different sectors across the continent.
ACCORD’s contribution to the 6th GIMAC Youth Training aimed to enhance the role of women in peace processes and empower women in their participation so that they equally lead peace processes. This particular platform, partnering with GIMAC, strengthens the capacity of regional and national civil society organizations to systematically monitor national action plans on UN Resolution 1325 and the AU Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa.