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The Ontario Council for International Cooperation’s Gender Equality Hub is commemorating Human Rights Day 2020 with a virtual Breakfast Dialogue, Voices From the Grassroots: COVID-19 and Women from the Global South, on December 10, 2020 at 8:30 am (EST).
This dialogue will focus on sharing experiences of women and girls from Afghanistan, Guatemala, Kenya, Mali, Philippines, Uganda and South Sudan, with the aim of amplifying their voices, showcasing their resilience, highlighting their unique challenges, and drumming up more support for stronger gender lenses in responding to the pandemic by all actors.
Join us to learn more about this initiative and to hear directly from Carmen Zubiaga, a disability rights advocate from the Philippines; Carolyn Drileba, a young refugee girl from South Sudan currently living in Uganda; and Najia Zewari, an Afghan/Canadian, founder of Global Women’s Network, and member of OCIC’s GE Hub.
Over the past several months, individual members of OCIC’s GE Hub and those representing Canadian Executive Service Organization (CESO-SACO), World Accord, and World Renew have been working together to document the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on vulnerable women and girls from seven countries.
The women and girls have spoken of impacts such as increased debt loads, job and income loss, heightened levels of gender violence and assault, especially amongst young girls, increased crime amongst youth boys, food insecurity and hunger, transportation challenges, civil unrest, unresponsive and inconsistent governments, exacerbation of inequality and discrimination, especially for persons with disabilities, as well as increased mental stress. Their experiences echo those of women, girls and other vulnerable and marginalised groups across the world, including in Canada.
Their testimonials call upon us to increase our advocacy efforts for increased gender responsive approaches by all sectors in response to COVID-19, as well as in rebuilding societies after the pandemic. They further call upon us to strengthen our approaches to more deliberately include diverse and multiple stakeholders and at all levels, including amongst civil society, religious groups, the private sector, community-based organizations at the grassroots, with diaspora communities, etc.