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From July 17 to 20, the Women Deliver Conference 2023 was held in Kigali, Rwanda. The conference is one of the largest international multi-sectoral conferences to advance gender equality in the world. Local activists, civil society groups, governments, multilateral and philanthropic organizations, and youth activists from all over the world met to discuss, share their own expertise, and make their voices heard.
The conference was divided into fifteen programs that served as discussion sessions where many activists from around the world came together to deliver inspiring speeches, thus mobilizing collective action on behalf of the participants. There was also Women Deliver’s signature Culture Night, which was an opportunity for the host country, Rwanda, to share their traditions and culture. The Solidarity Space created a room for spontaneous discussion, relationship building, and conversations of future collaborations. Furthermore, The Youth Zone, created by and for young people, allowed connect between activists from around the world to energize new movements and create a safe space for sharing the different experiences that young people experience. Finally, among all the programs, there was also the Global Dialogue that brought human rights advocates to organize discussions and create networks through the different subjects. These are just a few programs Women Deliver offers.
For many of the young participants, these discussion spaces helped to revitalize their activism. Liv Cerba, a young feminist activist in Montreal, shared, “What stood out the most to me is the emotion in the opening ceremony, but also the diversity of opinions expressed , the use of art too. It felt unique. Activists and leaders spoke from their hearts, in a very sincere and frank way. For example, they didn’t hesitate to call out inequalities, to recognize that men’s presence was a good thing but also that we wouldn’t “praise a fish for swimming”, reminding ourselves that men’s allyship should be a given.”
Liv insists on the importance of highlighting the knowledge, art, and cultures of different countries, particularly on the African continent which has fewer opportunities in feminist spaces to be represented. “Finally, it was amazing to see various African countries displaying art and culture: Zuhura Sengenge (a poet) from Tanzania, ballerinas from Rwanda… It was refreshing to see something else, something maybe a little bit far from my everyday experience in the feminist sphere and also very different from what I experienced at CSW last March.” Liv shared.
Women Deliver and other international spaces for discussion are needed to advance the fight against gender-based violence. They make it possible to build a more inclusive action plan that considers the different impacts that gender-based violence can have on individuals around the world.
To learn more about Women Deliver, check out their website and social media: