Open Day With Young Volunteers, Under 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.

Posted December 12, 2021

Photo: UNDP Iraq

To start a dialogue among the youth on Gender-Based Violence (GBV), and during 16 days of activism against GBV, UNDP, with the funding of the European Union, organized an open day with 30 young volunteers. Girls and boys, most of whom are college students, volunteered to spend a day with UNDP, where they were shown the different types of GBV, encouraged to exchange experiences and were given a space to discuss and figure out their roles in combatting the phenomenon.

The young volunteers were first introduced to the different types of Gender-Based Violence, then they had the opportunity to share their interpretation for each type in an open discussion. They had breakfast together, during which they got to know each other, and what each one studies.

Later, the young students exchanged personal experiences. Some were brave enough to share their own stories of overcoming violence that was directed at them. Others heard and gave their support. Both girls and boys had something to say about their role in the change they would like to see in their society.

Here are some inputs on that day from the volunteers who participated:

Aya, 19 years old

Photo: UNDP Iraq

On the 30th of November 2021, UNDP arranged an open day in the spirit of 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.

It was my pleasure to participate in a discussion about this important issue. Each volunteer shared what they know about “GBV” but the discussion focused on “violence against women” more. We talked about the types but also the solutions. Some shared their stories that encouraged us as young girls to never choose silence when we are being harassed. The atmosphere was very nice, and let’s not forget the fun part where we talked to the other volunteers while we shared breakfast altogether.

It was really a good opportunity to communicate with those active, witty, thoughtful, and great people! I am looking forward for many more activities like this.

Kaniaw, 22 years old

Photo: UNDP Iraq

I was pleased to have had the opportunity to be a part of UNDP’s “16 days activism against gender-based violence” open day. I got to meet some amazing people and we learned a lot and discussed the importance of spreading awareness on violence against women. We also talked about the different types of GBV and many other things including how to protect ourselves against it and what to do when in need of help.

While discussing GBV, we also exchanged ideas and experiences and what we can do to help spread awareness. Besides learning about GBV, we also had lots of fun with the activities, we played and got to know the other volunteers as well. At the end of the day, it was an amazing experience, and I would definitely do it again!

Chalang, 25 years old 

Photo: UNDP Iraq

It was a pleasure to spend the day with such open-minded young people. We were able to discuss the causes and the solutions for different types of violence with the support of UNDP. Each of us had a story to share about violence against women, whether it happened to us or to someone we know. We were encouraged to be outspoken if we face any type of violence and to refuse silence. In addition to the discussions, the environment was very peaceful, girls and boys began to play. Everyone had an equal chance to talk and participate that day, and there was no difference between us.