In celebration of International Development Week (IDW), the BC Council for International Cooperation in partnership with Gen Why Media invited BC youth to attend “Local 2 Global”, a networking event for individuals to share and inspire others with their amazing accomplishments and goals within the local and global community. This event was a wonderful opportunity to meet motivated and creative youth leaders with the desire to seek positive change in the global community. We were introduced to four different organisations in the community that aim to seek change through various means.
Firstly we were introduced to Mobile Movement, an organisation that provides small business owners and community leaders in Sub-Saharan Africa with smart phones, training, and a public platform that allows them to tell their own stories. In addition, Mobile Movement generates creative partnerships and provides mentorships and investments. Sometimes we take our access to technology for granted, just think about how often you access the internet on a daily basis for various reasons, social networking, for “study” purposes, or even to get updates on the news. In a world jam-packed with technological advancements, we have the ability to make significant advancements in our global community, and Mobile Movement is definitely taking a huge leap in that direction.
In addition, we were introduced to three different youth groups: PeaceGeeks Youth Network, Fertile Ground’s “Kids To Kids Project”, and “AfricaCanada.org”. PeaceGeeks is an organisation that assists with technological, communications, and management capacities of grassroots organizations that aim to promote peace, accountability, and human rights. Fertile Ground’s project engages children to foster their love for the environment and develop a better understanding of global sustainability. Lastly, AfricaCanada advocates for ethical practices and reflects and critically challenges mainstream assumptions on global interaction and understandings of social justice issues. All three organisations have made significant impacts within both the local and global community, and they definitely deserve to be recognised for their outstanding efforts.
In addition to the various youth organisations, one of my favourite moments of the afternoon was breaking up into mini-groups to discuss issues of our interest, which led me to the topic of “Gender Equality”. We spent a lot of time discussing gender discrimination in Sports and Athletics, from our own varying experiences in elementary and high school. We found it strange how in some high schools, Physical Education classes remain divided based on gender, with “Strength and Conditioning” classes often dominated by boys and “Fit for Life” (Girls Only) courses only offered to girls. In response, a young girl from the “Kids To Kids Project” shared her experiences being on a all-girls soccer team. She shared how her team collected soccer balls to send to kids in India, and when she received photos of the kids playing with them. From the photos, she observed how soccer was dominated by young boys, while the girls remained standing in the background. It is evident the lack of gender equality in developed nations such as Canada and developing countries such as India still remains prevalent. However we must be mindful of the different social and cultural contexts that shape gender roles and attitudes towards gender norms. What can we as individuals do to challenge gender discrimination in school and sports? And how can our actions be applied to a larger, global scale of gender discrimination?