Together for Girls

As part of the International Development and Globalization Student Association’s International Development Week conference, Nutrition International and World Vision Canada held the ‘Together for Girls’ workshop on youth advocacy for gender equality and nutrition.

Welcomed by Julie Savard-Shaw of Women Deliver 2019 Mobilization Canada, more than 100 University of Ottawa students gathered to hear insights from a number of inspiring female leaders: 

  • Mona Fortier, Member of Parliament for Ottawa-Vanier
  • Caroline Leclerc, Assistant Deputy Minister of Partnerships for Development Innovation, Global Affairs Canada
  • Evelyne Guindon, Managing Director of External Relations, Women Deliver 
  • Stephanie Edgar, Healthy Living Coordinator, Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health
  • Judith Nihorimbere, Program Officer, Nutrition International
  • Leanne Prescott, Youth Engagement Coach, World Vision Canada

Participants then reflected on the panel discussions and shared their own contributions and commitments to nutrition and gender equality, in an engaging workshop session hosted by panellists and representatives from RESULTS Canada and CanWaCH. We talked about different ways to take action at the community level to make a difference for girls, both locally and globally,  the need to engage on both Indigenous and global issues consistently, the gender imbalances that students see in their courses, the challenges they face getting interest from those outside international development courses, and the need for not only youth involvement in advocacy but youth remuneration for those efforts (students have bills too!). 

The next question was, how do we tackle these issues? Although we can’t fit them all in here, some of the inspiring ideas included:

  • Working with primary schools to educate children on the importance of gender equality and nutrition
  • Working with professors to get cross-department interest in global health and development
  • Writing to MPs about global issues we believe require attention
  • Engaging critically on social media – not just for likes, but for impact
  • Volunteering in the community (e.g. community kitchens)

Nutrition International and World Vision Canada are grateful for the support of all participating organizations and attendees and are excited to see what the future holds for youth advocacy!