The WAVE Youth Ambassadors programme does not only promote collaboration amongst young activists and youth from both EU as well as non EU countries, it also aims to encourage intergenerational collaboration to further strengthen feminist movements in the fight against violence against women and girls.
Within the framework of the WAVE Youth Ambassadors initiative, younger generations have been given space to promote youth engagement, youth participation, youth campaigning and youth inclusion within the context of preventing gender-based violence and discrimination. Furthermore, the ambassadors have been shedding light on current issues in their respective countries regarding gender inequality and have been actively demonstrating ways of how to demand positive change.
In May 2019, the WAVE Youth Ambassadors encouraged youth across Europe to exert their right to vote in the EU parliament elections 2019 as a way to highlight the needs and concerns of young people in their respective countries. The ambassadors conducted interviews with local youth and local politicians to put an emphasis on the impact the voice and the vote of young people, as they are decision makers as well, have. Filipa Canelas, 1st generation WAVE Youth Ambassador from Portugal: “To shape and create a better future, in which violence, discrimination and war are history, we must go out and vote to express our commitment and take responsibility.”
With support of the 2019 Italian Step Up! campaigners, Antonella Crichigno, 1st generation WAVE Youth Ambassador from Italy, got the opportunity to interview Francesca Puglisi, former Senator of the Italian Republic and member of the Democratic Party in Italy, and asked her about the state of women’s rights and the challenges women in Italy are facing. Antonella Crishigno: “Voting […] gives us the power to express our preferences concerning the political leadership we want to see guiding Europe and to make our ideas count.”
Evidently, one of the many aims of the WAVE Youth Ambassador initiative is to start a conversation, whether that be with politically influential figures or local youth, to support lobbying for improved and effective legislation on violence prevention and women’s rights.
In autumn 2019, the WAVE Youth Ambassadors sent out brief questionnaires to youth (16-27 years old) in their respective countries to promote dialogue about specific topics related to gender-based violence being cyber violence, sexual violence & consent and sexual & reproductive rights. The 183 responses highlighted the youth’s need for improved education to prevent gender-based violence.
For the past two years, the WAVE Youth Ambassador initiative has effectively showcased the importance of providing a platform to younger generations to support feminist movements from all generations in raising their voices and working towards positive change.
“Domestic and gender-based violence is a worldwide concern. We must address it all together on international and local levels.” Nikita Lumijoe, 1st generation WAVE Youth Ambassador from Estonia