As the second generation of WAVE Youth Ambassadors is currently brainstorming, planning and developing actions targeting youth and young people across Europe to raise awareness on violence against women and girls, it is clear that their approaches aim to be intersectional, intergenerational and holistic. “We want to expand and not remain in our own bubble but reach the general public.” Knowledge exchange, building relationships and connections, nationally as well as internationally, are considered to be crucial to encourage positive change, particularly in the next two years.
Despite youth activism being often tied to the digital world, the ambassadors are dedicated to tackling issues related to gender-based violence outside of the digital sphere. Nonetheless, the idea is to implement online tools to facilitate work and subsequently reach more young people.
What needs to be done? We cannot talk about youth without talking about education and its role in violence prevention. Therefore, several WAVE Youth Ambassadors are hopeful to be able to target schools as well. Here, intergenerational collaboration serves as an important key factor. Getting in contact with women’s support specialists and services in their respective countries is important to then together develop and conduct awareness raising activities and workshops for children as well as in schools.
Joining forces is not only important when tackling the educational system, but generally when fighting against gender-based violence and discrimination. Creating partnerships as well as coordinating with local NGOs, such as the Step Up! Campaigners, is needed to identify common political and social issues, and work together towards effective offline and online actions to particularly increase the focus on less visibilised forms of gender-based violence such as sexualized violence, cyber violence, violence against migrant and refugee women, the LGBTQIA+ community and other marginalised groups such as rural women.
“We want to raise public attention, both online and offline. We want to support women’s and girls’ voices. We want to strengthen women’s and girls’ voices. This, however, is not just our task for the next two years of being WAVE Youth Ambassadors. This is our lifelong commitment as being dedicated activists across Europe.”