The Power of a Young Person’s Voice

Asante Africa Foundation strives to promote Youth, and Communities who are the talent and brilliance of East Africa. We want to introduce you to a powerful young woman, Petrider Paul, who calls herself a “Girls rights” defender. She talks to us about the “Role of youth in ending social issues like child marriage, FGM and gender abuse”

The Power of a Young Person’s Voice

Young people are the forces of change in their communities. They should address issues that affect them the most. While child marriage deprives a girl child the freedom to achieve her full potential, gender abuse affects both girls and boys. And surprisingly all these are global issues.

A child’s life can change in an instant

I have been a girls’ rights activist in Tanzania for seven years. I have spoken to girls who were forced into child marriage or FGM. They were told that they had to do it in order to be respectable or because their parents needed the bride price to support the family. Some parents chase their daughter away from home if she refuses to get married or worse stop sending them to school.”

It made me wonder are girls really sold off in the shadows of marriage because the parents needed 15USD or 1kg of sugar?

Young people are the force of change in their communities

Gender abuse comes in many forms. Even after the horrific acts of rape and domestic violence that girls face, they are silenced due to fear of embarrassment. A fear that the community will look at them differently if they speak out.

In order to demystify customs, traditions and other factors attributing to Child Marriage, Female Genital Mutilation and Gender Abuse, we as young people need to be educated on the issues, both content and context ,and be bold in sharing that knowledge . We need to talk about the Rape Culture. We need to stand up for girls rights’ and actively seek change in the laws that allow these abuses . Young people can use their passion to influence fellow young people, bigger communities, and Government leaders nationally and internationally.

As youth, we can turn SDG’s into reality. We can lead the implementation of SDG’s and experience the results firsthand — positive or negative. We are the ‘now generation’.

World leaders need to take action

Leaders from across the globe need to step it up. Focused efforts should be made to invest on girls and women’s rights treaties. Even though statutory laws are signed, they are not implemented yet. Immediate Action needs to be taken.

Petrider’s message to all young people

Do not sit back and let change happen to you. Change happens with you. Everything is possible if you decide to make it so.

I began my work as a girls’ rights activist at 15, when I witnessed that many children’s, especially girls’, rights were violated in my community. My goal is to work for girls’ rights until gender equality is reached. Today, society can find me too modern and look at me badly but as long as I am doing something for my fellow girls, I can see past this to a world where gender equality is possible.

As ambitious as it may sound, gender-based violence can be ended. It will take baby steps, but, with a collective common vision this big vision can be achieved.

The Power of a Young Person’s Voice

Petrider Paul, is a Girls rights defender and holds a BA in International Relations from the University of Dodoma — United Republic of Tanzania.

She is the Co-Founder of “Youth for Change”, Tanzania, a movement of young people working to end child early forced marriage , Female Genital Mutilation and Teenage pregnancies. She is also the founder of “Voice Out Against Gender Based Violence”, an initiative working to empower GBV survivors to champion change and engage in Tailoring Activities through ‘Kitenge Fashion Wear’ where the revenue from the clothes sold is used to empower girls by paying their fees.

A Tanzania Young Professionals Awards 2016 1st runner up and a One Young World Ambassador , Akili Dada Fellow 2017 , Representative of UNFPA Tanzania Youth Advisory Panel , currently she assists in Communications , Partnership and Advocacy work at Children’s Dignity Forum Tanzania. She is also the country representative of the African Youth Union Commission (AUYC) and a member of the East African Community Youth Ambassadors Platform.

Learn More about Petrider Paul

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