International Youth Day

International Youth Day

Date: 11 August 2015

Edith Chukwu (right), helps guide fellow Girl Guides at a train-the-trainers workshop in Zambia to help roll out the “Voices against Violence” non-formal education curriculum. Photo: UN Women/Urjasi Rudra
Edith Chukwu (right), helps guide fellow Girl Guides at a train-the-trainers workshop in Zambia to help roll out the “Voices against Violence” non-formal education curriculum. Photo: UN Women/Urjasi Rudra

UN Women’s partnership with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) works to galvanize the potential and power of girls and young women around the and work towards ending violence against women and girls.

Voices against Violence, a non-formal education curriculum for young people ages 5-25 was developed by UN Women and WAGGGS, to provide tools and expertise to understand the root causes of violence, build awareness and address its cultural and social triggers. By educating girls and boys about respectful relationships and gender equality, Voices Against Violence aims to start prevention early in life, when values and norms around gender equality are being formed. It equips girls to educate and involve their peers and communities to prevent such violence and learn about where to access support when needed. 

Violence against women and girls is the one of the most pervasive human rights violations in the world today. Nearly one in three girls between the ages of 15 and 19 are victims of emotional, physical or sexual violence.  Globally, 700 million women alive today were married before the age of 18, and more than one in three (about 250 million) entered into union before age 15.

The curriculum is currently being rolled out in 12 countries through training workshops for youth leaders, supported by Zonta International. By the end of 2016, an estimated 800,000 young people will have been reached in Brazil, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malawi, Nigeria, the Philippines, Rwanda, the United States and Zambia.

The youth perspective:


Edith Chukwu, 29, is among a team of lead Girl Guides trainers in Zambia for a workshop. Photo: UN Women/Urjasi Rudra
Photo: UN Women/Urjasi Rudra

“Through the non-formal education activities provided by this curriculum, by the end of next year I will be able to inform and empower some 1,500 girls between the ages of 6 to 25, some of whom may not even be able to attend school, to learn about their rights and break the silence about violence.”

— Edith Chukwu, lead Girl Guide trainer with WAGGGS


Photo: UN Women/Urjasi Rudra

"No one wants to talk about violence against women and girls in Italy, but it exists. Crimes of passion against women and girls are quite common. But it seems like such an overwhelmingly big issue, that as guides, we didn’t know where to start."

— Anna Tondelli and Stefania Affatato, Girl Guides from Italy


Photo: UN Women/Urjasi Rudra

“No matter what you do to this piece of paper, it will never be the same again. You may still be able to read what’s written on it. You may still be able to write on it. You could try to keep it inside your books or press it under many books to smooth out the wrinkles, but they will show. This is what violence does to girls. Just like this paper, once a girl experiences violence, she will never be the same again. With this curriculum, we are trying to prevent that from happening.”

— Pilar Aquilar Sol, a lead trainer from WAGGGS


Photo: UN Women/Urjasi Rudra

“All of us have come here through different paths. And now are learning about our rights, myths and beliefs that perpetuate violence, and facilitation skills to help us pass on the knowledge to children and young people. Equipped with this training, we will continue towards a path of change – maybe it would be personal change, or changing attitudes in others… maybe we will be able to change laws, help others seek support when they experience violence, influence communities. But there is one thing for sure – there will be change. And we are part of it.”

— Catherine O’Connor, lead trainer with WAGGGS


Photo: UN Women/Urjasi Rudra

“I have a passion for empowering girls and young women and see that they are given the same opportunities as boys and young men.”

— Ivy Nang'oni Nambili Wasike, member of Kenya Girl Guides Association