2018: A year of energy, progress and determination
14th December 2018As 2018 draws to a close, we look back with pride, excitement and determination to keep up the incredible momentum of this new movement. 2019 promises to be full of even more progress to a world where SheDecides.
On 2 March 2018, the first anniversary of the initial SheDecides pledging conference in Brussels, the very first global SheDecides Day took place. #SheDecides was trending across the globe and hundreds of driven Champions and Friends created and participated in SheDecides activities in 19 different countries. The Flagship Event in Pretoria, South Africa, hosted by the Ministers from Denmark and South Africa, brought together the global Champions with over 200 Ministers Parliamentarians and young people from across East and Southern Africa.
This event, highlighted that SheDecides truly is a global political movement, with community support, and young people at its heart. And as the year progressed, Local Movements began to spring up across the continent with SheDecides Uganda, SheDecides Southern Africa, SheDecides RDC (Republique Democratqiue du Congo/Democratic Republic of the Congo) all starting to take shape, and plans well advanced in many other countries including Kenya, Lesotho and Namibia. These build on the 1st ever local movement, launched in India in March 2018 SheDecides Philippines is also gathering pace, and we see sparks in the Arab region and Latin America, too.
The family of SheDecides Champions continued to expand. In July, as 10,000+ people gathered in Amsterdam for AIDS 2018, five new Champions came on board: Hon. Minister Dr Bernard Haufiku (Namibia), Dr Hatsumi Taniguchi (international confederation of Midwives), Princess Mabel van Oranje (Girls Not Brides), Senait Fisseha (Susan Thompson Buffet Foundation) and Vuyiseka Dubula (Stellenbosch University & TAC, South Africa). A couple of short months later, as global leaders met in New York for the UN General Assembly, the third ever SheDecides Champions’ meeting welcomed Hon. Minister Marlene Schiappa, France’s Minister of State for Gender Equality to join the 13 Ministers who serve among the 41 ambassadors of the SheDecides movement.
Across the globe there were many major milestones in 2018. A couple stand out: Ireland's decision to repeal the eighth amendment to their constitution was a bold, progressive move – paving the way for legal and safe abortion in the country; the SADC (Southern Africa Development Community) Health Ministers, led by SheDecides Champions Namibia’s Minister Bernard Haufiku and South Africa’s Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, agreed a new sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) strategy and scorecard, that will assist the 16 countries to improve health, reduce mortality and realise the rights of all citizens – especially girls and women. The Scorecard is closely aligned to the SheDecides manifesto and requires governments to report annually on progress.
And it was a big year for the movement as a whole: building for the future by setting in place a governance structure, which then went on to select its first Chair and Vice Chair - Tikhala Itaye and Lilianne Ploumen MP – agreed a strategy for the future, with a 3-year costed workplan that has now been supported by 3 donors to the SDSU: Belgium, Denmark and a large anonymous donor. The SDSU is the team that supports the global SheDecides movement and was incubated by CIFF, very generous donors to the movement since early 2017. Now the SDSU has moved to be hosted by IPPF, and a new permanent SDSU is being recruited, Watch out for exciting announcements next year!
And so, as we proceed head first into 2019 – the collective efforts of all SheDecides Champions and Friends will continue around the clock, all year round, to get to a world where SheDecides. Everyday. Everywhere. Without question.