I had the pleasure of co-presenting a side event to the CSW titled “Sharing Knowledge – Joining Forces – Gaining Power” at the Permanent Mission of Austria to the United Nations sponsored by the Austrian Minister for Women and Civil Service and co-organized by IFUW.
Julia Günther (WIDE/facilitator) said in her opening remarks that mentoring was a very important tool for sharing knowledge and experiences. She further emphasized that in this process mentors and mentees learn mutually from each other.
Sonya Höstman (IFUW) presented the “European Mentor Programme”, where she was the coordinator, and emphasized that learning never stops. Co-Panelist Marie-Claudine Mukamabano (Kuki Ndiho Foundation) added her personal point of view: family members acting as mentors. After fleeing the horrors of Rwanda, she became a mentor for Rwandan orphans.
Daniela Reiter (IAW/ NGO CSW Vienna), who is the founder of the mentoring project “genderize!” at the National Youth Council of Austria, explained the meaning and benefits of mentoring. She observed that mentoring is a tool to encourage networking in order to join forces and to become stronger as women– regardless of age, country of origin or social background and that it is important to promote an intergenerational dialogue.
A lively discussion followed the panelist statements and everybody agreed that especially at the CSW it is vital to find your way around quickly to be able to participate immediately in a more effective and meaningful way.
Co-organizing this side event at the CSW showed me once again that intergenerational dialogue is vital to make advocacy successful and sustainable, to motivate and support new NGO representatives to become more deeply involved at the CSW and to advocate women’s networks.
It was wonderful having such a diverse audience from around the world and different generations!
Catharina Grau (Austria)
IFUW Representative to the UN in New York