Zoé Spriet, Human Rights Education Coordinator from Amnesty International Belgium, tells us about Oxfamnesty Day 2013, a successful partnership event focusing on women’s rights held on February 27. Every year AI Belgium organises this action day with Oxfam for their school groups. The topic of the day was ‘Women’s Rights: A struggle here and abroad’, and this year, they mobilized for rape survivors Inés Fernández Ortega and Valentina Rosendo Cantú supported by Amnesty International, and for Selyn, a Sri Lankan women’s organisation involved in fair trade.
246 students between the ages of 14 and 18 attended the day, along with 30 teachers, who were all either a member of an Amnesty, Oxfam, or Oxfamnesty school group. The day started with a “speed dating” activity, which brought people together to share their engagement and activism experiences. After that the interactive conference opened with debates and theatre to present and discuss the notions of sex, stereotypes and discrimination related to gender. Here Amnesty and Oxfam were introduced in the context of their activities related to women’s rights and women’s empowerment.
The students’ workshops that followed the conference were divided into two categories: workshops looking deeper at questions related to women’s rights and women’s empowerment, and practical workshops preparing materials for a march. There were also two workshops for the teachers taking part.
After the workshops, the young people took to the streets in the university town of Louvain-La-Neuve and marched to show their support for women’s rights and to collect signatures in support of Inés and Valentina, and to promote awareness of women’s rights and issues within the town community.