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Meet the Girl Achieving #EqualPowerNow

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Girls' Rights

“I’m interested in motivating other girls so they can be empowered, gain self-confidence, lose their fear and be comfortable and not be ashamed to express their views. And express how they feel about things, especially political issues,” says Yordana.

Yordana is 12 years old and is making a great impact in her community of Ascension de Guarayos, a municipality of Santa Cruz, in Bolivia. Her main focus is on ending violence against women and girls through educating her peers, especially girls. She also wants to see more discussion on the issue with children at home.

“With violence against women, I think education begins at home. Boys should be educated so that they respect girls and girls should know how to make themselves respected and get people to respect them. I want to break stereotypes and put an end to violence,” says Yordana.

Gaining Skills Through Plan International

Before becoming involved with Plan International in Bolivia, Yordana says she did not know much about violence against women. Her classmates and school principal encouraged her to join the Girls Get Equal campaign, and it became a passion of hers.

Through her involvement with Plan International, Yordana is also part of the Camino a Casa project which is part of a programme called Choose and Demand Your Rights. The programme works to strengthen the leadership skills of girls and young women so they can take more control of their lives.

This includes understanding their sexual and reproductive rights, preventing teenage pregnancies, standing up against gender-based violence & human trafficking and strengthening youth networks to have a greater voice and participation in decision making processes that affect them.

Yordana 12 from Bolivia is a girls' rights advocate
Yordana is child mayor of her municipal in Bolivia

Yordana is also interested in carrying out political advocacy actions, such as accompanying the Municipal Mayor in some of the municipal activities, since she was appointed as a junior mayoress. She uses that as an opportunity to speak out against violence towards women and girls at events that they have, as well as any events she does with Plan International.

She wants to encourage more girls to get involved in political issues by influencing and advocating for them. “I’m interested in motivating other girls so they can be empowered, gain self-confidence, lose their fear and be comfortable and not be ashamed to express their views and how they feel about things, especially political issues,” says Yordana.

Yordana enjoys taking part in workshops with the support of Plan International and tells other youth about their rights, such as their right to protection against violence.

When it comes to people accepting a young girl like her speaking in a political space, Yordana says they are very surprised to see her, but also positive. “It’s only really this year that we have been given the space to take part and have a voice in politics and that’s thanks to the influential work Plan International did with authorities to convince them to give girls a space to express themselves,” she says.

Breaking Stereotypes

Yordana is also being recognised by her community as a young and influential leader. She was recently awarded a scholarship from the Utepsa University in Santa Cruz, as a result of the contact between Plan International and the university.

“I live in a rural province and it’s hard for us to study in higher education,” explains Yordana. “This is a grant they awarded me for when I finish secondary school. I’ve only just started secondary school, but the grant is there for waiting for me so I can do a university degree later.”

That degree will be in psychology she says. “I’ve been able to talk to professional psychologists and that has motivated me to do the degree. And I think studying psychology will help me talk to other girls who have been psychologically damaged, because it’s not just physical abuse that they suffer, but psychological violence and that degree will help me in the future to help them.”

Yordana plans to continue working with Plan International in Bolivia saying that she enjoys the work they do together and the changes they are making, mainly for women and girls.