Welcome to the Twenty-Ninth YWCA World Council
Once every four years member associations of the World YWCA gather together for the World Council meeting. The World Council is the highest decision and policy-making body of the global movement of the YWCA. This year, the 29th World Council will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 17 to 22 November 2019. It is expected that between 300 and 500 delegates and observers from different countries across the world will take part in this most important meeting in the life of the YWCA movement!
The YWCA World Council, apart from being a governance meeting, is also other things. It provides an opportunity for collective discernment of the global situation and how the YWCA can creatively and more effectively address global challenges. It offers a space for mutual learning and the sharing of stories. It is a space to build community, nurture friendships and develop new leaders. Adding all this together, the World Council has the power to regenerate the worldwide movement of the YWCA, strengthen its impact at community, national and global levels and transform lives.
This virtual site will accompany the journey to World Council and serve a number of purposes:
- Provide an overview of the World Council process – before, during and after World Council;
- Facilitate the registration of delegates;
- Serve as a repository of information, programmatic and logistical;
- Enable access to World Council documents and resources;
- Invite sponsorships and donations for World Council, and
- Give the latest news on the preparations and a preview of what awaits those travelling to South Africa for the 29th YWCA World Council.
Welcome to the 29th YWCA World Council!
The Twenty-Ninth World Council will be held at the Birchwood Hotel and OR Tambo Conference Center, from 17 to 22 November 2019 (arrivals on 16 November and first departures late afternoon on 22 November). Between 300 and 500 delegates, observers, guests and other participants are expected to attend, with the YWCA of South Africa and the World YWCA jointly hosting this major gathering in the life of the global YWCA movement.
- Fulfill all the tasks required of World Council as provided in the Constitution. These are:
- To accept the minutes of the previous World Council meeting
- To accept the report of the World Board on its activities and the management of funds since the previous World Council meeting
- To accept the report of the General Secretary
- To approve the report of the Treasurer on the budget framework and affiliation fees until the next World Council meeting
- To approve the rules of procedure for the World Council meeting
- To approve policies, guidelines and resolutions until the next World Council meeting
- To conduct elections for the World Board members including Officers, and the Nominations Committee
- To provide opportunities for mutual learning and exchange between member associations
- To deal with other business.
- Undertake a collective reflection on the theme of the 29th World Council, in relation to the internal and external challenges that confront the YWCA and young women in particular.
- Ensure the full integration of young women in the programme and process of the 29th World Council.
- Celebrate faith through prayer, song and liturgies that strengthen community and solidarity among World Council delegates and participants.
- Engage World Council delegates and participants in a discussion on the state of the YWCA movement and its purpose.
- Facilitate the sharing of knowledge and skills between member associations through workshops.
- Learn about South Africa, its history, culture as well as the challenges its women face through inputs, face to face interactions and creative presentations.
The theme chosen for the 29th World Council is “Young Women Transforming Power Structures for Gender Equality.” This theme is rooted in Goal 2035 which was adopted by the delegates at the 2015 World Council in Bangkok. This goal states that:
“By 2035, 100 million young women and girls transform power structures to create justice, gender equality and a world without violence and war; leading a sustainable YWCA movement, inclusive of all women.”
Unlike previous World Council meetings, the 29th World Council will not start with a Young Women’s Forum. The hope is that young women’s voices and leadership will be built into the core framework of the World Council programme. In order to ensure that young women delegates can participate actively in business sessions, a training and orientation session for youth delegates, the Council’s Rules of Procedure will be organized on the first day of World Council.
World YWCA Council is a space for mutual learning and the sharing of stories. It is a space to build community, nurture friendships and develop new leaders, under the theme: “Young Women Transforming Power Structures for Gender Equality.”
The logo for the 29th World YWCA Council was inspired by the calabash as a symbol for more unity, celebration and solidarity. Calabash is the term used for artefacts made from the hard shell of a fruit in the gourd family that is commonly used in the African region. Hollowed-out and dried, calabashes are a typical utensil in households. They are used to clean rice, carry water, and as food containers. Smaller sizes are used as bowls to drink palm wine, and in other regions in Africa, they are used as instruments.
Acknowledging that the calabash may come in different shapes, the design was conceptual rather than literal, and it suggests a divergent perspective of the calabash viewing it from the top. The design also seeks to be bold, simple, clean, smart and dynamic, while capturing other African elements like traditional wear and fabrics.
At the same time, the circular design symbolizes – focus, cycles, unity, wholeness, centring and revolution.
The palette of colours used are a combination of vibrant warm and earth colours, and existing ones that are part of the current World YWCA branding.
The development of this creative process was only possible thanks to the support of our honorary host association, the YWCA of South Africa, the feedback provided by the World YWCA Global Communication Group when selecting the final design, and the talent, skills and commitment of graphic artist Olivia from Sri Lanka, who you may reach to by clicking here.
The programme of the 29th World Council will have five main components:
- Governance and business sessions
- Thematic plenary sessions
- Thematic and skill building workshops
- Worship and morning prayer
- Zenzele marketplace
- Opening and closing ceremonies
Business sessions of the World Council will be guided by the Council’s Ways of Work and Rules of Procedure which is updated and approved on the first business session of the Council.
The thematic and skill building sessions will make use of participatory and creative methodologies and will be held in plenary and small groups. Skill building sessions will mainly be in the form of workshops offered by member associations.
Worship will take place every morning and will be organized around different themes. It will be participatory, creative and reflect the diversity of the worldwide movement in terms of songs, languages, prayers and symbols.
The Zenzele marketplace will be a multi-purpose space where local artisans and YWCAs can showcase their work and products for offering and selling to the delegates and participants, a safe-space for youth delegates to meet and share stories, an open space for engaging with members of the local YWCA, for networking with other participants and hanging out for a relaxing conversation and coffee.
The opening and closing ceremonies will be jointly organized by the South Africa YWCA and the World YWCA. The opening ceremony will be a formal event where delegates are expected to dress in their national costume.
This year, during World Council in Ekurhuleni, near Johannesburg South Africa, two rounds of 9 parallel thematic and skills-building workshops are expected to be offered to attendees as part of the programme. The topics of the workshops will be tied to the theme of Council both in content and form and essentially speak to the practical ways in which Goal 2035 can come to life.
Thus, as priority, the workshops are intended to cover:
- existing tools, real-life experiences and replicable practices on activating young women’s leadership to have the confidence to drive change in communities, countries, regions and/or globally, wherever power structures present a challenge for young women to fully utilise their agency in all matters affecting their lives now and in the future.
- existing and developing approaches to the consultation, knowledge/capacity enhancement and mobilisation of young women leaders as advocates and drivers of coalitions and campaigns to address issues that hinder the full realisation of rights and leave power structures unchecked
- Theoretical and practical ways of engagement with young women within and beyond the YWCA where young women and women can support and learn from each other meaningfully, where young women’s leadership is central to expanding reach, where membership as a concept is revitalised, and multiple entry points are considered.
The starting point for a number of the workshops will be an existing tool, approach or way that can be adapted, replicated and has been proven to create positive impact and change when used. In their form, all workshops will be interactive and led or co-led by young women from across the movement. In their content scope, workshops will find their source in outcomes from the last survey of Member Associations, developments since the last Council and in the accumulated findings and ongoing work across programmes, funded initiatives, campaigns, as well as the ongoing analysis of trends and opportunities that impact the YWCA movement. There will be workshops on operational and governance topics where data points to areas that present opportunities for improvement for national and local associations.
In terms of process, the World Office will have an overview of workshops with opportunities to contribute shared with all Member Associations by end of August. In the meantime, we do wish to encourage Member Associations and YWCA individuals who may have workshop proposals in mind that speak to any or all of the above 3 listed priority items to send their proposals by 30 July to firstname.lastname@example.org that their input can be considered and discussed early on.
Zenzele is a Xhosa and Zulu word which means “self-reliance.” For the YWCA of South Africa, Zenzele carries a much deeper meaning rooted in their history and in the empowerment of black women. During the apartheid era in South Africa, black women were excluded in the YWCA. This exclusion, however, did not stop them from organizing themselves and mobilizing other black women and establishing their own YWCA which they called “Zenzele”. By naming the YWCA Zenzele, they were declaring their freedom and independence to do what they thought best at the time, to struggle against apartheid and empower black women in their communities through Zenzele. They had only themselves to rely on and that was enough.
At the 29th World Council, we shall capture the spirit of Zenzele at the “marketplace” (which shall be called Zenzele) – a place to meet as a community to share stories, exhibit our work, marvel at the arts and crafts of South Africa, to sing and dance, to cry and protest, to make friends and celebrate our sisterhood. More specifically, Zenzele will offer the following:
- A marketplace where arts and crafts from South Africa and YWCAs may be exhibited, offered as gifts or sold
- A storytelling space which will feature women storytellers from South Africa and across the world
- A healing space to benefit from healing practices from South Africa.
- A youth space for youth delegates to meet, conduct their own activities and hang-out
- A networking and dialogue space for those seeking partners for their work
- A space to accommodate spontaneous actions and activities
In order to give life to Zenzele, Member Associations are invited to participate through the following ways:
- Reserve a space on which to exhibit the work of your YWCA and chat with delegates and participants who might be interested to meet with you
- Contribute a story
- Share a healing practice to those who might be interested or in need of healing
- Mount an exhibition on a theme that is close to the heart of your YWCA
Fill in the Zenzele proposal form below and submit to email@example.com no later than 15 August 2019.
Are you planning to bring in food, textile, arts and crafts to South Africa as part of your contribution to the marketplace? If so, please be aware of South African customs requirements: https://www.sars.gov.za/ClientSegments/Customs-Excise/Travellers/Pages/Arrival-in-SA.aspx
Submit this form to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 15 August 2019. You will hear from us in September regarding your proposal. If accepted, we shall offer a space for your activity/proposal and provide minimum logistics. Set-up for the Zenzele Marketplace is on 17 November 2019 between 12:30 and 14:30.