2017 International Women’s Day at UVU
Two of main goals of the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs a Utah Valley University (UVU) (www.utahimf.org) are to sponsor events which raise awareness of sustainable mountain development (SMD) topics and bring the public into contact with international guests and foreign dignitaries. We were able to combine these two goals on March 6, 2017, by bringing special guest U.S Ambassador Elieen Malloy to UVU ( see: www.utahimf.org/archives/2655) and involving her in a gender-related project, one of the sustainable development goals we as the UIMF focus on. Ambassador Malloy promoted variety of projects with focus on women and mountain families in particular during her time as US Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan (1994-97) as well as other diplomatic postings in such countries in Central Asia as Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. Therefore, it was natural for her to get involved in activities during the visit to UVU with focus on women.
(Left to right): Kathryn Johnson, Assistant Director of Women’s Services, Dr. Anne R. Wairepo, Sr. Director of Women’s Services and Director of the Women’s Success Center, Ambassador Eileen Malloy, and Regan Warner at the International Women’s Day Event.
UVU celebrated International Women’s Day with a number of events put on by the UVU Women’s Success Center (https://www.uvu.edu/wsc/ ) One of them was an opportunity for students and faculty to participate in assembling Days for Girls hygiene kits. The mission of the NGO Days for Girls is “Creating a more dignified, free and educated world through access to lasting feminine hygiene solutions.” (https://www.daysforgirls.org/ ) Since 2008, Days for Girls has reached girls in over 101 countries and since 2015 over 108,880 girls have received hygiene kits. The impact of these efforts has been incredible. For example, absence rates for girls in schools. in Kenya has dropped from 25% to 3% and in Uganda from 36% to 8%.
UIMF members are familiar with Days for Girls and its President Celeste Mergens: they hosted Celeste as keynote presenter during the fourth international Women of the Mountains Conference under the umbrella of the United Nations Mountain Partnership at UVU in October 7-9, 2015. After that UIMF members participated at Days for Girls presentation as parallel event during the 60th session of the United Nations Commission on Status of Women (CSW) on March 2016 in New York. They also hope to work together during the 61st session of the CSW in New York on March 20-23, 2017.
Members of the UIMF were able to attend the Days for Girls event together with U.S Ambassador Eileen Malloy. We were greeted by leaders of the Women’s Success Center, including Dr. Anne Waipero, the Senior Director of the Women’s Success Center and Women’s Services at UVU, as well as Utah representatives of Days for Girls among others who instructed us on how to create the hygiene kits and of the many accomplishments of the Days for Girls organization. Following this, the members as well as Ambassador Malloy helped put together numerous Days for Girls hygiene kits to be sent to girls in Samoa. These kits included eight absorbent tri-fold pads, one washcloth, one drawstring bag, two one-gallon size Ziploc freezer bags, two moisture barrier shields, one travel-size soap, a two pairs of panties, and a visual instruction sheet. These kits are designed to last up to three years, allowing girls all around the world to continue their education uninterrupted and in safety.
It was an honor for UIMF members to participate in this event hosted by UVU Women’s Success Center, which supports students’ efforts in hosting the international Women of the Mountains Conferences as major grass-roots gathering in North America to promote gender and SMD agendas of the United Nations since 2007. We were able to contribute to the celebration of women around the world and invest our time to their education. Additionally, it was a great opportunity to involve Ambassador Malloy in this effort and demonstrate to her the importance of women issues to the students and faculty here at Utah Valley University.
Regan Warner, Vice President, Sustainable Mountain Development Club
STUDENT REFLECTIVE ESSAYS