The National Union of Eritrean Women (NUEW) recently organized panel discussions and seminars on a broad range of women’s issues. One event that fascinated the audience is the discussion by a panel of young women known as the Young Female Professional’s Team (YFPT). The team is a group of fifty people who are lawyers, political scientists, social workers, marine biologists, engineers, health professionals, journalists, members of NUEW and PFDJ, teachers and workers of other governmental institutions.
The rapid increase in the number of girls going to college is resulting in an increase in the number of young female professionals. That is what led in 2017 to the inception of the idea to form YFPT by a group of five young female professionals with the intention to create a platform that brings together female professionals to share their experiences. Another motive for the formation of YFPT was the realization that it is crucial for the young women professionals to work together to have the desired outcomes in their work. In November 2018 the team of young female professionals submitted a proposal for their formal establishment and in 2019 YFPT was officially established under the umbrella of the NUEW.
The founding members of YFPT were volunteers working on women’s issues in their respective workplaces. They mainly focus on how young female professionals become empowered and transform their communities and contribute to the national development. YFPT’s mission is to amplify women’s role in society, and with the help of the NUEW, it organizes seminars and other activities once or twice a year.
With an increase in its membership YFPT’s activities also increased, leading YFPT to be organized into four teams: training, research, communication and counselling. The training team is responsible for making arrangements to give courses regarding current and women’s issues. The research team engages in research and presents the results for an open discussion. It also brings research papers done by others and uses it for awareness raising and to trigger discussion. The communication team, which mostly comprises media professionals, engages in disseminating the activities of YFPT. The counselling team is responsible for the provision of counselling services both for members of YFPT and others who seek advice and guidance. Members of the counselling team are mostly lawyers, health professionals and social workers.
YFPT’s most important target group is female students at all levels of education. It helps them to be knowledgeable about different aspects of life and share their experiences. It provides space for female students to discuss girls’ issues openly and proposes solutions for social problems and barriers. Students become mentally and socially conscious about their environments and are motivated to focus on their education with the information they get from YFPT. The ultimate goal of the team is to recruit very responsible and resilient young female students who can help in bringing about vibrant change in the development of the nation.
Members of YFPT are also obliged to serve young female workers, the second target group, by organizing seminars and courses at the targeted groups’ workplaces. Young female professionals face challenges at the workplace because of their gender in relation to, particularly, marriage and the bearing of children. These issues are said to prevent women from professional development, and YFPT is expected to serve as a platform for discussion with a view to finding lasting solutions to the challenges and problems.
Stay-at-home mothers are the third target group, and YFPT gives them counselling services and seminars at their administrative areas on issues of women and gender. Enlightened mothers produce an educated community, and their engagement helps consolidate the unity in their communities, which results in having shared visions.
YFPT organizes seminars and awareness raising programs in schools, Sawa and colleges. It also works in partnership with government institutions such as the ministries of Education, Information and Health, the Commission of Sport and Culture and NUEW on capacity building programs.
YFPT receives positive feedback from students and women, and the community generally tends to support their motive. This encourages the team members to carry on as they sense the change they are bringing about.
As women’s issues are not the concern of only women but the whole community, YFPT is open to anyone who is willing to contribute. It plans to continue to work to increase its membership and the capacity building courses for its members. YFPT’s vision is to bring together women in all walks of life and work to end discrimination and harmful practices that prevent them from realizing their dreams and to be able to sustain the already achieved development goals.