From El Cairo to Nairobi: META committed to the Human Rights agenda

By Sofi Savoy, Bri Lanzilloto (META Argentina) and Agustina Fazio

25 years ago, a group of activists gathered in El Cairo, to advance in public policies related to population and women’s rights. Less than a month ago, a new generation of activists (among them, Sofi Savoy and Bri Lanzilloto (from META Argentina) gathered in Nairobi, to review those commitments and go on working to conquest new rights. Last Friday, UNFPA invited 50 activists, from both generations, to get together and exchange ideas.

Getting up early in the name of activism

Sofi Savoy left Córdoba at 5 am last Friday, 13th December. Forgetting the popular saying (that she shouldn’t move from home on a Friday 13th), she travelled to Buenos Aires, invited by UNFPA, to be part of this inter-generational dialogue, which was in her own words “a very nice experience, despite I was very tired”

While Sofi left, Bri and Emi were arriving from Panama, where they too had visited UNFPA’s headquarters. That’s why they had spoken with Sofi over the phone, so that she could know about their experience too, and that she could remember the VIP strategy (Visualize, Include, and Participate). We always find ways to work as a network!

The impact of youth and disability

Among the more than 50 activists at the meeting, there were some (few) young people that were already working together with UNFPA about sexual and reproductive rights. They had been previously invited to “Youth Now!” Camp in Mexico (where Sofi Savoy and Flor Ontivero from META participated), and to Nairobi’s Summit in November.

As happened in Mexico, in this meeting Sofi was the only young person with a disability. Her interventions (excellent, and very accurate) were related to accessibility issues in the Human Rights agenda, based in the group work, the experience of other META members, and of course, her own experience being an activist.

She could also share and learn from sexual and reproductive rights activists, who advocate for a free, safe and legal abortion and have become referents both nationally and regionally. “We wanted to propose a dialogue, nearly four weeks after the Nairobi Summit, where there were 9500 referents from more than 170 countries, to review the commitments written in El Cairo, considering the present challenges” said Mariana Isasi (UNFPA Argentina) during her opening speech.

META “on TV”

Because they were clear, accurate and strong, Sofi’s statements in Buenos Aires caused impact. In fact, Mabel Bianco, a doctor and advocate for legal abortion, quoted Sofi during an interview later that afternoon, while she explained the legal abortion protocol: “How sometimes, we speak with words that people with intellectual disabilities do not understand”.

On TV, in local meetings, regional events or global summits, META passes and leaves its message, raising their voice, making themselves protagonists in the fight for their own rights.

As it was said in Nairobi, young people are “not indifferent, nor misinformed, nor dreamy”, and META youth seeks to advocate and participate, committed to gaining their rights and those of the next generation.

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