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G(irls)20 Summit: What's Your Number?

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I am so happy to be the delegate representing the African Union (AU) at the G(irl)s20 Summit in Mexico. I am thankful to the summit for selecting me as the delegate for Cameroon to represent the AU this year. The G(irls)20 Summit delegates are 21 young women coming together to be catalysts for change. The 2012 G(irls)20 Summit delegates will discuss how girls and women can help solve some of the world's greatest challenges, work together to develop tangible solutions and participate in various workshops addressing financial literacy, media relations, problem solving, and how to utilize social media and technology to communicate globally. I see the G(irls)20 Summit as a tremendous opportunity to collaborate and create dynamic, innovative plans for the future of women and girls. I am constantly trying to change the world for the better and determined to contribute to the G(irls)20 Summit with the aim of developing peace and gender equality around the world, an opportunity to raise my voice on behalf of the women of my country. I hope to absorb as much inspiration and knowledge as possible with my endless passion for women's rights around the world. I will have the opportunity to add my voice to the discussion around solutions that can literally change the world during the summit. The 2012 G(irls)20 Summit will focus on the opportunity gained in terms of strategically engaging women in agriculture and the opportunity lost as a result of violence against women (domestic, workplace and sex trafficking).

My number is 24,985 and I call on all girls, boys, women and men for support of girls and women globally through the What's Your Number Campaign. There are 3.5 billion girls and women in the world. That means there are 3.5 billion ways to change the world. Find out how you can make your NUMBER count. Girls and women have the potential to play a pivotal role in building communities and countries and being catalysts for economic progress around the globe. Women are changing the face of philanthropy. At the end of the G(irls)20 Summit I will be mentored, supported and empowered to live up to my commitments and make social change a reality in my home country, Cameroon.

Economic and political empowerment mean for the women of my country: recognizing them on the basis of inherent human dignity as legally equal to men (giving all women the right to vote); advocating and mobilizing; giving women a political voice (raising awareness through all available mediums on women's right to equal representation in politics and economics and undertaking national awareness campaigns to break gender stereotypes associated with science, technology, engineering and math, STEM); actively pursuing a higher percentage of female representation in decision-making and investing in women as important economic drivers (implementing special temporary measures if necessary to ensure fair and adequate female representation in senior public sector and economic positions). This will increase productivity gains and increased GDP, which are directly linked to increased number of women in the labor force.

Acknowledge the economic contribution of women, protect their human rights, provide legal advocacy channels and regulate their working conditions. Changing the societal perspective that girls and women are inferior to boys and men defined by their bodies and their motherhood, and encouraging girls and women in challenging that perspective would reduce the double burden and open up opportunities. Create role model mentorship programs by encouraging and incentivizing those who have achieved secondary or post-secondary education to return to their communities as mentors. Support venture capital and angel investing in women's initiatives, incentivizing women to return to their home country after foreign education, support microfinance initiatives for women, provide incentives for companies that have better gender equality programs and/or expand to remote or poor areas. Women and girls need to be empowered because their empowerment leads to healthier families, innovative economies and stable countries. Empowered women contribute to the health and productivity of whole families and communities and improved prospects for the next generation.

As an inspiring young leader, I founded StopAIDS, which is a Nongovernmental Organization with mission to empower young leaders with skills, knowledge, resources and opportunities they need to scale up HIV/AIDS interventions amongst their peers. StopAIDS' main work is focused on: Health reproductive rights HIV/AIDS, research, community development, capacity-building and technical assistance; networking and sharing of best practices; political advocacy, women empowerment, outreach education, volunteering. It supports community responses to HIV/AIDS through community capacity strengthening and in-depth partnerships in order for communities to reduce HIV/AIDS incidences, improve access and adherence to treatment, provide adequate care and support, and mitigate the impact of the epidemic.

StopAIDS supports and promotes human rights at the local, national, regional, and global levels. Its vision is to help build a community in which new HIV infections are rare, and where those already living with HIV have the support they need to live healthy and fulfilling lives. It recognizes and tackles the underlying factors such as socioeconomic and gender inequalities, which make communities and individuals vulnerable. It also embraces, promotes strengths, ideas and power inherent in communities to resolve their own problems and improve their lives. StopAIDS in 2011 carried out projects on HIV/AIDS sensitization and screening alongside capacity building seminars, workshops to advance youth advocacy to more than 150 rural youth's initiatives. Currently, StopAIDS is working in partnership with community-based organizations and national advocacy and networking partners in five regions in Cameroon.

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