Wednesday, 16 May 2012
From Platform 51 to World YWCA
We track Marcia Banasko's incredible journey!
Marcia Banasko is an extraordinary young woman on a mission. She is going places - both metaphorically and physically. Her passion ..... the role, place and ultimate empowerment of young women in the world. Her personal challenge ....fighting the war of inequality and helping to change global attitudes and culture in relation to young women and their ability to be a powerful force for change. Every inch a young a woman and leader - as well as dynamic, go-getting and articulate - Marcia is wholly focused on her life goal of helping young women across the world. Her secret dream ... working for a leading women's organisation such as UN Women.
So where can Marcia be found today? Right now, she is a communications intern at the global HQ of World YWCA - Platform 51's parent organisation - based in the heart of Geneva. Marcia arrived in Geneva fresh from Platform 51 in Knowsley in the UK where she was a project worker working with young women and girls. Steeped in running development workshops for young women as well as overseeing the young women's radio talk show she had developed at KCC Live, Marcia was already successful with a degree in international development from the University of Liverpool behind her.
In her role as Platform 51 project worker, Marcia flew to Zurich in July 2011 to attend the World YWCA Council and International Women's Summit. She formed part of the YWCA GB delegation which included three Platform 51 service users besides herself. [As an aside, one of those same service users, Kayleigh Devlin, went on to become our first service user Platform 51 Trustee, taking up her appointment in April 2012! It must be something about Zurich!]. For Marcia, her time in Zurich triggered an interest in applying for the World YWCA Geneva internship programme. Life moved fast after that as by last October Marcia had heard her application was successful and by December 2011 she was successfully kicking off a year's internship as a Communications Programme Associate in Geneva.
On a day-to-day basis, Marcia's communications role at World YWCA encompasses primarily content development for the website and the global newsletter 'Common Concern' as well as social media management. But that's not all ...! Since arriving in Geneva - where she has had a little time to learn French, bar hop, visit vineyards and go skiing in the mountains - Marcia has also taken part in CEDAW [the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women] in Geneva and spoken on a panel at CSW [the Commission on the Status of Women] in New York. Whilst in New York, she also led the Young Women's Caucus which is the young women's focus and lobbying group at CSW. Not only that, Marcia recently had the extraordinary opportunity to be part of the World YWCA team in Nepal at the World YWCA Asian Young Women's Leadership training. Read more about Marcia's trip to Nepal here. Attending a European rights training event in Prague in the Autumn is also on the cards before Marcia completes her internship this December.
On a final point, one key insight has really struck Marcia during her time in Geneva. The poignant realisation that whatever the language, skin, or country, young women all over the world have strong similarities. They are the same people with the same thoughts and feelings, just living in different circumstances. While in Nepal, Marcia came across girls who had sadly experienced domestic violence and gathered the strength to do something about it. She was able to draw direct comparisons with the cases of young women she had met in Liverpool who were also victims of domestic violence. This realisation must also have helped the young women in Nepal who would at least be able to feel that they were not alone in their struggles and could draw strength from realising the significance of their own personal strength in these distressing circumstances
And so what's next for the intrepid Marcia? A natural next step for Marcia is to fulfil her ambition to study gender and development at the LSE in 2013. Developing her communications career and building on the communications expertise she has gathered while in Geneva is also a must-do. Platform 51 wishes Marcia the very best of success in her career plans for 2013! We are fully confident she will do a fantastic job whatever she does! Bonne chance Marcia! Working for UN Women is not far off!
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