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Anima: Finding your way around the World Urban Forum is difficult! But all worth the hassle

Thursday, April 10, 2014 - 14:10

This week is World Urban Forum in Colombia and through the week we'll be sharing views from young people inside the walls of the Forum. Today we bring you a post from Anima Poudel. She is 23 years old from Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal and a graduate student of Development Studies. She joined Activista Nepal in 2011 and since then has been an active youth activist. She's especially keen on campaigning for womens rights and fighting for safe cities for women - she has experienced sexual harrasment herself and now fights for a world where other women won't have to!

This is Animas second posts from the World Urban Forum:

Annoying - today also I couldn’t manage to attend the sessions form the beginning, because my hotel is a bit far from the venue. BUT - once I got there it was all worth it! Id did however turn out later that I'd run into a lot of problems trying to find my way aroung this huge event.

Read Animas first post: Anima: A womens rights activist's first day at the World Urban Forum

The first session was of Gender Assembly, Gender Equality and Urban Equity: Contributing the Post 2015 Agenda. A really good session! The hall was almost full with people. The participants were quite enthusiastic and active. Since, the assembly was about women and by the women; I could see the huge mass of the people gathering in the hall, where majority of participants includes women. But the men were also in quite a mass unlike in the conference or sessions that used to take place in Nepal. I like the whole day as I was going and attending the sessions that was focused on women and youth.

I liked how the women are shaping their rights through their voice and doing something for themselves

I was looking for my safe city team but couldn’t find them. Instead I managed to meet my new friend with whom I had managed to become a friends during the Forum. She and her friends were very nice to me and we had a lunch together. It was a great experience for me to have a lunch with someone who hardly speaks or understands any English. But as they say, there is a no language barrier in the friendship. The same happened with me. We were just talking in gestures and sign languages and laughing as if we understood each other better.

After the lunch I went directly to attend the session of UN-women.  The session of Gender Assembly was the continuation of the 1st half. The participants were assigned with some tasks. They were given some questions to answers and make a report on the basis of those questions. The session particularly talked about the strategies that will accelerate the women empowerment and gender equality in the post 2015 Agenda including sustainable development goals and Habitat III. It also talked about the economic empowerment of women. They said that economic empowerment is the powerful tool for development of women. Planning in the city needs women participation, and according to them, we cannot convince policies without budget. Budget is needed to have a policy in reality. Some the other things were also being told but since everything was going so fast I was unable to write down all of it . But whatever things they were mentioning were worth listening and keeping in mind. I really liked this panel may be because I was also part of the gender issue.

The session finished at around 3:30 pm. After that I went to find Vandana and other Safe cities members, but I couldn’t get them. After a while I met them on the exhibition, but again I lost them. I walked around the exhibition by myself looking and searching for my Safe cities team and Government officials from Nepal who were here for the forum, but again I couldn’t find anyone them. It's easy to get lost around here!

So in the meantime, I went to the Grand Salon for the opening ceremony as I was been informed that it was going to held from 6:30 onwards. I was waiting in the queue to get inside but all of a sudden I got information that free tickets have been closed and they are no more available. They said that the ceremony is going to be screened on the big screen which was located on the front yard of the Plaza Mayor main building. I waited there for the ceremony to get opened. Meanwhile I met my Zambian friend in that place. I stayed with them and his team members for a while. We introduced with each other. The people there, informed us that it might take quite a time to open the ceremony - *sigh*! As it was getting really late, I decided that it was probably better to call it a day, get out Plaza Mayor and get a cab back to the hotel.

Finding your way around the World Urban Forum is not an easy task - but all in all the whole day was very busy day and interesting. I'm ready for another day tomorrow!