From where I stand: The youth are the agents of change — Carrietta Goye

Carrietta Goye is a human rights defender based in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea


Author: Aidah Nanyonjo


Carrietta Goye. Photo: UN Women
Carrietta Goye. Photo: UN Women

My passion for human rights partly dates back to my childhood days. Together with my siblings we grew up watching our parents arguing most of the time. My mum suffered both financial and verbal abuse. I did not like what was going on, but I did not know how to help.

There are so many human rights violations and abuse happening every day in the community. Some of them we witness them in our homes, as we pass by on the road, with our neighbours and even in offices. The roots of the violent behaviour have been in part attributed to social and cultural norms. And due to lengthy court processes and inadequate knowledge about where to access services to help with gender-based violence (GBV), most women suffer in silence, making GBV an accepted norm in the community, with no one daring to condemn it.

After completing my university egree in Social Sciences, I got a job with a civil society organization where I interacted a lot with survivors of GBV. I have received several trainings from UN Women and other stakeholders, which helped to understand human rights issues and abuses especially those affecting women and girls. With the knowledge and skills, I have gained over time, I guide women on their rights and responsibilities, counsel and refer GBV survivors to services such as police and safe houses. My work on defending the rights of women goes beyond the office. Some women find me at home on weekends and after office work. I also work with fellow youths to recruit more human rights defenders, whom we mentor or train to become role models in the communities.

The future of the country rests in the hands of the young people. As youth, we need to use our voices to speak up. We are the agents of change, and the future generation. If you see something wrong in your home, communities, and even government, speak up. If we don’t do something today, then we may lose it forever.

We also need serious investments in youth interventions, focusing on behavioural change. Children grow up witnessing violence in their homes and communities, which results in them perpetuating the injustices in their own lives. Communities need productive youths who can lead communities in a just and dignified way. If we cannot raise good citizens today, what will our country be look like in the next 30 to 50 years? Parents should give time to their children and educate them about peace because where there is peace and unity, there is righteousness in the community."

SDG 5: Gender equality

Women and girls, everywhere, must have equal rights and opportunity, and be able to live free of violence and discrimination. Women’s equality and empowerment is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, but also integral to all dimensions of inclusive and sustainable development. In short, all the SDGs depend on the achievement of Goal 5.