Global Citizen's Action Taker of the Week: Palesa Mokoenanyane from Johannesburg

Author: Lerato Mogoatlhe

Courtesy of Palesa Mokoenanyane

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Global Citizen action takers like Palesa Mokoenanyane have secured commitments that are set to affect millions of lives, bringing the world a step closer towards ending extreme poverty by 2030. Join the movement and take actions here.

The collective actions of Global Citizens around the world have resulted in world leaders and policymakers making more than 100 commitments aimed at ending extreme poverty by 2030.

These commitments, worth $48.4 billion to date, bolster initiatives and policies that support girls and women, education, health care, innovation, climate action, and human rights for marginalised groups of people.

They are set to affect 880 million lives.

Palesa Mokoenanyane is a Johannesburg-based financial administrator who is passionate about girls' and women’s rights. The 29-year-old has been taking action with Global Citizen since 2018, and believes that gender equality is the key to ending extreme poverty.

She told us how she became a Global Citizen and why it’s so important to take action.

When did you become a Global Citizen?

I became a Global Citizen sometime in 2018 when Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 was launched in South Africa to honour Nelson Mandela’s centenary. The radio show I was listening to had Naomi Campbell and other Global Citizen ambassadors in the studio. They were talking about the organisation and the kind of impact Global Citizen wants to make by ending extreme poverty by 2030. I thought it was amazing and wanted to be part of the movement.

Why did you become a Global Citizen?

Joining Global Citizen was the opportunity for me to take actions, along with many other people, [to support equality]. I believed that issues that Global Citizen targeted ... resonated with me quite a lot, in particular [the ones connected to] women and girls, who continue to be disproportionately affected by poverty.

I wanted to speak up for them so that we can achieve gender equality. I also wanted to speak against gender-based violence.

Do you remember the first action you took?

I can’t remember but I have been tweeting. I also worked with Global Citizen on the menstrual health management campaign that called on the government to prioritise free access to menstrual products. I’m featured in the video for the It’s Bloody Time campaign. It was sent out on Twitter for the attention of President Cyril Ramaphosa.

That was the most memorable action I’ve taken. I believe that as young women, we need better sexual health [care] ... young men as well.

We need to destigmatise menstruation. We need to know that it’s OK to be on your period. No one has to be ashamed by it and everyone should have access to the menstrual products they need.

Why do you believe that we should all be Global Citizens?

I’m passionate about social justice because I feel as though we are all equals and we should have equal opportunities. I also believe that we cannot live in a world where the line between the rich and the poor is so big. We need to close that gap.

We need to come together as a community of Global Citizens and help end this [inequality and extreme poverty], and if all come together, and take actions, I truly believe that we can end global poverty.

What Global Citizen areas are you most interested in?

The education of the girl child, and sexual and reproductive health rights. They are the biggest issues that resonate with me as an individual. Most of the actions I take on Global Citizen support these issues.

Has taking action with Global Citizen inspired you in your daily life?

It has. I take more actions to support causes that I believe [in], like menstrual health. At the moment I am taking action [on my own] to support people whose homes were destroyed by the floods that swept across Gauteng between Dec. 9 and 11. I believe that if each one of us makes even one small contribution, we really can make a huge impact.

*Answers have been edited slightly for clarity.

"Action Taker of the Week" is a new Global Citizen series that focuses on the everyday Global Citizens taking action around the world. We’ll be featuring a Q&A with a new action taker every week. You can start taking action here

Want to be the first to know about updates and conversations about our campaigns and advocacy? Join our community of action takers in our Facebook group here.