Harnessing the Power of the African Girl

Personal focus is on specific areas where collective efforts could close the gaps in how African leaders address these issues. The initiative is grounded in the belief that all African leaders can achieve more by building alliances across sectors; being proactive on reducing adolescent girls’ vulnerabilities; and harnessing the capacity of women and girls to take charge of their own lives. Extensive consultation has identified three key areas of intervention where African leaders has the strategic ability to make a significant positive impact:

FOCUS ON THREE KEY AREAS

✓ Get every girl in to school and learning
✓ Prevent and respond to gender-based violence
✓ Ensure adolescent girls have access to health services

Every girl into school and learning
Image: Twitter/UNICEF

 

GET EVERY GIRL IN TO SCHOOL AND LEARNING

Where We Are

In most industrialized states, there is what it calls a “reverse gender gap,” where boys drop out of school or get lower grades than girls. But in some parts of Africa, the situation is reversed. Donor countries weren’t interested in putting money into education in developing countries because of the lack of immediately visible results.

What We Need….

is investment in education. It is actually much better value because it’s part of the social setup which actually goes together with the economic factors.

How We’ll Do It

✓ Advocate universal free basic education.
✓ Work with the communities involved and prove that to send a girl [to school] is not going against the religious beliefs.

PREVENT AND RESPOND TO GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE

 

Where We Are

Despite increasing awareness and an existing set of global policies, violence against women and girls continues to be a global epidemic.

What We Need…

is African leaders’ collective recognition that ending violence against women is everyone’s responsibility, not just the gender experts.

How We’ll Do It

African leaders should offer a unique platform to prevent and respond to gender-based violence. First steps should include:

✓ Support the rollout of the Gender-Based Violence (GBV) humanitarian guidelines through targeted meetings;

✓ Ensure the issue of protection of women and girls is mainstreamed into all planning at the field level; and
✓ Ensure a strong, technically sound Global Action Plan.

ENSURE ADOLESCENT GIRLS’ ACCESS TO HEALTH SERVICES

 

Where We Are

The lack of specialized adolescent services has serious negative repercussions on adolescent girls becoming healthy productive women and leaders.

What We Need…

is action to ensure adolescent girls have access to the full range of appropriate health services, including programs tailored to the developmental challenges of adolescent girls and specific plans for outreach and health communication.

How We’ll Do It

First steps should include:

✓ Strengthen synergies between health actors and programs for adolescent girls;

✓ Place adolescent girls at the center of international investment on maternal health
✓ Advocate for increased access to health services and vaccinations for girls.

Progress has been achieved over the past decades. However, the reality on the ground continues to fall far short of these aspirations and established standards.


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