Around half of all our coaches and players are women and girls, and so it’s fitting to celebrate their lives and achievements today, on International Day of the Girl Child. This day highlights and addresses the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.
At TackleAfrica, the girl child is of paramount importance in our work. Women and girls are disproportionately affected by HIV and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights issues on a number of levels. Physiologically it is easier for women to acquire HIV and other STIs. Structurally, women often live in circumstances that prevent them having full control over their sexual and reproductive lives, as well as the ongoing disadvantages of having to skip school due to lack of menstrual hygiene products, or even drop out of school through early pregnancy. Physically and mentally, they suffer the trauma associated with harmful practices such as FGM and Child Marriage. Emotionally, they tend to carry the burden when relatives die of AIDS-related illnesses, becoming primary caregivers and guardians for orphaned and vulnerable family members.
Recognising this, many of our programmes directly address issues that disproportionately affect the girl child, for example our anti-FGM work in Burkina Faso, our preventing Child Marriage work in Tanzania, our Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission of HIV programme in Kenya, or our Adolescent Girls and Young Women programmes in Zambia. We don’t neglect the boy child, and have many programmes working with men and boys, but we recognise there are unique challenges faced by women and girls and we’re proud to deliver programes through our partners addressing these.
International Day of the Girl Child is a UN-designated day, and in their own words, this theme has been chosen:
“2019 Theme — GirlForce: Unscripted and Unstoppable
Nearly 25 years ago, some 30,000 women and men from nearly 200 countries arrived in Beijing, China for the Fourth World Conference on Women, determined to recognize the rights of women and girls as human rights. The conference culminated in the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action: the most comprehensive policy agenda for the empowerment of women.
In the years following, women pressed this agenda forward, leading global movements on issues ranging from sexual and reproductive health rights to equal pay. More girls today are attending and completing school, fewer are getting married or becoming mothers while still children, and more are gaining the skills they need to excel in the future world of work.
Today, these movements have expanded. They are being organized by and for adolescent girls, and tackling issues like child marriage, education inequality, gender-based violence, climate change, self-esteem, and girls’ rights to enter places of worship or public spaces during menstruation. Girls are proving they are unscripted and unstoppable.
This year, under the theme, “GirlForce: Unscripted and unstoppable”, we will celebrate achievements by, with and for girls since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.”
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