In this uncertain and constantly shifting world, grassroots change is happening fast and its most powerful catalysts are the committed young people who adapt quickly and adopt fully.
This is why, on October 11, the world will celebrate the collective power of the nearly 900 million adolescent girls of the world for International Day of the Girl (IDG). IDG 2020 marks 25 years since the historic Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a groundbreaking global commitment to enhance the quality of life for young girls. Each year on October 11, a unique theme is chosen to highlight a dimension of female empowerment.This year’s theme is “My Voice, Our Equal Future,” building on last year’s theme to equip girls with the power, knowledge and the space to continue voicing their passions and concerns. According to the UN,
- Globally, roughly 25% of girls between the ages of 15 and 19 are neither employed nor in education compared to 1 in 10 boys of the same age.
- By the end of 2020 around 435 million women and girls will be living on less than $1.90 a day – including 47 million pushed into poverty as a result of COVID-19.
- At least 60% of countries still discriminate against daughters’ rights to inherit land and non-land assets in either law or practice.
The global community must create more opportunities for girls to safely access education, employment and participation in decision-making. Fostering the leadership of girls builds a world better for us all.
Through decades of experience, we’ve seen in our programs that, when young girls are granted access to concrete knowledge, when they aren’t forced to marry, when they are able to achieve their full potential, they create a ripple effect that lasts their lifetime and for future generations. Empowered girls become empowered women in the workforce who fully leverage their income-generation to improve maternal health, reduce child mortality rates and eradicate malnutrition for entire communities.
This year’s celebration will focus on supporting the world’s girl population to:
- Live free from gender-based violence, harmful practices, and HIV and AIDS.
- Learn new skills towards the future they choose.
- Lead as a generation of activists accelerating social change.
These core tenets are already integrated deeply into the work THP does throughout the countries in which we work. The best tool to lift girls out of cycles of exploitation is access to education, which this year’s IDG is certain to promote!
In lieu of the usual Day of the Girl Summit, the UN will be broadcasting a virtual Girls’ Rights Townhall to educate listeners about girls’ human rights and key issues girl-child communities face. Access the curriculum here and visit https://dayofthegirlsummit.org/2020-idg-townhall/ in advance of October 9th (10:00am-11:30am EST) for more information!
In the meantime, join the conversation: #IDG2020 #GirlsRightsTownhall #GirlsSpkOut
What We Do
- Girls Advocating for their Education. Child marriage is never right. It is a lost opportunity, and it locks girls into an endless cycle of poverty. This is why in 2017 The Hunger Project-India launched a creative initiative to empower adolescent girls to learn from one another and take a stand against child marriage. To kick off this initiative, called #GirlsChangeTracks, a group of 25 young visionary women traveled more than 3,000 km by train from India’s state of Bihar to the state of Rajasthan – joined by local partners, animators, staff and a film crew – on an exciting journey to promote the empowerment of young women and girls. The girls from Bihar are part of Hunger Project programs focused on adolescent girls, including the Adolescent Girls (AG) Program that equip youth with life skills training, encourage engagement with governance systems, and raise awareness about their rights and the importance of active citizenship in local village councils known as Panchayats. On this transformative journey, documented over the course of five unique short films, the girls engaged in conversations and learning activities with young women and girls from Rajasthan. Overall, 500 girls participated in Girls Leadership Workshops last year in Bihar.
- Watch the first video on youtube about #GirlsChangeTracks 2017! #GirlsChangeTracks the project was completed with support from The Hunger Project Sweden and a global alliance of organizations and initiatives working to improve and strengthen young girls’ position in society called Flickaplattformen (Girl Child Platform), along with AJWS and UNFPA.
- Organize and sponsor programs to end child marriage. In 2015, The Hunger Project launched Her Choice, a global coalition that includes The Hunger Project and Netherlands-based organizations Stichting Kinderpostzegels Nederland, International Child Development Initiatives (ICDI), the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the University of Amsterdam. Her Choice works to activate local leadership to create an environment in which child marriage is not tolerated. In 2018, Her Choice coordinators from six countries (Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, the Netherlands and Uganda) joined 500 girls-rights activists from more than 70 countries worldwide for the biggest meeting ever on ending child marriage. After this global three-day event, we leveraged this opportunity to organize a two-day Hunger Project Her Choice workshop to discuss what was working and what was not. Watch the uplifting Girls Not Brides anthem video.
- Advocate for Safe Spaces for Girls in Uganda. During the implementation of the Her Choice campaign, THP-Uganda realized the subject of menstruation in most of our epicenter communities is viewed as a taboo, and has many negative cultural attitudes associated with it. Through peer learning sessions, menstruation was identified as a leading cause of high school dropout among girls and a key driver of child marriage. In this context, on August 11-12, 2018 THP-Uganda joined Girls Not Brides Alliance Uganda and Raising Teenagers Uganda to hike Wanale Mountain in Mbale District as part of commemorating International Youth Day. Read the full report here.
- Advocate for the end of child marriage locally. In Bangladesh, as part of the National Girl Child Advocacy Forum, The Hunger Project recently joined various government officials and NGOs to advocate for a comprehensive sexual harassment prevention law. This took place at an exchange meeting organized by the Parliamentary Caucus and Kanyashisu Advocacy Forum for Child Rights at the Parliament House on November 20. See photos and report here.
- Promote girls’ safety in schools. In Bangladesh, we have also implemented the “Safe Schools for Girls” program. The program, which runs in partnership with USAID-funded organization International Television Service, seeks to increase girls’ attendance in school, reduce dropout rates, improve the quality of education available to girls and promote additional opportunities for girls in and out of school. Watch the inspiring story of one young girl named Lilabati who took agency over her own life and insisting on a comprehensive education.
- Measure and analyze gender-specific data. Our women-centered approach emphasizes the importance of gender-specific monitoring and evaluation, including by:
- Collecting sex-disaggregated data in areas such as child health monitoring, attendance in school, financial inclusion and child marriage;
- and developing new tools to measure the empowerment of elected women leaders in India.