From November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to December 10, Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign is a time to incite action to end violence against women and girls around the world.
This year’s theme is “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Make Education Safe for All, which recognizes that discrimination and gender inequality are not necessarily evaded when girls and women are pursuing an education. Gender-based violence can and does happen everywhere—in public spaces, schools and homes. Around the world, 246 million children experience gender‐based violence at or on their way to school every year.
Girls are particularly vulnerable, and often miss out on a full education just because of their gender. Yet, when girls and women have the opportunity to pursue an education, they are more likely to be equipped with the knowledge to fight repressive social limitations such as child marriage. Educating girls also has economic benefits: countries could prevent the loss of more than $1 billion annually by educating girls as equally as boys.
The Hunger Project is a strong advocate of approaches that end gender discrimination, promote equality and place an emphasis on the education and empowerment of girls. Animators across our program countries, for example, run educational campaigns to promote childhood primary school enrollment, especially for girl children. All children enrolled in our epicenter nursery schools in Africa are guaranteed access to a full nutritious meal every day they are in attendance. As of Q2 2016, 52.3% of the over 57,000 children who have been enrolled in the nursery school program were girls.
At our epicenters across Africa, we provide access to microfinance that allows female farmers to generate higher incomes and become more involved in important decision making. Our Women’s Empowerment Program (WEP) empowers women to become strong leaders in their households and communities. Campaigns such as SWEEP (Strengthening Women’s Leadership in the Electoral Process) identify and help provide women the platform to participate in the political process throughout India. And, in Bangladesh, The Hunger Project works to inform governments, community members and young women to end child marriage in their communities.
The Hunger Project is also proud to be part of Her Choice—an alliance of organizations that are working to halt child marriage in 11 countries, with the long-term goal of supporting the creation of child marriage-free communities in which girls and young women are free to decide if, when and whom to marry. This year we began work in Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana and Uganda to develop strategies to increase girls’ control in decision-making and their access to opportunities such as education, health care and income generation.
From November 25 through December 10, lend your voice to the movement. Make it known that you are aware of victims of abuse and that you stand with them. Unless women, girls, men, and boys fully enjoy their human rights and are free from violence, advancement towards progress will fall short.
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This year, we will spotlight success stories about programs that empower women and girls to break free from gender‐based discrimination. Follow these stories to learn more on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.