Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world today. Humana People to People is joining the world in the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence.
The campaign of 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence aims to raise public awareness and mobilize people everywhere to bring about change. Those 16 days go from 25 November to 10 December, which is Human Rights Day. The theme of the campaign for 2017 is “Leave no-one behind: end violence against women and girls.”
Gender inequality persists worldwide. Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls will require more vigorous efforts to counter deeply rooted gender-based discrimination that often results from patriarchal attitudes and related social norms, as stated by the UN Secretary-General, in his 2017 report, Progress Towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
Over the years, Humana People to People has been part of the numerous efforts helping women to cross the gender divide, overcome cultural barriers and achieve gender equality. The strength of empowering women is based on the vision and consensus that literate women are well positioned to break through in life as they make better decisions on family health, earn better income and generally live a better life. Thus the role of women in education is prominent as the women hold a key position in the growth and nurturing of children’s lives.
As we celebrate the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign, we would like to share with you some of the interesting women centered actions Humana People to People is actively involved with. The approach Humana People to People uses in addressing elimination of Gender Based Violence is based on a comprehensive community and family integration for progress, capacity building of the vulnerable female members of society, offering opportunities to girls and young women to pursue education, better knowledge on achieving good health, as well as financial literacy which seek to ensure inclusion of women participation in financial decision making and independence.
Enjoy the brief narratives below about actions working to empower girls and young women:
Training Girls to become Primary School Teachers & earn Life Skills
Humana People to People members strive to favour a 50-50 gender representation in students enrolled in the Teacher Training Colleges, Preschool Teacher Training Colleges and the Vocational Training Schools and for undergraduates recruited by the One World University in Mozambique.
In the course of 2016, ADPP Mozambique's 11 Teacher Training schools graduated 1 962 students of whom 982 were men and 980 were women.
NIKHALAMO – “Girl Child Stay in School” in Mozambique
The NIKHALAMO project implemented by ADPP Mozambique, a member of Humana People to People, in partnership with Girl Child Rights is making numerous strides in helping to retain girls in primary and secondary schools in Zambezia province of Mozambique. The project is bringing back many girls to school.
For example, Bonifacio Gruveta Massamba Secondary School in Macuse, Zambezia province had trouble in retaining grade 8 and 9 girls due to high numbers of teenage pregnancies. 160 vulnerable girls enrolled in 2016 have been motivated to stay in school due to door-to-door campaigns, follow up and support provided to them. 150 out of 160 girls have remained in school last year, a 96% attendance record.
In addition, the project paid the registration fees for 732 orphaned and vulnerable girls; purchased and distributed school kits (notebooks, textbooks, pens, pencils and rulers) to 840 of the vulnerable girls in the three participating secondary schools. This was an effort to facilitate and ensure that the vulnerable girls stay in school and complete their secondary school studies.
Girls Bridge Education program in India
More than 2 million girls in India are out of school, while 53% of girls between the age group of 5-9 years are illiterate. The same age group is noted to have a drop-out rate of 58%. India loses a staggering $56 billion USD a year in potential earnings because of illiteracy among young women. Haryana State is the worst hit as female literacy rate has dropped only from 59.61% in 2001 to 56.91% in 2011.
Humana People to People India has established two Girls’ Bridge Education Centres in Rajasthan and Haryana with an aim to educate out of school girls in the 9 to 14 years age group and enroll them in the education system. The Bridge Education Centres are designed to also administer practical knowledge among girls with a close relationship to their lives and social set-up.
The three thrust areas of the program are:
· to educate out of school girls, mitigate gender disparity, prevent drop outs and provide skills training;
· to provide grade appropriate education to girls and integrate them the education system and
· to provide in-service teacher training to ensure multi grade, first generation girl learners are educated and to mobilize the community and parents to ensure girls stay in school.
The project aims to improve learning outcome of about 8,000 girls from grade 1 to 8 each year along with empowering and elevating the quality of teaching of 245 participating teachers.
Humana People to People India’s program dove tails with local education system, which assists the government’s efforts to provide quality education. The program nurtures all critical stakeholders of the education system: the schools, the teachers, the students, the community and the state government.
Empowering Young Women and Girls in South Africa
According to the South African government statistics, in 2015 an estimated 266,000 South Africans became infected with HIV, and each week, there are an estimated 2,000 new HIV infections in adolescent girls and young women aged 15 to 24 years.
“In South Africa, young women and girls aged between 15 and 24 have an unequal risk of becoming infected with HIV. Intergenerational sex is seen as a key driver of the spread of HIV in the country, despite continued efforts and commitment to preventing new infections. Effectively preventing new infections in young women and girls is very complex.
Programmes holistically targeting gender-power disparity, low levels of risk perception, peer pressure to have sex and bear children, and low levels of self-esteem and future prospects must be considered when programming, in addition to the traditional prevention messaging for this key population. Reducing HIV incidence in young women and girls requires a multi-pronged, multi-level approach.” - South Africa National AIDS Council.
Humana People to People South Africa is currently running a Young Women and Girls Program (YWG) across 3 provinces; Limpopo, KwaZulu Natal and Mpumalanga. The program provides a comprehensive package of health and support services for young women, out of school, aged 19-24 years.
Using the RISE Young Women and Soul Buddyz Clubs model, the programme aims to empower young women to make healthy choices that promote their wellbeing, promote behaviour change, and encourage them to access Sexual and Reproductive Health services and other relevant social services. The programme also seeks to improve the work-seeker readiness of young women in the programme and link them to job or training opportunities.
Humana People to People understands that access to quality education and women’s empowerment is crucial to achieving gender equity and addressing gender based violence. The world needs to continue to work more to break down the societal barriers of discrimination and oppression of women. Only then will we be able to achieve true equity among men and women across the globe.