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Girls are the future of the world

 Macadam (France) 21 February 2019

Discrimination, slavery, child brides, juvenile pregnancy and female foeticide: while girls account for half of the world's population in terms of the birth-rate, by the time they have reached adulthood, 100 million women have gone missing. This critical situation has prompted the NGO Plan to take action. (545 Words) - By Sophie Baqué

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 Photo: A mother and daughter at the door of their home in Guatemala. Photo: DFID/ Adam Hinton

Stretching from 2007 to 2015, 'Because I am a girl' is a long-term strategy established by the charity Plan in 50 developing nations where girls aged between 0 and 18 fall victim to inequalities arising from cultural, economic or religious reasons. The aim? To champion their rights by fighting against the poverty and violence they experience through concrete grass-roots action and by lobbying their governments for change.

In Nepal, for example, 2000 young girls have been able to get a business project off the ground thanks to a system of microcredit, instead of being hired out to rich families at six years old for ten dollars a year, as local tradition dictates.

Or take Colombia, where awareness raising measures were implemented last July to prevent sexual violence against 450 young girls. To ensure the long-term viability of this programme, Plan decided to work in association with local partners. This has proven to be a vital link in the chain when it comes to understanding cultural differences at a local level and finding the right way to go about influencing decision-makers, whether that's parents, village chiefs or teachers.

In terms of communication, the charity takes an equally unorthodox approach. "We used to speak the language of moral values like respect and equality of rights," highlights Alain Caudrelier, the director of Plan France. "However, increasingly in poor countries, it's economic arguments that hit home. Today's girls are tomorrow's women: by educating them, you'll have a return on your investment in terms of birth-rate, or economic or social roles." To achieve this, a girl must be able to grow up without having been exploited, circumcised, sold or consigned to being a second-rate citizen. The numbers speak for themselves: a girl who has access to education will get married an average of four years later and will have, on average, 2.2 fewer children than one who doesn't.

 

Inequality in numbers:

- 96 million girls aged between 15 and 24 don't know how to read or write (compared with 57 million young men).

- 50 percent of sexual assaults worldwide are against girls younger than 15 years old.

- In developing nations, there are 82 million girls aged between 10 and 17 who will get married before their 18th birthday.

 

Translated from French to English by Anna Currie

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Originally published by Macadam. www.streetnewsservice.org ©

 

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