We stand up for the rights of girls and young women. Many of the girls and young women with and for whom we work are looking at brighter futures than their mothers and older sisters.
Gender-based violence and the economic exclusion of girls and young women remain prevalent, worldwide. Violence against girls and women is, in fact, one of the most pervasive of human rights abuses. Worldwide, an estimated one in three girls and women will suffer some form of violence against them during their lives. One in three girls in the developing world is married by her 18th birthday. Of the 1.2 million children that become victims of trafficking every year, an estimated 80 per cent of them are girls. Moreover, women are overrepresented in low-paid, insecure jobs and they are more likely to engage in low-productivity activities. Women also spend a disproportionate amount of time on unpaid domestic tasks. Economic exclusion increases the vulnerability of girls and young women to violence, trafficking and exploitation. Once victimised by violence, exploitation or abuse, their barriers to education, decent jobs and other opportunities.
That is why we, the Girls Advocacy Alliance (GAA), have been working for the protection of girls and young women against violence and for their economic empowerment since 2016. The GAA is an initiative of Plan International Nederland, Terre des Hommes Netherlands and Defence for Children - ECPAT Netherlands. The GAA is being led by Plan Nederland and implements a five-year programme that is being carried out in a strategic partnership with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The GAA Programme runs in 10 countries in Asia and Africa: Bangladesh, India, Nepal, the Philippines, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Uganda. In support of its efforts in these 10 countries, the programme is also securing the support of the government and private sector in the Netherlands. It uses international accountability mechanisms, for instance the one of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The GAA Programme will run for five years, from January 2016 to December 2020.
The main goal of the GAA Programme is to ensure that, by 2020, girls and young women in 10 countries in Asia and Africa will no longer face gender-based violence and economic exclusion. To initiate sustainable changes, the GAA aims to influence key stakeholders in national governments and intergovernmental agencies, the private sector, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and local communities. Moreover, the GAA will strengthen and train girls and young women, as well as their respective organisations, to stand up for their rights.
What do we do?
The Girls Advocacy Alliance is committed to equal rights and opportunities for girls and young women and focuses on: ° ending gender-based violence in the forms of the commercial sexual exploitation of children, sexual violence and abuse, female genital mutilation, child trafficking and child marriage; ° eliminating economic exclusion by promoting access to post-primary education, technical vocational education and training, decent work, and female entrepreneurship. The alliance is applying an advocacy and lobby strategy, shifting between different policy-influencing instruments and approaches (advising, advocacy, lobbying, activism) to push for the implementation of existing legislation and policies on girls’ and young women’s rights by national and local governments. Furthermore, pressure is being put on international and regional bodies to hold member states accountable. Girls Advocacy Alliance - Programme
The envisioned changes for the elimination of gender-based violence against girls and young women and their economic exclusion are structured around four strategic goals:
- The improved implementation of legislation and public policies and the improvement of the practices of governmental actors: policies, action plans, budgets and protocols will effectively help girls and young women enjoy equal rights and opportunities, and benefit equally from development outcomes.
- Improved policies and practices of corporate and private sector actors: market leaders or branch associations of the private sector will be actively engaged in involving girls and young women in education and decent work.
- Increased public support and awareness: communities will offer better protection and opportunities to girls and young women. The general public will be made aware of the consequences of genderbased violence against girls and young women and their economic exclusion.
- Increased influence of CSOs and networks (particularly girls’ and young women’s organisations) on government and corporate/private-sector actors: civil society networks and organisations will act as agents of change for gender equality and they will play an active role in engaging and mobilising communities.
Ensuring equal rights and opportunities for girls and young women is all about changing social norms and practices. Girls’ and young women’s rights will be underscored by laws and policies that are effectively implemented and enforced by those responsible. Girls and young women will be protected and supported by their communities, and by active organisations that speak out against violations and injustice, and hold those in power to account.
The GAA is bringing together three recognised international organisations and their partners in a strong commitment to work side-by-side, to share knowledge and experiences, to learn and constantly improve their performance towards more effective and sustainable approaches in the fight for equal rights for girls and young women.