Today, from Lilongwe, Malawi to Guatemala City, Guatemala, Fellows of the Adolescent Girls Advocacy & Leadership Initiative (AGALI) are celebrating the first annual Day of the Girl Child.
For the first time, the United Nations General Assembly has adopted a resolution to declare October 11th as the International Day of the Girl Child, establishing a special day to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges facing girls and young women globally. Since then, activists around the world have been advocating for government recognition of the Day of the Girl Child and planning events to commemorate this historic day.
On this first annual Day of the Girl Child, I am excited to share the inspiring work being done by some of our 89 AGALI Fellows in Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa.
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AGALI partner organization the National Association Against Child Abuse (CONACMI) is organizing a press conference in Guatemala City to highlight strategies to protect girls’ rights, and to showcase their successful advocacy work. Three additional AGALI Fellows’ organizations will participate in the press conference. CONACMI and other AGALI partner organizations are also involved in a national effort led by Plan International to convince the Guatemalan government to officially recognize October 11th as the Day of the Girl Child.
Three Ethiopian women took home gold medals at the 2012 London Summer Olympics, all in long-distance running events. AGALI grantee Talent Youth Association (TaYA) will honor these extraordinary athletes at a youth forum celebrating Ethiopian women’s accomplishments in sports. This event will be used as a platform to spark conversations with invited decision makers about how sports can be used to improve girls’ lives in Ethiopia.
Only a month before the first Day of the Girl Child, no large-scale events had been planned to honor October 11th in Liberia. Responding to this gap, AGALI partner organization Helping Our People Excel (HOPE) is spearheading a National Girls’ Empowerment forum that will kick off with a workshop where 30 adolescent girls will receive training in media outreach and develop a Manifesto for the Development of the Liberian Girl Child. The girls will then present their Manifesto at a press conference for key stakeholders from the media, UN agencies, and government institutions.
The AGALI-affiliated Adolescent Girls Advocacy Network (AGANET) is collaborating with UNICEF and other organizations to organize several events in celebration of the Day of the Girl Child. AGANET and its partners are advocating with the President of Malawi, Joyce Banda, to make a statement concerning the need for Parliament to raise the age of marriage to 18 years of age. On October 11th, AGANET will hold girl-focused events throughout the country designed to highlight the needs of girls at the grassroots level.
AGALI Fellows around the world have been working for months to organize events that celebrate the potential for adolescent girls to contribute to sustainable and equitable development globally. AGALI thanks all of our Fellows for their dedication to empowering girls to speak out today, and on every day of the year. For more information on AGALI’s advocacy for girls’ rights, please visit www.agaliprogram.org.