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Celebrating International Day of the Girl in DRC
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We celebrated the International Day of the Girl with the Canadian Embassy, UNICEF DRC and the DRC Ministry for Gender, Family and Children.
On Friday 10 October, we celebrated the International Day of the Girl with the Canadian Embassy, UNICEF DRC and our partners in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This event was organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender, Family and Child of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was an opportunity for us to follow up on the Girl Summit to end female genital mutilation and child, early and forced marriage, organised in London in July 2014, and to reiterate UK’s priority to improve girls’ situation in the DRC.
The event was chaired by the Congolese Minister of Gender, Family and Child, Ms Geneviève Inagosi, with speeches by the Canadian Ambassador, Ginette Martin, the Deputy Head of UNICEF in DRC, Sylvie Fouet, and the UK Chargé d’Affaires a.i., Tim Morris. After his word, the UK Charge d’Affaires handed over the Girl Summit Charter to the Government of DRC officially asking them to commit to the Charter.
After the speeches, a Canadian documentary raising awareness about early and forced marriage and other abuses inflicted to girls around the world was shown to the audience. War Child UK then gave a presentation of research headlines from its UK aid-funded programme to support vulnerable women and girls living on Kinshasa’s streets. Further presentations followed by the Forum for African Educationalists (FAWE), the DRC Ministry of Gender and the African Union. Finally, UNICEF’s youth reporters, Merveille and Nathan, who attended the Girl Summit, shared their learnings and pleaded that Congolese girls need “books, not husbands”.
In the DRC, the UK government is working to increase the opportunities for girls to alleviate from poverty. The new programme for adolescent girls, La Pépinière, aims to understand and transform the socio-cultural norms that form barriers to girls’ development, through generating an evidence base about what works to economically empower girls. Amongst other activities, La Pépinière is supporting War Child UK’s Drop-in Centre for vulnerable girls living on Kinshasa’s streets. Education is also key to improve girls’ future. The UK Vas-Y Fille programme is implemented by the International Rescue Committee, Save the Children and the Catholic Relief Services. It works to improve access to education for more than 137,000 girls in 5 provinces of DRC where girls’ enrolment, learning and completion are the lowest (Bandundu, Equateur, Kasaï Oriental, Katanga and Orientale provinces).
See the Flickr album of the event.
See Merveille and Nathan’s blog about the Girl Summit.