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Press Statement - International Day of the Girl Child 2014

8 October – Violence against children in or around schools must not be tolerated.

 An estimated 246 million girls and boys suffer from school-related violence every year. Girls and boys may be harassed and abused on their way to school and at school. Far from being a safe space for learning, in many countries around the world, school can be a place of danger, where children experience acts of bullying, corporal punishment, sexual or verbal harassment, non-consensual touching, rape and assault. 

School-related gender-based violence (SRGBV) is a human rights issue and an education issue: a violation of human rights and a serious barrier to learning.  Although both girls and boys can be targets of SRGBV, girls are the most vulnerable.

 

This week, the world focuses its attention on the International Day of the Girl Child, observed 11 October, and its theme, ‘Empowering Adolescent Girls: Ending the Cycle of Violence’.

In August, a coalition of governments, development organizations, civil society activists and research institutions formed to collaborate on ending gender-based violence in and around schools. The Global Partners’ Working Group on SRGBV will take action to ensure that schools remain safe places for learning and ensure that girls and boys have the opportunity to acquire the knowledge, skills and resources they need to reach their potential. 

To mark the International Day of the Girl Child, on 8 October in Paris, members of the Group will take part in a policy roundtable hosted by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development and Plan International. The event will:

·         Mobilize policy makers and education actors for advocacy and action;

·        Bring together government, researchers and practitioners to highlight current realities, successes and challenges; and

·         Set in motion a campaign to put SRGBV on the international development agenda.

In the coming year, the Global Partners’ Working Group on SRGBV will help galvanize the international community to take a strong stand against SRGBV, help establish standards for response and promote the collection of evidence to monitor trends and improve practices.

The Group includes 30 of the leading agencies and institutions promoting girls’ education and gender equality. It is co-hosted by the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) and UNESCO, with funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

For more information contact in Kenya  Lucy.Wanjiku@actionaid.org  for ActionAid  Kenya