Monday, January 12, 2015

Opportunities for a focus on girls

Adolescence as a window of opportunity - Research shows that the essential decisions that shape the
course of girls’ lives are made during adolescence. In addition, data indicate that delaying marriageand childbirth, and investing in girls’ education and their opportunities to earn income, yield high returns in terms of girls’ health, and the socioeconomic well-being of their families. For example, an educated girl will use 90% of her future income towards her family, while boys re-invest only 35%9
. Transforming unequal gender relations that are reinforced during this period, and promoting equal opportunities and outcomes for girls and boys in clearly defined, measurable ways will help pave the way for a social transformation. Adolescent girls will know and enjoy their rights, participate in public life, and have the agency to use their capabilities, resources and opportunities to make strategic decisions about the course of their own lives.
Reaching development goals with equity - Reaching the marginalized and excluded is an integral part
of the work of UNFPA whose mandate is rooted in the principles of universality and non- discrimination that underpin the United Nations Charter and Declaration of Human Rights. With the MDG deadline only a couple of years away, it is becoming ever clearer that reaching the poorest and most marginalized girls is pivotal to the full realization of the goals. Consequently the United Nations strengthened its commitment to refocus support to countries, communities and families who are most in need. 10 This renewed attention to the equity agenda provides an opportunity to reorient programming to more closely target and meet the needs of the most deprived and marginalized adolescent girls as a vector for greater progress for all.
Broad support for the girls’ agenda - Although girls receive a disproportionately small share of the total development assistance invested globally each year, the international community has responded positively to evidence on the overwhelmingly positive results of investing in girls in all levels and sectors of development work. The fact that the "Girl Child" resolution in 2011 received broad support demonstrates that the international community recognizes that there is a need to maintain a focus on the challenges girl in underserved communities face in benefiting from appropriate health care, quality education and training, social protection services and child protection policies. There is an emerging consensus that investing in girl’s education, health, protection from violence, and empowerment yields a higher return in reducing poverty and improving the local economy than any other type of investment. Public-private partnerships are emerging around the topic of adolescent girls, and help create awareness and demand for action by the international community including the United Nations and its member states11.
 Campaigns such as the ‘Girl effect’ supported by the Nike Foundation as well as an increased awareness and interest in issues affecting girls in particular such as nutrition, the HPV vaccine, international trafficking, and violence generate further support for girl-focused programming.

10 United Nations . 2010. Millennium Development Goals Report 2010. New York
11 For example, in 2011, the Clinton Global Initiative fostered discussion on the types of investments in and solutionsfor girls and women that would accelerate progress. The Coalition for Adolescent Girls brings together more than 30 international organizations that design, implement and evaluate programs that benefit girls throughout the developing world. The Elders launched in 2011, Girls Not Brides, a partnership made up of non-governmental organizations working all over the world to end child marriage, support child brides and raise the profile of this neglected problem

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