By Julie Pascault (Content Courtesy of AHF)
There’s no better time than on International Day of the Girl Child (IDGC) to honor girls by working to keep them healthy and help them succeed – and even amid COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, AHF country teams held virtual and socially-distanced live events where possible to support girls from around the globe!
AHF Nigeria kicked things off early for IDGC 2020 by organizing an advocacy session with parliament that resulted in a partnership with the House of Representatives Committee on HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria Control.
Three Girls Act members from the Abuja chapter presented officials with high priority issues affecting young women and girls, including adequate water and restroom facilities in schools, free sanitary pads, and the need for legislation to lower the age of consent to provide more girls with increased access to sexual and reproductive health services.
Elsewhere in Africa, girl leaders from a school in Malawi attended discussions on female empowerment and staying safe within their communities – the Girls Act team also created an impactful video that was shared throughout the country. Young women and girls in Sierra Leone took to the airwaves and relayed important messages as panelists and studio guests on the country’s flagship TV and radio programs – and in Uganda, a virtual session on gender-based violence against attracted 67 participants across five districts.
In Asia, multifaceted events organized with a partner in China consisted of highlighting HIV-positive girls and their fight to end stigma and discrimination, a lecture on HIV prevention for girls from a local school, and an event where medical staff presented girls with information on HIV.
A local ART center was the site for an IDGC event with a partner in Nepal where girls received information on adherence to treatment and school supplies. And in Cambodia, girls attended workshops to create messages for key stakeholders on neglected issues related to health, education, stigma, and discrimination.
Exciting events were also held across Latin America and the Caribbean! In Haiti, more than 120 girls attended a lively debate moderated by an expert panel which was followed by a music concert and the creation of inspiring murals.
Workshops on empowerment, girls’ rights, and succeeding in the future were held in Argentina and the Dominican Republic, and teams with partners in Brazil and Jamaica highlighted strong girl ambassadors with touching advocacy messages via videos. And girls in Guatemala took to the virtual realm where they learned about their rights on sexual and reproductive health, including preventing HIV, STIs, and unplanned pregnancies – as well as, staying safe from sexual violence and human trafficking.