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Civil Society Pre-Event Summit

Written by Maria Safari

The civil society event was held via zoom and was hosted by Farirai of Rozaria Memorial Trust.

Juliet Kimotho from FAWE did an eye opening presentation on SRHR (Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights). In the presentation, she talked about the African Union’s political commitment on SRHR for girls. Examples of these commitments are: ICPD program of action which fights for equal treatment among girls and boys with respect to healthcare, access to education. They also make sure governments enforce laws concerning the minimum legal age of sexual consent and the minimum age at marriage, prohibit female genital mutilation. They also make sure to involve youth in planning, implementation and evaluation of development activities and health services provisions as well as prevent child abuse e.g. trafficking. Another commitment she talked about was the Addis Ababa declaration on population and development 2014 which was created to address the need of all girls, boys and children with disabilities, with regard to health, nutrition and education at all levels. Another political commitment is the Maputo protocol as well as the Generation Equality Paris & Mexico forums which is still in the early stages.

The next topic she spoke about was Adolescent Health and Well-being consensus framework by United Nations which is Good health and optimum nutrition, connectedness, positice values and contribution to society, safety and a supportive environment, learning, competence, education, skills, and employability as well as agency and resilience.

Juliet also spoke about FGM in Africa and countries with national strategies on FGM. Examples of countries with national strategies are:

Burkina Faso’s action plan establishes an intersectoral group comprising 13 ministries

Senegal’s national action plan for the period 2010-2015 involves the creation of regional committees, departmental and rural communities for the abandonment of female genital mutilation

Egypt, Cameroon, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali and Tanzania have developed multisectoral strategic action plans that involve different government institutions and emphasize awareness raising.

Mauritania adopted a five year national action plan against gender based violence as of end of 2015

Teboho Mohlai did a presentation on adolescent wellbeing were we got to discuss the issues young women and girls face, as well as the solution and changes we want to happened. Some of the things we discussed were:

  • Young women want inclusivity in spaces from planning to end

  • Religious leaders tolerating abuse of girls in religious circles must be brought to book and made an example of justice

  • The age boundaries need to be lowered to allow girls access to contraceptives and condoms so as to prevent early pregnancies

  • Implement recreational activities that cater for children and youth instilling psychological imprints and ultimately empowering them to be agents of their own right and change

  • Support and empower sexually exploited females in Africa

  • We need to make sure leaders who come up with the law that allows pregnant girls to continue their schooling ensure the laws are implemented

  • We need to make sure teachers are not exploiting students e.g. grooming and dating them

  • African leaders need to stop committing themselves to blueprints that they hardly implement.

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