Eight DSW youth champions joined young advocates from across Europe and Africa for the European Week of Action for Girls, calling on EU institutions to ensure girls’ voices are heard, and that their rights are at the core of the EU’s external action.
The 2020 edition of the European Week of Action for Girls took place online from October 8 to 16 to mark the International Day of the Girl Child. Organised by nine civil society organisations, this year’s EWAG, under the theme #GirlsConnect provided a platform to ensure youth voices are taken into account in the prioritisation of the EU’s future partnership with Africa.
The young advocates called throughout the week for the EU-Africa partnership in particular to protect and promote girls’ rights in the fields of political participation, education, economic empowerment, health, including sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender-based violence. Their main messages and recommendations can be found in the 2020 EWAG paper.
Girls Connect with Parliamentarians.
One of the week long series of events was a screening of the film Blood & Water, followed by a discussion about a world where girls and young women are included in decision-making – in politics, creative industries and beyond with MEP Karen Melchior (Denmark) and Dorothy Ghettuba, Manager of African Original Series at Netflix. Young advocates also met, and shared their recommendations with representatives from the European Commission, European External Action Service and with Parliamentarians.
In a meeting with MEP Mónica Silvana Gonzalez (Spain), Patience, a DSW Youth Champion, described the challenges facing young people in rural Uganda. She said, “forced marriages and teenage pregnancies are key issues, with social norms and limited investment in adolescent girls partly to blame”. She highlighted the need for youth friendly services to be prioritised and made available for all and the importance of including boys and men in sexual and reproductive health programmes.
Three DSW Youth Champions joined an event titled Girls Connect with Parliamentarians – a discussion between young advocates and MEP Chrysoula Zacharopoulou (France), Hon Millie Odhiambo (Kenya) and Hon. Esther Passaris (Kenya). Rahma from Kenya urged the EU and African Union to “hear our concerns as girls, as well as our proposed solutions by supporting our meaningful participation in shaping the EU-Africa partnership”.
DSW youth advocates in discussion with parliamentarians.
Hon. Esther Passaris finished by saying that we now need to turn the conversation into action. That every day is an opportunity to create change. That every day provides an opportunity to ensure girls are empowered. The European Week of Action for Girls’ young advocates will certainly continue calling for girls’ voices and rights to be prioritised in the EU’s future partnership with Africa.