Since DCI’s IGA in 2012, a Code of Ethics and gender policy rules on gender parity in Executive Positions were adopted as a step to further ensure the gender perspective in our organization. DCI’s new Strategic Framework 2017-2021 sets gender as a cross cutting issue, requiring that it be incorporated into all DCI policies, projects and activities according to the principles enshrined in the CRC and the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). The Sustainable Development Goals (Target 5) also calls for the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and girls, not only to ensure a fundamental human right, but to encourage economic development and growth.
DCI advocates at all levels for the rights of the girls and young women to be fulfilled and upheld. Girls face particular forms of discrimination and violence throughout their life, starting even before birth and continuing throughout childhood and adolescence. The consequences are considerable and often fuel violence against future generations of both girls and boys. To this end, DCI National Sections have developed programs and projects mainstreaming a gender perspective, and most notably have developed programs that fight gender-based violence (GBV) and empower girls to become advocates of their own human rights, as well as the rights of others. DCI has also established a Working Group on Gender to guide the Movement in incorporating this important element into all DCI activities.
Apart from the projects run by DCI Sections at the national level, integrating a gender perspective, or programs to eradicate gender-based violence and/or empower girls as human rights defenders, DCI advocates at the international level for the fulfilment of the human rights of girls.
In 2017, an OHCHR report on the realization of the equal enjoyment of the right to education by every girl, to which DCI contributed, was presented before the Council. DCI-IS delivered an oral statement, on behalf of the Girls Advocacy Alliance (GAA), recalling the need for gender transformative actions to ensure the enjoyment of the right to education by every girl. Moreover, the Council adopted a resolution on this topic and DCI contributed emphasizing the need for the integration of gender equality and human rights education as part of mandatory curricula.
Girls Rights / Girls Advocacy Alliance (GAA)
The Girls Advocacy Alliance (GAA): engaging at all levels to promote equal rights and opportunities for girls and young women
The main goal of the GAA Programme is to ensure that by 2020, girls and young women in 10 countries in Asia and Africa will no longer face gender-based violence and economic exclusion.
The Girls Advocacy Alliance is committed to equal rights and opportunities for girls and young women and focuses on ending gender-based violence in the forms of the commercial sexual exploitation of children, sexual violence and abuse, female genital mutilation, child trafficking and child marriage. And eliminating economic exclusion by promoting access to post-primary education, technical vocational education and training, decent work, and female entrepreneurship.
One of the GAA strategic goals is to increase influence of civil society organisations and networks (particularly girls’ and young women’s organisations) to play an active role in engaging and mobilising communities against gender-based violence and economic exclusion. The Girls Advocacy Alliance (GAA) is an initiative of Plan Nederland, Terre des Hommes Netherlands and Defence for Children – ECPAT Netherlands. The GAA is being led by Plan Nederland and implements a five-year programme that is being carried out through a strategic partnership with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The GAA Programme runs in 10 countries in Asia and Africa namely Bangladesh, India, Nepal, the Philippines, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Uganda.
DCI National Sections in Liberia, Ghana and Sierra Leone implement this programme at the national level. They strive to encourage change by influencing policy, empowering girls and young women to advocate for their own human rights and engaging with international advocacy opportunities and reporting activities. In addition, DCI and its partners conduct advocacy initiatives at both regional and international levels to ensure that girls’ rights remain atop political agendas.
For this, the International Secretariat of DCI (DCI-IS) work with UN Human Rights mechanisms and bodies in Geneva to affect global policy change at the international level. Global advocacy in multilateral arenas is thus vital to support and strengthen local efforts of the GAA country partners to advocate for the elimination of gender-based violence and economic exclusion of girls and young women.
In 2017, DCI-Sierra Leone advocated for the ban of child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM) in 30 communities across the country. DCI-Liberia led the drafting and development of the National Child Welfare & Protection Policy. Likewise, in Ghana and Sierra Leone, DCI conducted awareness raising campaigns and capacity building activities, reaching more than 5000 people – children, households, CSOs, government officials and community leaders – with sensitization messages against sexual and gender-based violence towards girls and young women.
At the international level, on the occasion of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Ghana, DCI-IS supported country partners in the submission of stakeholder’s report, to participate as panellist at the UPR pre-session and to facilitate meetings with Permanent Missions in Geneva to share GAA concerns and recommendations on the situation of girl’s rights in the country.
To know more about the Girls Advocacy Alliance impact in empowering girls to fight gender-based violence and economic exclusion read our Annual Report 2017 here.