THE MONTH OF THE GIRL CHILD
JOIN US and TAKE ACTION
Girls need us more than ever.
GIRLS’ RIGHTS AND FUTURE ARE under threat
The COVID-19 pandemic is challenging millions of people around the world. But the COVID-19 health crisis is not the only threat facing girls globally.
The UN is reporting a ‘horrifying global surge’ in domestic violence towards women and girls, linked to COVID-19 lockdowns. The pandemic is increasing poverty, forcing girls out of school and into work or marriage. The virus has put 2.5 million more girls at risk of early marriage by 2025 according to report from Save the Children released October 1.
In the 12 months before the outbreak, 243 million women and girls (aged 15-49) around the world were subjected to sexual or physical violence. That is more than 6 times the entire population of Canada! Now with the pandemic, school closures due to the lockdowns have also increased the risk of sexual exploitation or forcing girls out of school forever because of unintended teen pregnancies and early marriages. Many Crossroads partners are reporting increased incidence of violence and abuse of girls.
As the end of the year fast approaches, we know that many girls will be victims of Female Genital Mutilation and some may die. December, noted as a school holiday, is also an infamous month for FGM, it is even called “the Season of Cutting” in Tanzania.
There is a need to act now to ensure specific protections for the rights of girls and young women.
“I’M TOO YOUNG” CAMPAIGN to raise awareness of the challenges girls face
This year, Crossroads is launching a campaign across Canada, called “I’m Too Young”. It focuses on early and forced child marriage, Female Genital Mutilation and the abuse of girls. Around 130 million girls between the age of 6 and 17 are out of school, including 15 million girls of primary-school age. Half of them are in sub-Saharan Africa. Every day, around the world, young girls’ rights to choose who they want to be, who and when they want to marry, to make the decisions that affect their bodies, their minds and their future, is threatened by cultural, traditional and political norms and laws. We are working with civil society organizations, parents, community leaders and girls and boys to challenge this practice and its impact on the future of thousands of the girls in the countries we operate.
Crossroads is spotting a light on these issues with this campaign, launched thanks to our generous corporate sponsor Pattison Outdoor Advertising who offered ad placements across the country. Girls need our support to face the challenges preventing them from reaching their full potential.
WE ARE SUPPORTING GIRLS’ EMPOWERMENT
Crossroads has been working with local partners in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Eswatini, Togo and Tanzania to implement Girls’ Empowerment Programming in and out of the school system. Together, we are building safe spaces for girls to share their experiences, raise their voices, and learn about their bodies, their rights and their potential. Each year, more than 3,000 members of the Girls’ Empowerment Clubs are increasing their confidence, speaking up to become the leaders of tomorrow.
Building on the success of this program, Crossroads aims to launch another chapter in Senegal in the coming months.
With school closures, increased poverty and movement restrictions, girls cannot access the help they need to fight against this violation of their rights. This is why your voice and your engagement are more important now than ever.
Canadians can get involved by learning more about these issues, sharing their skills with our local partners or donating to support girls’ rights and empowerment. Girls need us now more than ever.