In the News

Crossroads International recognizes Day of the Girl with call for more awareness and action

Girls’ rights advocate Mpumi Nobiva to speak at annual celebration breakfast

Toronto, ON, October 11, 2018 – Canadian volunteer cooperation agency Crossroads International is marking International Day of the Girl today, October 11th, with a renewed call for awareness and action to further the rights of women and girls and end poverty. Celebrating its 60th year of human rights work in the global South, Crossroads is encouraged by many of the positive measures taken by the federal government but concerned over a rising global tide of divisive rhetoric that undermines the rights of women and girls.

“There is much to celebrate on Day of the Girl,” said Carine Guidicelli, Executive Director of Crossroads International. “Canadian volunteers are working with our partners in some of the poorest countries in the world to advance rights education, poverty reduction, and access to justice for thousands of girls and women. Still, systemic barriers and cultural attitudes harmful to women and girls persist.

“From remarks dismissive of women’s accounts of sexual assault to their right to birth control, the message being sent from leaders from America to Tanzania is that the rights of women and girls matter less,” says Guidicelli “This is a threat both to the advancement women have made over generations in liberal democracies such as Canada and to the girls working to overcoming enormous challenges in countries where societal norms perpetuate discrimination and access to justice is limited.“

Crossroads International is working with local partners in developing countries to address access to justice for girls and women — in Burkina Faso, where the child marriage rate is a staggering 52%;  in Swaziland, where one in three girls experience sexual abuse by the time they turn 18, and in Tanzania, where domestic violence legislation is eclipsed by the lack of resources, and therefore access, to justice, to name a few.

Crossroads International is pleased to welcome one woman who uniquely understands the challenges and possibilities facing girls and young women in the South, Mpumi Nobiva, as the keynote speaker for its annual International Day of the Girl Breakfast. At nine years old, Ms. Nobiva lost her mother to AIDS. She grew up in a community stricken by poverty, where the risk of sexual violence was high. Through incredible personal determination, the guidance of a loving grandmother, and the support of many others who stepped up, Ms. Nobiva became the first alumnus of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy in South Africa and is now an internationally recognized speaker and advocate for girls’ rights and education.

Ms. Nobiva will speak to her personal journey of self-empowerment against overwhelming odds, her commitment to ensuring girls have the opportunity to reach their potential, and how important organizations such as Crossroads are in advancing this goal. As NationBuilder’s first Leader in Residence, Mpumi is developing the digital infrastructure for Share Your Story Africa – an initiative inspired by her advocacy work uniting youth against HIV/AIDS and domestic violence in South Africa – all while sharing her powerful story at events around the world. She has recently extended the scope of her offerings to technology, social innovation, and human capacity building for community and societal development focusing on issues that disproportionally affect women, girls, and youth.

“We must never despair for and never abandon the vulnerable girls and young women who grow up in such difficult conditions, but maintain such incredible possibility,” said Ms. Nobiva. “Crossroads International is a wonderful example of how civil society organizations in Canada and elsewhere can play a supportive and cooperative role in Africa helping girls realize their potential for themselves and in creating a better world.”

Money raised at the event supports Crossroads International’s Girls’ Empowerment Program reaching more than 3000 girls annually in several countries in Africa. Through these efforts the organization is seeing concrete results in decreases in teen pregnancy, increased academic performance, and more reporting of abuse.

“As we mark the Day of the Girl, we must stand in solidarity with women and girls who face unspeakable violations and rights abuses around the world,” said Ms. Guidicelli. “Through the support of inspiring advocates such as Ms. Nobiva, dedicated Canadian volunteers, and our incredible partners in the South, we are helping to raise the voices of girls and young women in asserting their rights, and we must continue this work.”

About Crossroads International
Crossroads International is a leader in international cooperation and has been fighting inequality for almost 60 years. Crossroads works in some of the world’s poorest nations in Southern Africa, West Africa, and South America, with local partner organizations to create decent jobs and to empower women to become leaders and live free from violence.  Every year, we engage experienced volunteers and staff North and South who apply their expertise locally to address global issues. Together we are leveraging knowledge, expertise, and dollars to create a more just and equitable world.

To arrange an interview with Ms. Guidicelli (English or French) or Ms. Nobiva (English), please contact:

Christopher Holcroft
Empower Consulting
416-996-0767/ 514-844-0664



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Crossroads International gratefully acknowledges the International Day of the Girl Breakfast sponsors, without them this event would not be possible.

Crossroads International gratefully acknowledges the support of: