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My voice, our equal future: International Day of the Girl 2020

Posted 09 October 2020 in EMpower News   |   Share

“My voice, our equal future”, let’s seize the opportunity to reimagine a better world inspired by adolescent girls – energized and recognized, counted and invested in.

EMpower is proud to join the global community and celebrate Day of the Girl 2020. This day was first recognized 25 years ago and marks a milestone for adding girls’ work onto the global agenda. Despite the progress that has been made, great challenges remain to end all forms of gender-based violence and combat the inequalities that girls all over the world face. This year, the pandemic has highlighted the continued need to defend equality and girls’ empowerment. The pandemic’s consequences have disproportionately impacted girls and women and threaten to reverse progress made in access to education, safety, and rights. Now, more than ever, it is critical that girls are meaningfully included in initiatives that address their needs and place them at the forefront as leaders.

The theme for this year’s Day of the Girl is My voice, our equal future’ and calls just for this, recognizing that any progress forward must include meaningful representation by all, especially girls. Celebrating and advocating with and for girls today, and everyday, remains as important as ever. EMpower remains committed to strengthening programming with and for girls. In her recent article, Cynthia Steele, EMpower CEO and President “Let us double-down on our commitment to be and celebrate girls, women and under-represented people shattering stereotypes everywhere.”

We’re proud to highlight a few of the commitments that we have made this past year to strengthen girls’ work we look forward to the continued work and the fearless and awe-inspiring girl leaders that continue to lead this work!

EMpower’s work with girls have five essential characteristics:

  • We start with girls: aiming for girls’ expertise, voice, capabilities and ideas to be at the heart of our adolescent girls programming
  • We invest in learning: from building in feedback loops for the girls to creating space for grantee partners to share learnings
  • We convene: bringing together girls and local organizations to strengthen learning & solidarity
  • We share what we know: amplifying best practices and innovation to girls, program practitioners, researchers and movement builders, and finally
  • We shift the narrative around adolescent programming: contributing to amplify the voices, experience and lived realities of girls and creating as well as seeking platforms for girls to be seen and heard.

Some highlights where girls shine through in EMpower’s work:

The EMpowHer Program

Since 2018, enabling EMpower to partner with local partners to develop and strengthen age-appropriate programming for very young adolescent (VYA) girls (ages 10-14) living at the intersection of multiple opportunities as well as vulnerabilities. The goal of this initiative is to support very young adolescent girls to build their self-esteem, friendships, sense of agency and purpose so they can stay and learn in school, be healthy, believe in their power, connect with other girls, and reclaim and reshape the narrative of what a girl is and can be.

A Window of Opportunity

This year EMpower made another exciting step forward in our girls work with the release of the research report A Window of Opportunity: Programming With and For Very
Young Adolescent Girls Report. The report highlights the importance of focusing on very young adolescent girls (ages 10-14) both in
programming and funding. Favour hosted EMpower’s webinar launching the VYAG report. See the full webinar here.

The Girls Advisory Council is a group of 16 adolescent girl leaders selected by EMpower’s grantee partner organizations in India to advise on EMpower’s grantmaking strategy in India. Some members from the Girls Advisory Council recently spoke at a webinar about the impacts of COVID-19 on girls in India. Watch the webinar here.

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