NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The Girl Declaration, a manifesto of goals for the world’s 250 million adolescent girls living in poverty, will be delivered to the United Nations on Friday, the second annual International Day of the Girl Child.
The declaration – written by girls with the help of experts from 26 international organisations – aims to put the needs of adolescent girls squarely on the development agenda for the post-2015 goals, which will succeed the Millennium Development Goals.
The report “Girls Insights for Building a Better World”, also to be released and presented to the U.N. on Friday, surveyed 508 of the poorest and most vulnerable girls in 14 countries about their concerns, hopes, dreams and fears. It is intended to be a data-rich supporting document for the goals listed in The Girl Declaration.
Believed to be the first document of its kind, the declaration lists seven guiding principles and five goals designed to provide decision-makers and global leaders with information to guide action and investment in improving the lives of adolescent girls. The girls' own language is used in much of the document.
- “Plan with me, design for me”: use insights from girls when designing and implementing programmes and services
- “Make me visible, make me count”: at a minimum, analyse data by sex and five-year age segments to improve programmes and ensure no girl is left behind.
- “Give me a fair share of the money you spend to fix things because we girls give more back”: allocate dedicated funding for adolescent girls in programme and policy budgets.
- “Think of me now, because now is when I need you most and now is when it will make the most difference”: focus on adolescence and invest early before girls undergo all the changes associated with puberty.
- “Don’t forget me because I’m too poor, too distant, too silenced for you to know I am here”: plan for the most marginalised from the beginning to ensure they aren’t left out at the end.
- “Don’t hold me back”: tackle discriminatory social norms that have enduring consequences for girls.
- “Laws should be fair”: make and enforce the ones that respect and protect the rights of girls and give them access to justice.
The Goals and targets:
- Education: “I want to learn, be smart and capable; I need an education for that. My schooling needs to be good – it must be free or I will struggle to attend and it must be safe and nearby or else I will stop going.”
--Measurable target: ensure all girls transition to and complete free, quality secondary school education and eliminate violence, sexual exploitation and harassment at school
- Health: “I am my own person and I want to know about my body and how to take care of it – not be ashamed or afraid or worry that when I have children I’ll be in danger or unwell.”
--Measurable target: reduce under-18 pregnancies; provide access to youth-friendly health information and services for all girls, in or out of school.
- Safety: “Why are girls raped? I want to make it so that all girls are safe and so that it’s not a regular thing when a girl is hit by someone, anyone, or is touched or cornered or taken away.”
--Measurable target: prevent and eliminate violence against girls; ensure all nations have mechanisms to report sexual violence against girls and stop trafficking and exploitation of girls by passing and enforcing laws that prosecute the perpetrators, not the victims
- Economic security: “I want to be in control of my future and provide for myself and my family, but I need the opportunities and the know-how first.”
--Measurable target: increase girls’ savings and access to financial services by 50 percent; ensure girls receive financial literacy training; reform laws so girls can open bank accounts and have equal rights to secure land tenure.
- Citizenship: “It’s like people look through me because I am a girl. I have a voice but are you listening? Do you even know I exist?”
--Measurable target: eliminate child marriage globally by 2030; ensure all girls have access to free and universal legal identity, including birth registration, formal ID, citizenship and the right to pass citizenship on to spouses and children.
Source: The Girl Declaration