On the occasion of the United Nations International Day of the Girl Child, France reaffirms its commitment to defending girls’ fundamental rights and supporting girls’ access to education.
We are actively engaged nationally and in the multilateral forums in ending all forms of gender-based violence and combatting the inequalities that remain between girls and boys in access to education, nutrition, justice and health.
Here are just a few examples of France’s action in the sectors of education, health and the rights of girls.
Many girls do not have access to school, because their families fear for their safety or quite simply do not have the means to support them.
France supports PLAN, l’UNESCO et l’UNICEF in their education access work in Senegal, Togo and Cameroon to keep girls safe at and on their way to and from school. This programme rallies teachers, communities, police forces and judicial authorities to prevent any violence against girls at school or on their way to and from school from being accepted or left unpunished.
France is funding school meals in Niger for families to keep their girls in school. Food support is allocated to families that send their girls to school. The French contribution has kept school canteens running in 103 schools across 11 communes and has provided school meals to 18,700 children. The girl-boy ratio in these schools is 10% higher than the national average.
France’s action through the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, UNITAID and GAVI, The Vaccine Alliance, has a decisive impact on girls’ health. In South Africa, for example, 385 girls aged 15 to 19 are contaminated by HIV every week. The French contribution to UNITAID will help launch an innovative prevention campaign with a target to reduce the number of contaminations by 75%, thereby sparing 1,200 girls every month.
Through its contribution to the Global Fund, France is helping 13 southern and central African countries to achieve a 58% reduction in HIV prevalence among girls and young women aged 15 to 24 by 2022. It is also helping Botswana to reduce HIV prevalence among young girls by providing health information to girls who are not in school.
France is the number six contributor to GAVI, The Vaccine Alliance. From 2010 to 2015, GAVI’s action made vaccination available to 138 million more girls. With France’s support, GAVI is funding the introduction of the HPV vaccine against cervical cancer for young girls in countries where women very often do not have access to screening and treatment.
Through the Fonds Français Muskoka, working since 2011 in partnership with UNICEF, WHO, UN Women and UNFPA in support of women, children and young people’s health in eight West African countries, France funds such initiatives as a telephone information line on girls and women’s rights and health in Senegal. Since the GINDIMA line opened in August 2016, a total of 90,000 young Senegalese women have been informed about communicable diseases, contraception and their rights in the event of violence.
In Paris on 9 October 2017, the Directorate General for Global Affairs received Malian, Senegalese and Franco-Cape Verdean activists from PLAN on the occasion of the launch of the Unlock the Power of Girls Now report to discuss brakes on girls’ empowerment such as pregnancies, early marriages and difficulties attending school, and vehicles for change such as access to quality education and participation in politics and associations.