Comment and analysis on children's rights and EU development policies by Plan International experts
The Future of EU International Cooperation? Make Sure Girls Get Equal
Last week was a historic week for girls’ rights and for Plan International. On the eve of the International Day of the Girl, global leaders, celebrities and young activists gathered here in Brussels to launch Girls Get Equal – the world’s biggest girl-led campaign for gender equality. Our message was simple: that we will not stop until every girl is equally seen, heard and valued. That together, we will champion the power and activism of young people to advance girls’ rights and gender equality around the world.
Spotlight on the rights of the Girls
Yesterday’s Global Girls' Summit in Brussels brought together young girls from around the world to put the spotlight on what needs to be done to overcome the barriers girls still face. It was inspiring to hear girls' ideas on how to respect, protect and enforce their rights. Girls' participation in and contribution to the Summit is another confirmation of what we already know: girls have what it takes to become entrepreneurs, doctors, decision-makers, teachers, agents of change – in other words – to become whoever they want to be.
From 50 percent of the population to 50 percent of seats
When I last contributed to the Girls’ Rights Gazette back in 2014, I stated that “women remain under-represented in our parliaments”. Since then, the European Parliament has seen a slight increase in its number of female members, going from 34,9 to 36,1 percent of seats held by women. This relatively low number is telling of the fact that even though girls and women make up approximately 50 percent of the global population, that share isn’t reflected in seats in Parliaments or other decision-making positions – in either public or private institutions. The under-representation of women in such positions in turn affects the type of policies that come out of these spaces. The European Union is no exception. I have been calling and will continuing to call for the EU to step up gender mainstreaming all its policies, programmes and funding. Regardless of the many commitments made to tackle gender inequalities, including women’s access to leadership positions, there is still a long way for the EU to go.
The EU’s commitment to securing access to education in times of emergencies and protracted crises for all children, especially girls and children with disabilities
Education is the foundation for everything else. This is my core belief. Education is also a fundamental right and an important tool for protection in humanitarian crises. Regrettably and despite its importance, access to quality education is being denied to tens of millions of children by increasingly protracted conflicts, forced displacement, violence, climate change, and disasters. As a result, we have sadly witnessed lost generations affecting the stability and development of entire regions. We have no other option but to address this major issue head on. We owe it to all vulnerable children around the globe.
We won’t stop until every girl is equally seen, heard and valued
Because it is the International Day of the Girl in exactly four weeks from now, we are returning, this year digitally, with our Girls’ Rights Gazette. As of 2012 this publication is bringing girls’ voices to the fore: their stories, their realities and their views on the current state of girls’ rights in the world today. This year’s gazette will include stories by our young activists and advocates who will be joining our Global Girls’ Summit in Brussels on 10th October. They will give insight into their commitment to gender equality and girls’ rights and the different initiatives they are carrying out in their respective countries and regions. You will be able to see how the different Plan International projects work together with girls and young women, to make their cities safer, to ensure education in emergency settings and to become champions of change. There will be photos in each issue of the Gazette taken by the youth involved in the BruxELLES project capturing sexual harassment in public spaces in Brussels. As in past editions, EU leaders and influencers will share their visions on how, in their respective roles, they try to put girls at the forefront of EU external policies and actions. And how they play their part in making sure that every girl can learn, lead, decide and thrive.
European Development Days – looking back on two exciting and inspiring days
On 5th and 6th June, the International Development community came together in Tour et Taxis in Brussels for the 12th edition of the European Development Days (EDDs). This year, the European Commission aimed to bring together the EU's commitment to gender equality and women's empowerment with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This is a matter close to Plan International’s heart, given our ambition to ensure that 100 million girls will be able to learn, lead, decide and thrive by 2022. During these two days, colleagues from across Plan International were involved in a wide range of activities and presented alternatives as to how the EU can stop the global rollback of girls' rights.
Ola: Girls’ voices power progress
I have lived all my life in a community where girls are usually seen and not heard. Most times, when girls are featured in the news, it is because something has been done to them or for them… not by them. At the age of 13, I was selected to join the Nigerian Children’s Parliament having been nominated by my government studies teacher. This exposure has defined the work I do today. I began engaging in grassroots advocacy for child rights – with laser focus on issues affecting girls like access to education and female genital mutilation.
Four resolutions the EU should make (and keep) in 2018
It’s that time of year again. Gym memberships are peaking, and everyone is vowing to do better by setting new ambitious goals for themselves. Imagine if the people who have the power to improve millions of lives around the world did the same, by keeping people and planet at the heart of all their decisions?
Dare to dream: What economic empowerment really means to young people
What does having a job mean to you? We asked young people from four countries during a Global Cafe at the European Development Days 2017. Here's what they had to say...
A new European Consensus on Development? The jury is still out…
Tanya Cox shares her initial reflections on the proposal for a revised European Consensus on Development. While there is much to commend, the jury is still out on a number of key issues.
#GirlsVoices: Dreaming of equal opportunities
Flavia, 15, from Brazil, shares her views and ideas on girls' economic empowerment in a guest blog for Girls' Voices.
#GirlsVoices: We are the now generation
Petrider, 22, from Tanzania is on a mission to achieve gender equality
#GirlsVoices: Who runs the world? Girls!
Rixt, 20, from The Netherlands wants to see more women in power in her country.
#GirlsVoices: We can decide
Radha, 21, from Bangladesh works to ensure that girls know their rights and raise their voices.
Education, employment, empowerment: Unleashing the potential of youth
While we celebrate the power of young people, we must not forget to stand by them and work to bring down the obstacles standing in the way of their empowerment
Nepal One year on: Time for recovery and reconstruction
One year after the earthquake, child protection and education continue to be essential for recovery in Nepal, blogs Plan International' s Alexandra Makaroff.
#GirlsVoices: We want to be part of the solution
Laal bibi, 16, from Pakistan knows firsthand what it is like for girls her age to face a disaster like floods. She shares her experience, hopes and ideas in a blog written for #GirlsVoices. "I want to learn how to help my community when the next floods hit our village," she says.
From data to decisions: We must make girls visible on all fronts
For those of us working on girls’ rights it has been a busy month. From International Women’s Day on 8 March to the 60th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) being held in New York from 14 - 24 March, gender equality has been front and centre in our minds.
Expert view: We can end FGM in a generation
6 February 2016: Madina Bocoum Daff leads Plan International Mali’s projects against female genital mutilation and cutting. In a guest blog for #GirlsVoices, she explains how if working together, we can end FGM in a generation.
2016: LET THE WORK BEGIN TO CHANGE THE WORLD FOR GIRLS
Alexandra Makaroff, Head of Plan International EU Office, reflects on the year to come and calls on the EU to ensure that in 2016, work starts to turn promises made to the world's girls into concrete changes.
No time to waste in the fight for girls' rights
The Dutch must grasp their opportunity at the helm of the EU and demonstrate real leadership on girls' rights, argues Monique van ‘t Hek, National Director of Plan Netherlands.
GOODBYE 2015, HELLO 2016: FROM PAPER PROMISES TO CONCRETE CHANGES
In Brussels and beyond, we must work hard to transform the milestone promises of 2015 into concrete improvements in the lives of children, writes Head of Plan International EU Office, Alexandra Makaroff.
India: Bringing back smiles
June 19, 2014: When I meet with 48-year-old Kumari Ghadei, tears run down her face as she recalls with horror the night cyclone Phailin struck her village in Odisha last October, blogs Aftab Alam, Cash Transfer in Emergencies Specialist.
Protection from violence is every child's right
To mark Universal Children’s Day, 20 November 2015, Alexandra Makaroff, Head of Plan International EU Office, and Ester Asin, Director and EU Representative of Save the Children Brussels, call for increased action to realise every child’s right to protection from violence.
FROM 'HERE COME THE GIRLS' TO 'THE GIRLS ARE HERE!'
Alexandra Makaroff, Head of Plan International EU Office, reflects on recent commitments to the world's girls and calls for the EU to help ensure ambitious words translate into concrete actions.
#GirlsVoices: Challenging gender stereotypes in Delhi
21-year-old Roma is a graduate of Plan International’s Saksham project, which provides job orientated vocational training for young people aged 18 to 29 from poor and disadvantaged communities in Delhi. We spoke to her about what life’s like for girls in her community, and how her life has changed since she found a job.
#GirlsVoices: Education is a right, and an opportunity
Education isn' t just a right, it's a vehicle to greater opportunity, argues 23 year old Aida, from Senegal, in a guest blog for #GirlsVoices.
#GirlsVoices: All we need is opportunity
In a guest blog for #GirlsVoices, 15-year-old Yuma, from Nicaragua, says that women can be just as strong as men – if given the opportunity, in a world where they can feel safe.
EU failure deepens refugee crisis
September 15, 2015: Millions of children's futures are still at risk as EU ministers fail to address the scale of the Syrian refugee crisis, blogs Plan International's Tanya Cox.
#EDD15: Overcoming the digital divide
June 5, 2015: Plan International's Heather Saunders talks about the role of connectivity and public-private partnerships to boost delivery of public goods in Africa.
Evaluating the EU’s action on gender
May 6, 2015: A sobering, even bleak, picture was painted by the team evaluating the implementation of the EU’s first Gender Action Plan, says Tanya Cox.
What are the EP's post-2015 priorities?
December 9, 2014: The EP outlined its “priorities” in a resolution adopted on the post-2015 Framework.
WORD CLOUD: POST-2015 KEY ISSUES
With the UN Secretary-General’s synthesis report due to be released in December, discussions on the post-2015 agenda are in full swing as stakeholders from all sides try to agree on the whys and wherefores of the future framework.
It's been a big month for girls' rights
October 20, 2014: From Malala to Mimica, It’s been a big month for girls’ rights, blogs Alexandra Makaroff.
CHILDREN ARE BACK IN THE EU BUDGET
This is it! The negotiations on the EU’s 2014-2020 budget – a notoriously long and complicated process – are almost over. What a three years it has been…
Microfinance in Malawi: "We are empowered"
Village savings and loans schemes provide poor and marginalised members of society with access to basic financial services that are safe, reliable and profitable.
Reasons to be cheerful for EU aid?
On 7-8 February, EU leaders celebrated reaching agreement over the bloc’s long-term budget. But while they are patting themselves on the back for reaching “the best possible agreement for everyone”, is that really what they’ve achieved? Is this deal one worth cheering?
The EU aid budget - what's all the fuss about?
EDF, DCI, EAR, ECHO…. They may just look like letters to you, but those little letters have a very important impact on the lives of millions of people in the world’s poorest countries.
RAISE YOUR HAND FOR GIRLS: GIRLS IN EU DEVELOPMENT POLICY
Girls’ rights are not often the centre of attention. In fact, more often than not, the discrimination and abuse girls around the world are subjected to goes unnoticed and unpunished. Ignored, just like girls themselves. Young and female, they are among the most disadvantaged people on the planet.