Looking back at one year of Girls Advocacy Alliance

In 2016, the five-year program of the Girls Advocacy Alliance (GAA) began. In the Girls Advocacy Alliance, Terre des Hommes works with the organisations Plan Netherlands and Defence for Children – ECPAT to eliminate violence against girls and young women and to strengthen their economic chances in society through lobbying and advocacy. The program runs from 2016 – 2020 and is conducted in ten countries: Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana, Kenia, Uganda, India, Bangladesh, Nepal and the Philippines.

Sexual exploitation

The program advocates better legislation and policy and a better implementation of existing laws and regulations by governments and businesses. At completion of the first year, we look back and review. In the Girls Advocacy Alliance year report 2016 you can read all about the progress, key changes and finances of the program.

Launch of the programme

The first months of 2016 were all about making plans and setting objectives for the programme. The actual implementation of the Girls Advocacy Alliance-programme started in most countries in August or September of 2016.

Results 2016

Dramatic changes in law and legislation, norms and values take time. However, a number of signs have been identified of significant positive changes as a result of, amongst other things, GAA activities. Some results:

  • GAA-partners talked with local, traditional and religious leaders to get gender related violence and economic exclusion higher on the agenda; for example in Northern Gondar in Ethiopia religious leaders now pay attention to the risks of child trafficking during their services churches and mosques.
  • There are many local organisations and (youth) groups who, with support of GAA partners, have risen to action to create more support for the rights and position of girls and young women; Children’s rights activists in Cebu in the Philippines developed a joint action plan and launched a joint Facebook page and chat group and in Nairobi, Kenya 35 workgroups now actively work together to prevent sexual violence.
  • Government agencies and civil society organizations paid more attention to gender related violence and economic exclusion; the Ugandan government for example, developed a national policy and action plan to ban gender-related violence. There was a media strategy too, in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development.
  • Some companies already seem to attach more importance to these topics. Relations with contacts with companies and businesses have developed and nourished; in the city of Ormoc on the Philippines 21 companies have developed rules and policies to provide equal opportunities to female employers, and to protect them better against gender related violence.
  • Positive changes in legislation and policies have been applied, both by local leaders and public authorities; the Liberian government has invited GAA partners to contribute to the formulation of a national policy on child protection and children’s rights and in Telfetit in Ethiopia a local regulation has been amended and extended with articles on child marriages and female circumcision.
  • There are examples of improved implementation and follow-up of existing laws and policy; in Ethiopia, anti HTP (Harmful Traditional Practices) committees have been established, consisting of teachers, police officers and judicial officers.
  • The Girls Advocacy Alliance challenges gender related violence and economic exclusion in international fora too; partly thanks to the efforts of GAA partners the African Union called on Member States to submit action plans to combat child marriages and strengthening of leadership qualities of girls and young women. 
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