On the occasion of the International Day of the Girl 2021 Plan International in Sudan, in collaboration with the National Council of Child Welfare and other actors, calls to raise girls’ voices to end female genital mutilation (FGM), Child, Early or Forced Marriage (CEFM) and ensure that children and girls have access to digital literacy.
The International Day of the Girl on 11th October is an annual international event that brings us together to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges that girls face around the world.
The global theme of the International Day of the Girl in 2021 is “Digital Generation. Our Generation”. We take this opportunity to celebrate girls in all their diversity, and call out where progress still needs to be made. In a changing world, we continue demanding girls’ ‘Freedom Online’ as part of the Girls Get Equal campaign. Building on last year’s focus on online gender- based violence, we must endure that girls are #FreeToBeOnline.
Across the world, girls are exposed to misinformation and disinformation online. With the COVID pandemic and increased reliance on the internet, the risk is growing.
Misinformation online causes real harm in real life, holding girls back and placing yet another barrier to their leadership. There is very little support available – girls are being left to navigate this on their own.
False information online has left one in five girls (20%) feeling physically unsafe, according to The Truth Gap, a new report by Plan International.
This landmark survey of over 26,000 girls and young women from 26 countries also found that exposure to lies and mistruths has a profound impact on how they engage with issues ranging from COVID-19 to politics.
These findings lay bare the ‘real life consequences’ of misinformation and disinformation on girls and young women. Therefore, Plan International calls on governments to educate children and young people in digital literacy.
In Sudan, Plan International is committed to contribute in changing the way girls are valued in society and treated equally in the media. We believe all girls should feel safe when they use the social media. We advocate for laws stating the marriage age at 18+ and we call for stronger resourcing and implementation of the criminal code articles penalizing female Genital Mutilation / Cutting in Sudan.
Plan International also works towards solutions to the economic and protection challenges caused by COVID-19 pandemic and measures to contain it, leading to increased risks for girls and women during and after lockdowns.
Plan International recognizes and celebrates the changing attitudes in Sudan – from community to religious leaders, the Government and most importantly, the communities at the grassroots level where we work. We remain unrelenting in our commitment to end FGM in Sudan and continue to encourage and work with duty bearers. We work with the National Council of Child Welfare, Ministry of Social Development and civil society organisations in the post-revolutionary Sudan to ensure positive engagement and protection of girls, women, and children.
As we look towards the implementation of the criminal law through clear accountability and tracking mechanisms, we need appropriate resource allocation and a nationwide communication campaign to help shift attitudes and change behaviors so that we can end FGM/C forever.
Plan International continues advocating to state the marriage age at 18+. Child, early or forced marriage is a harmful practice that denies girls their right to make vital decisions about their sexual and reproductive health and well-being. It forces them out of education and into a life of poor prospects, with an increased risk of violence, abuse, ill health, or untimely death.
Social media has a potential to be an ally in this work, or to undermine it through misinformation and fake news online. Digital literacy is paramount to ensure that girls are #FreeToBeOnline and reach their full potential.
Head of Influencing and Gender
Email: Naila.Abushora@plan-international.org Mobile: 0123502453
Communications and Campaigns Coordinator Email: Nahid.Ali@plan-international.org Mobile: 0900934117
About Plan International
Plan International is an independent development and humanitarian organization that advances children’s rights and equality for girls.
We believe in the power and potential of every child. But this is often suppressed by poverty, violence, exclusion, and discrimination. And it is the girls who are most affected. So, working together with children, young people, supporters, and partners, we strive for a just world, tackling the root causes of the challenges facing girls and all vulnerable children.
We support children’s rights from birth until they reach adulthood. And we enable children to prepare for – and respond to – crises and adversity. We drive changes in practice and policy at local, national, and global levels using our reach, experience, and knowledge.
We have been building powerful partnerships for children for over 80 years and are now active in more than 75 countries.