I ride the subway and have been seeing for a while now a publicity campaign for something called Because I Am a Girl. Just what’s this all about?
This is a campaign by the aid organisation Plan made to bring attention to the issue of gender discrimination around the world. The goal of the campaign is to promote the rights of girls and to work towards bringing millions of girls out of poverty around the world.
In Canada, there is apparently a petition that has been made to the Canadian government to create a national day of the girl on September 22. This petition is going to the United Nations to lobby for an international day of the girl on this date.
Interview with Nigel Chapman, CEO of Plan International
The Hindu: India on the map
by Sangeeta Barooah Pisharoty – Nov 24/2010
Chapman talks of Plan International and its work India as well as the other 66 countries where it currently works.
Why does Plan International emphasise on rights of the girl child in different countries?
Through 70 years of work at the grassroots, Plan has always found girls as the most discriminated social group. So we aim at investing in the girl child to bring about a shift in social attitudes toward them. Our programmes at the grassroots level are designed to protect girls so that they may be born, get education and healthcare. Plan works out initiatives that help them break the cycle of poverty.
Plan is working in India since 1979. What would you name as call it your achievement so far?
In the last 30 years, we have accomplished great milestones by closely working with the Government on various social issues. Working with India is vital for us. We work to achieve lasting improvements in the quality of life of underprivileged children in developing countries through a process that unites people across cultures and adds meaning and value to their lives. Our process includes enabling deprived children, their families, to meet basic needs and to increase their ability to benefit from their society, build relationships to increase understanding among people of different cultures and countries and promote the rights of world’s children. We try to bring expertise from Plan International as well for a smoother execution of the policies laid.
What is your “Because I am a Girl” campaign? How do you plan to better the lives of our girls through it?
In today’s scenario where girl child is facing discrimination, whether it’s about her gender, health, education, getting basic amenities, etc., Plan India has taken the initiative to help the girl child overcome barriers and realise her dreams through this campaign. It is focused on empowerment of girl child in rural and semi-urban areas.
Besides, we implement projects on promotion of health, education, water, sanitation and livelihood. Amongst women we have promoted early childcare, safe motherhood and behavioural change in hygiene practices along with access, retention and quality education in children across a continuum of 3-18 years in school. Another major achievement is in providing job training and placement support to young girls in the new market economy and formation and strengthening of women self-help groups.
Plan has been working for child rights in 66 countries. Where do you think it has succeeded in bettering the condition of children?
We believe in simple strategies and approach to tackle child right issues. Over the years, Plan’s approach has moved from direct benefit to sponsored children to the more comprehensive child-centered community development approach. We raise awareness on the rights of children to learn in a safe (violence-free) environment in schools and the negative impact of violence on children.
We also advocate with government agencies for effective enforcement of legal protection for children, including making corporal punishment illegal in schools. We work for the development of support and reporting mechanisms for children against violence in schools besides ensuring access to methods of positive engagement in classrooms for teachers/institutions.
November 25 – December 10
November 25 is designated as the annual date for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and is marked by the wearing of a white ribbon. It marks the beginning of the 16 days of Activism against Gender Violence. The end of the 16 Days is December 10, International Human Rights Day.
Buy a T-shirt
Canada is coming to the end of the year holiday season. Consider participating in the Because I Am a Girl campaign by buying a T-shirt. Read about the movement.
Click HERE to read more from William Belle
Wikipedia: Because I Am a Girl (campaign)
Wikipedia: Plan (aid organisation)
Plan is a child-centred development NGO, and works in 48 countries to provide programs to over 1.5 million children and their families. Within 2007/8, it raised in excess of €474m. The charity was originally founded by journalist John Langdon-Davies and refugee worker Eric Muggeridge. The organisation has no political or religious affiliations. It is active primarily in developing countries in Central and South America, Africa, and South and Southeast Asia, with a staff of over 6,000 worldwide, and a further volunteer force in excess of 50,000. Plan operates long-term to address health, education, shelter, and livelihood issues in the communities in which it operates.
official web site: Because I Am a Girl
blog: Because I Am a Girl