Social and cultural >>
Because I am a Girl
Penina Nthenya Musyimi, Founder of Safe Spaces
Marie Staunton, Chief Executive of Plan UK
On the 27 September Cherie gave a keynote speech at the launch of Plan's 2010 'Because I am a Girl' Report. She spoke about the opportunities technology and urbanisation can bring to young women, and pointed out that a report from the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women showed how mobile phones are unlocking new possibilities for girls and women.
This year's 'Because I am a Girl' report looks at the lives of young girls in these growing arenas, which present new opportunities but also bring new dangers and risks. This is particularly serious at adolescence, when girls are becoming sexual beings but have not yet developed the skills or the knowledge to protect themselves from harm. It is at this time in their lives that they need the most support.
Plan's message is that if we plan our cities properly, if we keep girls safe on our streets and online, if we protect them from harm, but at the same time enable them to develop the skills they need, we have the chance to change lives. Now, as we build cities and the digital world expands, there is the opportunity to really equip girls with the skills and the knowledge to ensure a better and safer future for us all.
Cherie's speech was followed by three presentations from three different charitable organisations. The first was Aviva's Street to School programme which champions the needs of street children in all communities. This was followed by the inspirational Penina Nthenya Musyimi, the Founder of Safe Spaces, a project run for and by adolescent girls and young women in the slums of Nairobi. The project offers female youth a safe space for discussion and creates a platform for artistic expression through life skills, reproductive health training, professional development, arts and sports. Finally Plan Columbia presented their 'Not Even with the Petal of a Rose' campaign whose goal is to generate social mobilisation in Bogota to counter the tolerance of gender based violence by using art as a medium to change people's perceptions.
Cherie ended her speech praising Plan's latest report
If we are to overcome the immense challenges our world faces, we need to make the most of the talents and energy of everyone. This includes the half the population who happen to be female - and who exam results show, by the way, also happen to be smarter half. This report shows both the obstacles we need to overcome but also lays out how we can achieve this goal.
To learn more about Plan's Report click here
To read more about Aviva's Programme click here