This week, we asked members of the Girl Engagement Advisory Board to weigh in on the question: After the Post 2015 Development Goals are finalized, how can the international development community ensure the goals pertaining to young girls are implemented?
It is hard to change the laws of each country, but it is not impossible. With the help of NGOs and active people advocating girls’ rights we can make the changes we want to and that are needed. The campaigns will show other people the importance of these matters and hopefully it will make them think about it for a while, at least. The voice of the many is always stronger than the voice of one- especially if the many have the support of the people in charge of NGOs and ministries. The follow up from these actions could be changing the education plans by engaging the school system with more topics like SRHR of girls and women , which will be very important for encouraging future generations. Of course, you can not force individual decisions that are against these measures, but you can try. At the end of it all if the law changes in favour of young girls and women – the law is the law. It should not be broken. – Preslava Ivanova, Bulgaria
Through education and campaigns, people can learn about young girls’ rights. Even if laws protecting the rights of these girls are not implemented properly, people would give girls their rights because they would know the consequences of not doing so. For example, in Egypt, if FGM becomes illegal, people would still not refrain from it because they think it is a part of religion (which is not true). So, if we educate these people about the truth behind FGM, they might refrain from it completely even without passing a law that forbids it. – Mai Yassin, Egypt
It still boils down to education, information and continuous advocacy. As the saying goes “knowledge is power,” and the international community needs to support individuals, groups and organizations whose sole goal is to ensure that the goals of young girls in the world are achieved through continuous enlightenment on the consequences of those acts which the law speaks against.
You can force a donkey to the river, but you can never force it to drink water…that choice still remains with the donkey. We can create laws protecting the girl child but we can never force behavioral change. We can keep teaching the importance of obeying those laws and gradually achieve behavioral change. – Elizabeth Williams, Nigeria
Have legislation created immediately that really makes implementation a priority and have people educated and informed so that we all feel impassionaied enough to act! – Allison Pfotzer, U.S.A