In Abidjan, the Voix EssentiELLES speak up against gender-based violence

Press Release • 01 December 2022

On the occasion of the global campaign « 16 days of activism against gender-based violence », community-based organizations from Burkina Faso, Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire are meeting in Abidjan to share their experiences and pool their voices to end gender-based violence. The meeting, driven by Speak Up Africa, will take place from 30 November to 1 December 2022.

Recipients of Voix EssentiELLES Fund from Burkina Faso, Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire are participating in the meeting under the theme « Voix EssentiELLES speak up against gender-based violence ».  A round table on the regional challenges of the fight against gender-based violence as well as institutional meetings to sensitize communities and policy makers on their role in the elimination of violence against women and girls are on the agenda.

Need for urgent action

 According to a UN Women report published in September 2022, nearly 65% of women worldwide reported having experienced verbal, physical or sexual violence at least once in their lifetime. At least 6 out of 10 women believe that public sexual harassment has worsened since Covid-19. This violence is not only a major obstacle to the elimination of the HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis, but also has a significant impact on global economy. Without urgent action, UN Women’s report warns, it would take 300 years to close the gap in legal protection or representation of women in power and leadership. 

« Urgent action must be taken if we are to meet SDG 5 – achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls – which is essential for sustainable development. Creating a just and prosperous society is impossible when women and girls, key members of our communities, continue to be victims of violence and inequality of all kinds. »

Abouma Sévérine Nebie, president of Association pour l’Intégration Économique et Sociale des Femmes dans le développement (IES-Femmes) which is involved in Voix EssentiELLES initiative in Burkina Faso.

Key voices

« It is crucial to strengthen the awareness and commitment of all stakeholders for the elimination of gender-based inequalities and violence. In this regard, Voix EssentiELLES organisations meeting in Abidjan is a real springboard. »

Khady Cissé, founder of Organisation pour la Santé de l’Enfant de la Femme et de la Famille (OSEFF), which is involved in the Voix EssentiELLES initiative in Côte d’Ivoire

Launched by Speak Up Africa in 2021 in partnership with CHANEL Foundation and the Global Fund, Voix EssentiELLES initiative promotes the involvement of community-based women and girls’ organizations in decision-making and strengthens their capacity to influence policies that affect their health. With funding from Voix EssentiELLES fund, the organizations involved in the initiative are on the front line to fight violence and inequality against women and girls in their countries.

« Whether it is at health, economic or social level, great progress has been made whenever women and girls have the capacity to express their full potential. It is therefore essential to financially and technically support women’s organizations working to strengthen women’s leadership and reverse current gender inequalities. »

Fatimata Mamadou Lamine SY, Executive Secretary of the Association Sénégalaise pour l’avenir de la femme et de l’enfant (ASAFE), which is involved in the Voix EssentiELLES initiative in Senegal.

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