By Nikka Garriga
QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA— Plan International recently launched a five-year campaign in an effort to promote and uplift the rights of young girls worldwide.
The “Because I Am a Girl” campaign seeks to create sustainable projects in developing countries such as the Philippines to provide access to clean water, food, healthcare, education and protection from violence and exploitation.
“Here in the Philippines, Filipino girls are at constant risks of being physically and sexually abused, trafficked, pushed into child labor and getting pregnant at an early age,” explains Carin van der Hor, Plan International Country Director for the Philippines,
“These are some of the issues that the ‘Because I Am a Girl’ campaign will address,” she adds.
The Women and Gender Institute (WAGI) of Miriam College was commissioned by Plan International to conduct a study on the overall situation of Filipino girls. One of the report’s key findings indicates that poverty and social inequality create a disabling environment in observing the rights of girls.
“Children from poor families are disadvantaged and fall prey to child labor, exploitation and lack of access to basic services primarily because of their status in life,” according to the study. This also gravely affects how children view their rights to education, to opinion and to be “free from all forms of labor and abuse”.
The study recommends actions such as specific provisions in the law for young girls and better-targeted education and information campaign on children’s rights.
Plan International also encourages advocacies particularly for children in indigenous communities and rehabilitative measures within the family, schools and communities.
By 2015, the campaign intends to reach about four million girls directly through its “girl-focused programs and 40 million girls and boys through gender equality education and transformative programs.
It also seeks to extend assistance to 400 million girls by working with country governments to ensure equal access to education, healthcare and opportunity.
Plan International has tapped Filipino young stars Barbie Forteza and Bea Binene to join Hollywood actress Frieda Pinto as global ambassadors for campaign.
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