UNFPA’s Action for Adolescent Girls is a worldwide commitment to prioritize support to at least 12 countries to reach the most marginalized adolescent girls, sexually initiated under circumstances that violate their human rights and jeopardize their education, health and life course. Child marriage and adolescent pregnancy, other than representing a cruel violation of girl’s rights, are key challenges that prevent girls from realizing their potential, reinforce poverty cycles, reduce girl’s access to education and opportunities and could have life-threatening consequences.
In Guatemala, the project increased access to social participation and social safety networks for 4,539 indigenous girls and adolescents between the ages of 8 to 19 in 150 isolated, poor and rural communities, leveraging on available resources and strategic alliances implemented. In 2016, HQ supported Guatemala Country Office in the second year of Abriendo Oportunidades (AO) programme implementation, reaching 2,200 indigenous adolescent girls participating in 114 safe places in Peten and Alta Verapz. The program also increased support to girl-only platforms at the community and regional level through explicit agreements: the young mentors addressed the advocacy process with the Major of Chisec in Alta Verapaz demanding public investments in girls and support to the mentors’ community centre.
Moreover, through a strategic partnership between the Population Council and the Ministry of Education, with support from UNFPA, a second-chance schooling strategy was established with the Extra-School General Unit to provide the opportunity for girls to reintegrate into school. Therefore 6 teachers were recruited and trained in the AO safe spaces and in mentoring strategies for 298 out of school adolescent girls.
UNFPA continues to leverage UN Foundation and UN platforms, events and networks to raise awareness on the challenges and opportunities faced by adolescent girls. In 2015, UNFPA’s coordinator of the Action for Adolescent Girls and the Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage participated in the Girl Up Leadership Summit, addressing the prevalence on child marriage, its consequences, its causes, determinants, and solutions.
In addition, UNFPA’s joint efforts with national and civil society partners were shared, to demonstrate the many ways partners are involved to address child marriage, with a focus on the results produced with UN Foundation funding.
The grant also supported UNFPA’s participation in the Expert Group meeting for the “Global Accelerated Action for the Health of Adolescents (AA-HA!): Implementation Guidance” which took place in Geneva from 12-13th of September 2016. It is expected that the Global AA-HA! Guidance document will provide countries with a basis for developing a coherent national plan on adolescent health, and align the contribution of all relevant stakeholders in planning, implementing and monitoring country-level actions to reflect the priorities outlined in the Global Strategy’s “Survive, Thrive and Transform” response to the health needs of adolescents. The document has been developed in 2016 and will be launched alongside the World Health Assembly in May 2017.
In 2016, a virtual reality film was produced after a series of events were aligned to showcase the film to a captive audience at Women Deliver conference in Copenhagen, the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul and the General Assembly special session on refugee.
This project is part of a broader strategy on adolescents and youth through UNFPA’s Action for Adolescent Girls and the UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage in 15 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.