Today is International Women's Day, so we'd like to take the opportunity to share a few of the inspiring projects that are taking place around the world to support women and girls**,** thanks to People's Postcode Lottery players.
Amref Health Africa UK
In 2020, with support from players, Amref Health Africa UK launched the two-year Sport for Health project to deliver essential sexual health education to 3,000 teenage girls in Nairobi, Kenya.
In the informal settlements of Nairobi, Kenya, adolescent girls lack adequate access to sexual and reproductive health education and services, placing their health and wellbeing at risk. The project aims to improve girls' sexual and reproductive health and knowledge, as well as their confidence, self-esteem, and access to educational and vocational opportunities.
Vivianne, a Peer Champion from Nairobi, is determined to improve the lives of girls in her community. According to Vivianne, creating an open dialogue around sex and reproductive health is crucial for youth in her community, as youth make up a huge proportion of the population. Vivianne said, "I like the programme because the girls are open and they ask me any questions without feeling embarrassed or shy, we talk freely about sex, HIV/AIDS, and reproductive health issues such as family planning."
Plan International UK
Across the UK, girls are harassed every day on local high streets, parks, university campuses and bus stops - in summer 2020 alone 51% of girls reported having experienced public sexual harassment.
Relentless harassment is holding girls back, impacting their mental health, restricting their freedom and making them feel unsafe. Parents are worrying about their daughters as young as 11.
Plan International UK is campaigning, with support from players of People's Postcode Lottery, to make public sexual harassment a criminal offence. They are standing in solidarity with girls like Gemma and Maya, founders of Our Streets Now which started the campaign, to make our streets safer for everyone.
In Zimbabwe, Envision Zimbabwe Women's Trust - a local partner of Peace Direct - works to change attitudes towards women's roles in communities, increasing inclusion, leadership, and participation of women in local decision-making.
During the pandemic, the use of violence by security forces was widespread. In response, Envision trained police officers in conflict and violence transformation. 69 of these trainees were women. The training aimed at changing attitudes towards violence used in enforcing lockdowns and COVID-19 restrictions. Participants learned about conflict analysis, negotiation, and mediation. Working with the police, they have been helping to reduce violence and increase awareness about COVID-19, as well as supporting women's role in the security and justice sector.
In recent years, Envision has set up numerous Peace Committees that already have over 50% female representation. Feedback revealed that women who participated felt more confident in standing up for their rights during village meetings, and men also stepped up as champions of gender equality because of the training.
Envision's training on female leadership and conflict resolution led to 115 traditional leaders opening up their local courts to women and pledging to hand over positions of power.
ActionAid has received over £11 Million thanks to players of People's Postcode Lottery, allowing them to support more than 80,000 women and girls around the world.
Global evidence has shown that rates of violence against women and girls have risen during the pandemic. To respond to this, ActionAid Zimbabwe created a toll-free line where survivors of violence can receive support and referrals to specialist services. Volunteers operating the line have been trained by technical specialists at Childline and the line is continuing to operate in 2021.
Laura Chow, Head Of Charities at People's Postcode Lottery, said, "The pandemic has highlighted existing inequalities and severely impacted on the rights of women and girls around the world. It's more important than ever that we choose to challenge these inequalities, and I'm proud that thanks to players we can work with so many charities that fight for women's rights and make the world a safer, better place for everyone."