“When we empower girls, everybody benefits. Girls who are educated, healthy and free can transform their communities and pass on the benefits to their children, and to their children’s children.” Ms. Graça Machel, Founder of the Graça Machel Trust and Chair of AWEPA’s Eminent Advisory Board.
Brussels, Belgium – On the International Day of the Girl Child, AWEPA’s Section in the Belgian Parliament and Plan Belgium organised an event to celebrate the power of girls and call for continued investment by the Belgian Parliament to help them to unlock this power.
The event, which was held in the Belgian Federal Parliament on 11 October 2016, aimed to raise awareness among parliamentarians of the challenges faced by girls, especially those in the developing world and the importance of education and the protection of girls.
Participants heard from Adeline N’Ouemou, a 17 year old girl from Benin, who explained the important role of education in her life, described the challenges faced by girls in Benin and shared her hopes for the future.
The event was attended by Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium and Minister of Development Cooperation, H.E. Alexander De Croo, who also recognised the key importance of education for girls.
The President of the Chamber of Representatives, Hon. Siegfried Bracke, joined Adeline in presenting H.E. De Croo with a large key to symbolise the commitment of the parliamentarians to unlock the power of girls.
Hon. Els Van Hoof, Political Coordinator of AWEPA’s Programmes on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting and Child Marriage, also spoke at the event, giving an overview of AWEPA’s work on child marriage, including our support for the drafting of the Model Law on Eradicating Child Marriage and Protecting Children already in Marriage, which was adopted in June 2016 by the South African Development Community (SADC) Parliamentary Forum.
Belgian MP and AWEPA member Hon. Nele Lijnen, who is involved in the work of Plan Belgium, explained about the 2015 Belgian multi-party draft resolution in on education for girls developing countries and the continuous efforts of the Belgian Parliament to defend the rights of the girls in Belgium’s partner countries, especially with regard to investments in basic education.
Following the meeting, several parliamentarians from across the political spectrum signed a resolution calling on Belgian politicians to continue to invest in development, and especially in quality education for girls in the developing world.