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Advocacy for the respect of the rights of girls on the occasion of the celebration in Haiti of the International Day of the Girl

31 October 2017

Port-au-Prince, October 30, 2017 --- The First Lady of Haiti chaired a dialogue with some 400 teenagers in the premises of the Ministry of Youth located at the Croix-des-Bouquets ranch, North-East of Port-au-Prince, in the afternoon of October 14, 2017, as part of the celebration by UNFPA of International Day of the Girl, in conjunction with several other partners.

Martine Moses told a few moments of her life with the girls, encouraging them to take their studies very seriously, and answered many of their questions.

This activity ended a rich day, which was marked by exchanges between adolescent girls and actors working in health, education and child protection, around various themes: Sexual and Reproductive Health / Challenges, school health and the happiness of the child, the importance of the vaccine within the Haitian community to deal with pathologies that can be controlled by vaccination, the power of adolescent girls according to a dimension of citizen participation, early pregnancy, gender-based violence, and teenage leadership.

Three days earlier, on October 11, the First Lady, officially opening the celebration of the International Day of the Girl Child, recalled that "the chances of our girls to realize their potential is too often limited by school dropout, limited access to health services, but also to unwanted pregnancies ".

This is a teenager, in the spirit of "Girls' Take Over" marked every year in the world by Plan International, who read the speech of the Representative of the United Nations Population Fund for Haiti, on the occasion of this workshop on the situation of Haitian adolescent girls, which brought together no less than 70 national and international actors working on girls' issues.

"Helping girls succeed should be everyone's responsibility," Stacy said, the Representative of a day who is 16 years old. She recalled that "children need to be cared for, so that they become responsible adults," adding that "it's not only a commitment of love, but also an economic commitment."

The Minister of Youth, Sports, and Civic Action, Régine Lamur, and the Minister of Women's Affairs and Women's Rights, Eunide Innocent, for their part deplored the discrimination, which girls are victims in Haiti because of their gender, advocating for a clear strategy that can guarantee them a better future.

Noteworthy is the presentation by sociologist Danièle Magloire of the feminist organization "Kay Fanm" on "the social dynamics having an impact on the adolescent girls and the ways to deal with these", which was followed by work groups on specific themes that concern the adolescent girls.

In Haiti, adolescent girls are a particularly vulnerable group that faces many socio-economic and political barriers, including education, health, including reproductive health.

According to the EMMUS V-2012 survey, in Haiti, the average age of first intercourse is before 18 for women. Lack of education is a determinant of early sexual initiation in women (16.8 vs. 18.9).

According to the same source, 14% of teenagers aged 15 to 19 are already sexually active, 11% of whom have had at least one child, and 3% are pregnant with their first baby. Place of residence, level of education, and level of economic well-being are all factors affecting the reproductive life of young people.

The risks of early pregnancy and HIV infection remain significant. Indeed, HIV prevalence is 0.9% for 15 to 24 year olds and increases with age. The prevalence is always higher among girls than among young men. 42% to 56% of 15- to 25-year-olds sexually active were engaged in unprotected sex, 1.2% to 4.6%, had at least two partners in the 12 months prior to EMMUS-V.

Celebrated annually since 2012 on October 11, International Day of the Girl aims to highlight the needs of girls and address the challenges they face. This Day also promotes girls' empowerment and the exercise of their fundamental rights. It is celebrated this year in the world around the theme "Empowering girls: before, during and after crises".