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This year’s State of the World’s Girls report, The Truth Gap, explores how adolescent girls and young women deal with misinformation and disinformation when engaging with political, civic or social topics online. 26,000 girls and young women from 26 countries were interviewed and alarming findings, including that 9 out of 10 have been harmed by false information and lies online were discovered.
The news encouraged people to see all the global, regional and national responses by the governments and various organizations. There are local efforts by the agents of change that also deserve the spotlight - young people. Plan International advocates for youth-led movements and seeks to ensure that girls and young women experience significant improvement in their ability to make decisions that concern their lives and engage in collective action to shape the world around them. In two years, the pandemic has negatively affected our progress on gender equality and girls’ rights, but young people decided not to surrender. Plan International is proud to accompany them in the journey supporting community recovery. This report will show the global pandemic through different lenses of young people. There are inevitably various hardships, even loss and pain from the devastating negative effects that COVID-19 brings to the region. But the spirit here is apparent, that youth activists in Asia Pacific won’t wait for the storm to pass, instead they fight the pandemic hard and start to build a better today. Stepping out of the “battle”, young activists in the region are invited to come together, listen to the personal stories and experiences of their peers in a series of Focus Group Discussions, write each other letters that are full of empathy and encouragement and see the world they long to visit through a collection of photo voices.
Covid-19 has had an enormous impact on education at every level all over the world. In many East and Southern African countries, the experience of the pandemic followed the effects of measures to slow the spread of Covid-19 severely effecting Africa’s education system. African countries dealt with the pandemic and are working to mitigate its effect on their education systems. This report, and the study findings behind it, provides a unique insight into the perspectives of girls, education actors and experts regarding the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on education in five countries of Egypt, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Rwanda. It recognizes that the continued closure of schools has exposed millions of young women and adolescent girls to increasing protection risks and severely threatens their futures are girls out of schools are less likely to resume.
Chamaiporn Siangyen; Caterina Grasso; Reylynne Dela Paz (et al.)
The 2021 Asia-Pacific Girls Report is Plan International’s annual research report concerning girls in the Asia-Pacific region. It is part of our contribution towards the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015, committed to equitable and inclusive development for girls and young women. This report highlights both the civic engagement activities of young female activists in the Asia-Pacific and the unique challenges girls and young women face throughout the region. As part of this research, Plan International conducted interviews with sector-based experts and young female activists to assess the current situation in the region. Plan International developed and updated the Asia and Pacific Girls’ Leadership Indexes to measure the opportunities of adolescent girls and young women to develop and demonstrate their leadership capabilities, their unique voice in the region, the gaining of support for their choices and collective and individual power.
An in-depth report on the e-learning experience in Jordan during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report evaluates the experiences of refugees, marginalised and disadvantaged people in local communities and camps who are enrolled in distance education, conducting formal, informal, and non-formal education, from kindergarten up until grade 12. The report presents essential recommendations and outlines steps to improve the current infrastructure to ensure children’s safe and equitable access to digital learning platforms. Additionally, the report highlights that there is a growing need to improve the capacity and awareness of partners who are part of the current educational process and comes up with practical solutions to address the “learning gap” suffered by children during the pandemic.
This report is the result of a multi-sectoral needs assessment exercise focusing on the rights and needs of adolescents living in the Anglophone territories of North West South West (NWSW) Cameroon. Conducted under extremely challenging circumstances, the assessment used innovative methods pioneered by Plan International to capture the voices of adolescent girls and young women, alongside adolescent boys, young men and their parents and caregivers. It spoke directly to adolescent girls themselves, in particular adolescent girls who are mothers, pregnant, or married, whose ideas, and needs, are often ignored. The NWSW regions of Cameroon have been engulfed in crisis since late 2016, yet this conflict, and its impacts on adolescents, have received limited attention from the international community. This report, which gives adolescents the space to voice their concerns and priorities can be used to engage with states, donors and other humanitarian actors on this neglected crisis and highlight what needs to be done to address adolescents’ needs, rights and aspirations.
Josaphat Tchetan Awo
The crisis affecting the Lake Chad Basin is one of the most severe humanitarian emergencies in the world, having displaced more than 2.4 million people, half of whom are children. Most are internally-displaced but this number also includes refugees and returnees. With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, people living in humanitarian contexts are particularly vulnerable to the pandemic and will continue to feel the post-pandemic impacts. For people living in areas with weak health systems, disrupted social support networks, and ongoing conflict and instability, the coronavirus is an additional crisis that they have to face and adapt to. Within this population, youth face increased vulnerability. Youth groups however, provide a critical voice for accountability at the community, state/district and national level. In addition, most youth groups tend to be self-led, volunteer-based, internally-funded and informal with little to no structure. As the pandemic continues to wreak havoc on nations’ economies, the pressure for economic survival is heightened for this group who already face bleak employment or income generation prospects. Beyond the impact on youth as individuals, there’s a threat to their ability to contribute to community building through youth groups, as their focus shifts to economic survival. This report seeks to highlight the effects of the pandemic on young people, and how they are facing their future.
Currently, as COVID-19 spreads across the world, an unprecedented 76.7 million people are living as refugees, or have been displaced inside their countries. Some 131 of the countries affected by COVID-19 have sizeable refugee populations and more than 80% of refugees are hosted in low- and middle-income countries including Uganda, Sudan, Pakistan and Turkey, with health systems that are ill-equipped to manage significant outbreaks. Refugee and IDP camps are mostly chronically overcrowded and measures to avoid community transmission of the virus, such as physical distancing and frequent handwashing, are difficult to implement. The absence of basic amenities, such as clean running water and soap, insufficient medical personnel, and poor access to health information, let alone access to masks, will make avoiding infection virtually impossible. Also, in many host countries, refugees’ entitlement to healthcare and social protection systems are restricted or non-existent, which increases their vulnerability even further.
Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are the first line of defence against COVID-19. It’s widely recognised that access to clean, running water and soap for handwashing is a critical need that must be met in our global response to the pandemic, however there are other essential aspects of WASH that should not be forgotten at this time. On any single day during this health emergency, 800 million diverse women and girls are menstruating and grappling with the unique challenges of doing so in a global pandemic. This report looks at how the current implications of COVID-19 is exacerbating key challenges for people who menstruate around the world and provides recommendations on how to include menstrual hygiene management (MHM) within a COVID-19 response.
As countries across Africa experience the impact of COVID-19 across health systems, economies and communities, progress made in the last decade in achieving the rights of adolescent girls’ risks being lost. African governments must act in urgency to address this “invisible crisis" and protect the important gains made to protect, and empower girls over the last decade.COVID-19, an unfolding global health crisis, is revealing a grim impact on millions of adolescent girls across Africa. Along with rising infection rates across countries in the continent, the disease is compounding challenges to girls’ agency, protection, learning and leadership. The African response to the pandemic will – if unchecked - roll back important gains made in ensuring African girls’ access and enjoyment of human rights. COVID-19 is emerging as not only a health crisis but a significant protection crisis for adolescent girls across the continent.
The COVID-19 pandemic may cause 13 million additional child marriages by 2030, and West and Central Africa will be severely affected unless multi-sectoral, comprehensive efforts to end child marriage are accelerated in the region. This joint brief from Girls Not Brides and Plan International outlines the impacts of the pandemic on child marriage. It provides recommendations and an urgent call for action for governments, regional bodies and humanitarian actors to ensure that girls and young women's rights are upheld during and after the COVID-19 crisis response.
Sharon Goulds; Isobel Fergus; Esther Winslow
As cases of COVID-19 continue to spread worldwide it is becoming clear that the outbreak of this virus has implications that reach far beyond the direct impact on people’s physical health. What started as a health emergency is causing fundamental shifts in society as governments struggle to try and contain the crisis. COVID-19 is having an impact on all sectors of society across the world. But its impact does not fall equally: the virus is taking advantage of pre-existing inequalities. As the world has sought desperately to deal both with the medical impacts of the virus and to prepare a response to its many secondary effects, research on COVID-19 has accelerated. However, there is limited research on the social impacts of COVID-19 and on the consequences for young people, especially those specific to girls. Plan International commissioned research to look specifically at the impact of the current pandemic on girls and young women, collecting data from over 7,000 girls across 14 countries. The report also includes extracts from interviews with young women, reflecting on the impact COVID-19 has had on their lives in Mozambique, Brazil, Ghana and Nicaragua. The scale of this pandemic affects girls and young women in all aspects of their daily lives: their safety, wellbeing, education, economic security, health, nutrition and access to technology. All pre-existing inequalities are made worse by COVID-19. Its impact on girls and young women, who face unique vulnerabilities, needs to be acknowledged and it is their experiences and perspectives this research seeks to understand.
Shimelis Tsegaye Tesemma
Throughout history, women and girls have been affected negatively and at a disproportionately higher rate by the outbreaks of epidemics and pandemics, and COVID-19 hasn’t been an exception. Existing social and cultural norms and practices that underlie structures of systemic gender discrimination and marginalisation glaringly manifest themselves. Otherwise hidden and suppressed attitudes and practices are laid bare as communities and institutions resort to instincts to control and survive within emergency situations. In Africa, an intersection of factors leaves girls and adolescents at greater risk of marginalisation, discrimination and neglect. Gender and social norms have traditionally placed girls at a greater disadvantage than other segments of the population. Pandemics, like other crises, often result in the breakdown of social infrastructure and services, leading to health, transport, food, sanitation, legal, security and other governance structures being temporarily contracted or becoming dysfunctional. This may result in increased exposure of women and children to human rights abuses, including exposure to gender-based violence.
UNICEF Innocenti's Children and COVID-19 Library is a database collecting research from around the world on COVID-19 and its impacts on children and adolescents.
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