Just over two days. That’s how long you have to make twice the difference to women and girls globally, who are faced with poverty and violence every single day. Until midnight on Wednesday 25 June the UK government will double all donations made to our She CAN appeal. Time is running out and I’m hoping that you will share our sense of urgency and dig deep.
During the course of the She CAN appeal, we’ve heard countless stories about atrocities committed against women and girls. The ones that stand out for me are the gang-rape and hanging of two girls in India, the stoning of a woman in Pakistan and the abduction of 300 Nigerian school girls. But there are even more stories that don’t come to light in the mainstream media. The practice of mutilating a girl’s vagina and then selling her for a dowry is happening right now, child marriage is considered normal in many countries, and shockingly, one in three women are still likely to be violently attacked in their lifetime.
Women at the heart of everything we do
It has to stop. That is why we continue to appeal for your help and why, in all of our work, women and girls are at the very heart of everything we do.
I know that it’s often easy to get disheartened with what seems like a constant barrage of hate, atrocities, and crimes that we can sometimes feel are too big to fix. But we only have to look at the successes of ActionAid’s work to feel buoyed to continue.
We have provided direct support to women and girls who have escaped female genital mutilation. In Kenya alone, 6,000 women and girls have been reached directly and 60,000 indirectly through ActionAid girls’ clubs and rescue centres.
In Pakistan, we worked with a coalition of 16 other organisations on outlawing child marriage. It is now illegal in the Sindh province to marry a girl under the age of 18.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, our access to justice project has supported the establishment of four legal clinics and trained 32 paralegals in South and North Kivu on women’s rights, judicial procedures, and existing laws and conventions protecting women. The paralegals handled more than 120 cases and referred others to higher courts.
We are seeing real and lasting change
Our successes are many and these are just some of the outstanding victories. We are making headway by working with local communities and are confident we are seeing real and lasting change. So we have to continue. The She CAN aid match appeal allows us make twice the impact in this important work as every donation is doubled by the government. Together we can make a difference to the lives of women and girls worldwide.