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  • Writer's pictureNadhira Jiddawi

Joint Communique on Female Genital Mutilation and Child Marriage of Child Helplines in Africa

We the Child Helplines in Africa under the Child Helpline International, gathered in Zanzibar, United Republic of Tanzania 5 to 7 November 2019, hosted by the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar in collaboration with UNFPA, to strengthen our contribution to Africa’s Agenda 2063 (paragraph 53), the Africa’s Agenda for Children 2040, which aspires that by 2040, “No child is exposed to sexual exploitation and used for child sexual materials” and that “No child is exposed to any form of violence, including gender based violence in the public of private sphere” and that “children are free from physical and psychological abuse”, wish to note our common position on ending harmful practices.

Further to the commitments on “galvanizing political action towards the elimination of female genital mutilation” (Ouagadougou 2018) and the African Union Continental Initiative to end female genital mutilation (Assembly/AU/DEC757(XXXII) and recognising the Declaration by the Regional Inter-Ministerial Meeting to End Cross Border Female Genital Mutilation in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Somalia (Declaration 17th April 2019); Further to the African Union’s Common Position on Child Marriage 17 June 2015, all reaffirming the Maputo Plan of Action to advance rights and choices for women and girls;

  • We acknowledge and commend the spirit of collaboration in the Declaration of the Regional Inter-Ministerial Meeting to End Cross Border FGM in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Somalia. We, the Child Helplines recognise our ability to enhance the implementation of the Cross-Border Declaration in the wider Africa region, as well as our ability to also support similar commitments on ending child marriage.

  • As we approach the ICPD at 25 Nairobi Summit, we recognise that the future of sustainable development is directly linked to fulfilling the aspirations of adolescents and youth. Empowering the world’s 1.8 billion young people and unleashing their full potential to contribute to economic and social progress will be instrumental for bringing the vision and the promise the ICPD Programme of Action and of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to life. In line with Considering our ability, we would like to offer our availability to support its implementation as it pertains to ending harmful practices of child marriage and female genital mutilation.

  • We commit to strengthening our contribution to preventing and responding harmful practices, in particular child, early and forced marriages and female genital mutilation, by committing to strive for: (a) Zero harmful practices, including zero child, early and forced marriage, as well as zero female genital mutilation.

  • Specifically we will aim to support cross border cooperation by facilitating information exchange on trends and good practices, establishing SOPs for girls at risk; develop costed plans of action that integrate cross border dimension of both FGM and child marriage; implement advocacy and communication programmes at regional, national and community levels and mobilise strategic partners in the same.

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