By Nebila Abdulmelik

A number of us are here in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for the 3rd Women Deliver Global Conference. Please make your voices heard! We’ll be tweeting live – follow and engage in the conversations – #WD2013. We are at a crossroads – OAU/AU celebrated 25 years exactly to the day yesterday – what legacy will we leave for Africans as we look forward to the African Renaissance and Agenda 2063 as well as the Post 2015 discussions?

We must make a choice – we can either TAKE A STAND or TAKE A SEAT. What will it be peeps?

Nebila Abdulmelik is the Head of Communications at FEMNET (African Women’s Development & Communication Network). She can be reached @aliben86 or communication@femnet.or.ke and on her blog (aliben86.wordpress.com).


Today’s Girl Child; The Woman of the future!

By Hannah Ondiek,

 FEMNET is pleased to be part of the voices celebrating the first United Nations observance of the International Day of the Girl Child, 11th October 2012 themed Ending Child Marriage. The United Nations General Assembly designated 11th October as the International Day of the Girl Child through the Resolution A/RES/66/170. UN Women is among the many organizations, initiatives and campaigns all around the world that have pledged to support and promote girls’ human rights.

The FEMNET Gender Policy refers to young women as ‘The successor generation of women leaders’. This signifies the importance of nurturing and empowering the girl child.

Across the world while a girl is learning in class, a young bride is learning to take care of her family, while a girl is catching up with school work and gaining knowledge and ideas for the future, another girl is catching up with house work as part of their daily routine, while a young girl is gaining experience on life through education another girl is going through Female Genital Mutilation – FGM, which (according to WHO) involves partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons to ‘make her a woman.’

Girl child Facts and Figures


  • Every 3 seconds, a girl is forced or coerced to marry
  • Every year, 10 million girls are forced or coerced into marriage
  • 1 in 3 girls in the developing world is married by the age of 18
  • 1 in 7 girls marries before they reach the age of 15


  • 75 million girls around the world are out of school
  • 1 in 3 girls is denied a secondary education
  • Girls’ primary school completion rates are below 50% in most poor countries
  •  while about 41% of girl’s transition to secondary school education, only 3% complete the cycle


  • About 140 million girls and women worldwide are living with the consequences of FGM
  • FGM is mostly carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15
  • In Africa an estimated 92 million girls above the age of 10 have undergone FGM

Sexual Health and Violence:

  • 150 million girls under 18 have experienced rape or other forms of sexual violence
  • leading cause of death for young women aged 15-19 years in developing countries is pregnancy

Solutions to consider

An extra year of secondary school increases a girl’s potential income by 15 – 25%, every extra year in a mothers schooling cuts infant mortality by between 5 – 10%, an increase of only 1% in girl’s secondary education attendance adds 0.3% to a country’s GDP (Plan International). Girl child education needs to be supported and financed in Africa!

We can also take action is against violations of the Girl Childs rights! You can make you voice heard by joining initiatives for instance the EQUALITY NOW Initiative in Egypt to stop the lowering of the minimum age of marriage for girls.

Changing the situation for the girl child not only improves her life but the whole nation and future generations to come.

What future are we creating for the girl child in Africa? Join the voices celebrating the Day of the Girl Child to End Child Marriage!

For more information on Child Marriages and initiatives to prevent this, go to;

Girls Not Brides

Every Mother Counts

Care International

Let’s continue this conversation. Connect with FEMNET @femnetprog or on facebook.

Hannah Ondiek is the Communication Intern at FEMNET. You can connect with her @hannahadoyo and hannahondeik@gmail.com  

“This post was initially published on FEMNET’s blog

Young African Women Must Rise

Women must remove barriers to economic emancipation”, the African Union Commission Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma challenged women.

Are young women in Africa celebrating with the world?  This is a pertinent question we need to ask as the world celebrated International Youth Day on 12th August, 2012 themed “Building a Better World: Partnering with Youth”. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s five-year Action Plan on Youth priority areas include; employment, entrepreneurship, education, political inclusion and protection of rights which include young women’s rights.

On 25th and 26th July 2011, the United Nations held a High Level Meeting on Youth at the UN headquarters. One of the 2 thematic panel discussions at the meeting was on the challenges to youth development and opportunities for poverty eradication, employment and sustainable development. The Secretary General’s speech noted that unemployment rates for youth globally is 3 to 6 times the rate for adults. This is especially the case for young women, disabled and indigenous youth.

The joint statement of the UN Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development (IANYD) noted the importance of the participation of young women to increase the commitments made and investments to promote the youth development.

Young women need to be part of the economic growth and the promotion of youth employment in Africa noting that the world’s best emerging economies are on the African continent.

Women in Africa have been having deliberations and are working to have women’s full participation and have pledged to fight for inclusive growth. This was seen especially at the Second African Women Economic Summit in Lagos, Nigeria on 12th to 14th July 2012.

One of the ten themes in the African Women’s Decade 2010-2020 is on the Young Women’s Movement in Africa. I urge young women to rise up and take the mantle. We are the successor generation of leaders and we need to be seen as worthy of this title in all areas of development. We need to recognize the structures in place and not wait to be handed our rights on a silver platter but claim them. They say that good things come to those who wait but only those left by those who ‘hustle’.

Let us as women’s rights organization give young women a reason to celebrate!

Hannah Ondiek is the Communications Intern at FEMNET. You can connect with her at hannahondiek@gmail.com or on twitter.

This post was originally posted on FEMNET’s blog.

How It All Began…

By Nebila Abdulmelik

A number of youth delegates from various countries across the continent, including Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Uganda, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria and Zambia were brought together for a Women Deliver Regional Consultation that took place in late March 2012 in Kampala, Uganda addressing issues of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) with a particular focus on achieving MDGs 4 and 5 .

The youth delegates who convened at that meeting decided that the advocacy would not begin and end at that meeting, but that the resources, information, knowledge gained needed to be shared and acted upon. This blog is a venue by which sharing experiences, opportunities, actions, good practices can take place. We invite you to submit blog posts, which you can do so by submitting your piece to africayouthdeliver@gmail.com.

Join us in the struggle to ensure that SRHR is realized for African youth all over the continent, so that we leave a legacy for our future generations and ensure that Africa is in the best state it can be, because it deserves nothing less!

Follow the conversation, connect with us on twitter @youthdeliver and on facebook.

Let’s keep the fire burning!

Nebila Abdulmelik is an Associate Advocacy Officer at FEMNET (African Women’s Development and Communication Network). Connect with her on her blog and/or twitter.