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AU commits to ending the scourge of violence against women

Social Au Men
Social Au Men

The African Union Commission has adopted key areas to advance, promote, and accelerate actions to prevent, address, and end the scourge of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) on the continent.

The critical areas are the introduction of gender-transformative intervention such as of Domestic Violence Prevention Training Programmes (DVPT) for boys and men at the community level using the existing local governance structures and institutions.

It also involves galvanizing participation in the Continental Men’s Coalition to end VAWG as a strategy for the promotion of positive masculinity as a new equitable gender norm in Africa.

The AU Commission also adopts to increase investment in gender transformative social protection programmes and public social services in rural areas and develop a legal and policy framework that will reduce the impact of drivers of VAWG.

The AU Heads of State and Government made the commitment through five presidents, at the Second Men’s Conference in Dakar, Senegal which was hosted by the President Macky Sall of Senegal in collaboration with President Felix Tshisekedi, of the Republic of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Other presidents who participated in the conference are President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa; President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana; Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and the Patron of the African Women Leaders’ Network; and President Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission.

The AU commission’s statement made available to the Ghana News Agency in Tema also identified the critical areas as Unpaid Care and Domestic Work (UCDW), negative attitude towards Sexual and Reproductive Health and Reproductive Rights (SRH&RR), Stereotypes and other forms of discrimination against women in Africa.

It also seeks to develop an intentional policy framework or guidelines to incentivise private sector and academic entities that demonstrate the meaningful representation and participation of women in their enterprises.

The AU Commission would also institutionalize a structure for systematic and continuous engagement with traditional and religious leaders, including their strategic participation and interaction with Heads of State and various AU champions and other mechanisms on campaigns and programmes on the Elimination of Harmful Practices and Violence Against Women and Girls.

It also seeks to encourage AU Member States to support the capacity enhancement of the various gender machineries to respond to and accelerate the implementation of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa.

The AU would also facilitate effective participation and leadership of women in development, peace, and security and provide more resources in support of the African Women’s Decade on Financial and Economic Inclusion of Women and youth through various empowerment programmes, especially for the informal sector.

Dr. Bineta Diop, African Union Special Envoy on Women, Peace, and Security emphasized the importance of supporting the campaign on the elimination of violence against women and girls and its importance in realizing the Aspirations of Agenda 2063.

She said involving and engaging men in the fight to end violence against women and girls had proven to be a catalyst in the ending of the vice.

Dr. Diop said the partnership is not only to see men end physical violence in spaces such as homes and workplaces but also curb non-physical aggression meted on women and girls in the digital spaces where cyber-bullying and harassment are on the rise.

The AU 2nd Men’s Conference was preceded by consultative meetings by civil society leaders, male youth leaders, male leaders in business and private sector, male leaders of the academia, religious, and traditional leaders.

The side event took stock of progress in the implementation of the Kinshasa Declaration on Positive masculinity and made far-reaching recommendations and commitment as agents of change to lead the fight against violence against women and girls.

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