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Open Letter Urges U.N.’s Ban To Act On Girl Declaration

In an open letter to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, published in The Guardian’s “Global Development Professionals Network,” Havi Murungi from the market research company Havis and Sarah Waithera from the non-governmental organization (NGO) Carolina For Kibeira, write on behalf of girls in Liberia about gender-based violence and a lack opportunities for female empowerment in the country. “[W]e spoke to dozens of Liberian girls recently as part of the consultations the Girl Effect and its partners are doing with girls living in poverty” about “what you need to do to empower them to drive global development forward,” they state, noting, “The girls told us that crime and gender-based violence have created a culture of fear. … Understandably, they want to live in a much safer, healthier, crime-free and developed environment.”

“If you extrapolate the conditions of the girls we met nationally, Africa-wide, and globally, then the extent of deprivation and abuse is phenomenal — so the interventions will have to be equally exceptional,” Murungi and Waithera write. “You can help unleash the exceptional potential of girls that we saw in Liberia,” they state, noting, “They want to become professionals in diverse areas such as law, medicine, education and journalism.” They write, “As secretary general of the U.N., you have the power to make this happen,” concluding, “The consultations will culminate in the Girl Declaration. When it’s presented to you at the U.N. on International Day of the Girl in October, you must act on it” (8/15).