Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Violence Against Women Hindering Development, Says Agency

November 25th marks the day where international attention is drawn to the Elimination of Violence Against Women. ADRA Malawi as part of the International ADRA Network joined the United Nations in the commemorations of the day, promoting the enditnow global campaign, co-sponsored by ADRA, whose primary aim is to put an end to the global pandemic of violence aimed at the female gender. In the press release from ADRA International, a development project by ADRA Malawi, promoting women's rights, was highlighted.

Bellow the press release from ADRA International:

The deep effect that violence against women and girls is having around the world is not only stalling the development of millions of women, but also that of their families, communities, and entire societies, reports the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA).

“Although women are often the most vulnerable in a society, as mothers and primary caregivers their empowerment is essential to the well-being of their children,” said Charles Sandefur, president of ADRA International. “Protecting them from physical, sexual, or psychological harm is not only is the right thing to do, but an absolute necessity in reaching our development goals.”

In order to push for the eradication of violence against women, ADRA is joining the United Nations on November 25 to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women by highlighting the enditnow™ campaign, a global initiative co-sponsored by ADRA whose primary aim is to put an end to the global pandemic of violence aimed at the female gender.

As part of its first phase, the enditnow™ campaign is gathering 1 million signatures from supporters in more than 200 countries and territories, which will then be presented to the United Nations once the goal is reached in order to drive attention to the issue and advocate for policies that will better protect women and girls.

To sign the petition online, click here. View the campaign video here.

ADRA is actively working to eradicate violence against women and girls through various initiatives, including the Keep Girls Safe Project in northern Thailand, which combats sex trafficking; the Anti-Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Project in Kenya; the Stop Sex Traffic Project in India; and ADRA House, a shelter for battered women that ADRA recently opened in Romania.

Recognizing the role that inequality holds in many abusive situations, ADRA’s women empowerment projects also help women increase their role within their own families, gain greater control over their own bodies, and become a voice within their own communities.

In southern Malawi, ADRA is running a project that helps women in the Mulanje district understand their rights, improve their health, and initiate self-supporting income generating activities. By its completion in April 2011, it is expected to have benefited 11,000 people directly, and 33,000 people indirectly, including both men and women.

“The project helps men see women as partners in development, improving marital relations among targeted men and women, a factor that has proven successful among other rural families,” said Per Bolling, project officer for ADRA Sweden.

In southern Chile, 200 women from indigenous Mapuche communities in the Araucania region participated in a one-year project that improved their self-esteem, raised awareness on issues relating to domestic and gender violence, and taught them about gender equality and women empowerment.

“We would like to see Mapuche women as a central protagonist of the destiny of the [Chilean] nation,” said José Antonio Viera-Gallo, special minister for the Presidency of the Republic of Chile, during the project closing ceremony held in October.

ADRA is also improving the literacy skills and health of an estimated 2,000 women and children in a region of Bangladesh where approximately 90 percent of women are illiterate.

“Most of the women have never attended a class before,” said Elidon Bardhi, country director for ADRA Bangladesh. “Many have indicated that the project has changed their lives.”

According to the World Health Organization, violence against women and girls is widespread and comes in a variety of forms, most notably through rape, sex trafficking, domestic abuse, sexual assault, honor killings, female genital mutilation, child marriage, sexual harassment, and emotional and verbal abuse.

In the United States, one-third of women murdered each year are killed by intimate partners. Women and girls constitute 80 percent of the estimated 800,000 people trafficked annually, with the majority—79 percent—trafficked for sexual exploitation. In addition, approximately 100 to 140 million girls and women in the world have experienced female genital mutilation/cutting, with more than 3 million girls in Africa annually at risk of the practice. In eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, at least 200,000 cases of sexual violence, mostly involving women and girls, have been documented since 1996, though the actual numbers are considered to be much higher, according to the United Nations Development Fund for Women.

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which is recognized annually on November 25, is designed to raise awareness regarding the issue of violence against women. Additional information about the enditnow™ campaign is available at

Follow ADRA on Twitter and Facebook to get the latest information as it happens.

ADRA is a non-governmental organization present in 125 countries providing sustainable community development and disaster relief without regard to political or religious association, age, gender, race or ethnicity.

For more information about ADRA, visit

Author: Nadia McGill

No comments: