Hello Global Citizens!
I am here to tell you that:
Sisters are doin' it for themselves.
Standin' on their own two feet.
And ringin' on their own bells.
Ooops…., that was Annie Lennox’s script.
On a serious note - Annie Lennox was on to something very important in her 1985 hit – from which I just stole a few lines.
We still have work to do globally to enable women and girls to be in charge of their own lives.
They must decide themselves when to have children, with whom, and how many.
To make good choices, girls and women need access to information and to reproductive health commodities and services.
Schools must become places to get information and help.
Girls are one and a half times more likely to drop out of primary school than boys.
The reason can be as simple as a lack of toilets, sanitary products and washing facilities at school.
This makes it difficult for girls to handle menstruation with dignity.
We must not let this practical issue deprive girls of their right to education.
Norway is taking action.
We are doing so in cooperation with development partners in a number of countries.
In Ethiopia, we are funding so-called ‘dignity rooms’ in schools.
In Niger, we fund a menstrual hygiene programme.
In Nepal, we are funding school reforms, including the provision of separate girls’ toilets.
In Malawi, Norway is funding improved hygiene facilities to enable girls to attend school during menstruation.
Thousands of Global Citizens have taken action in support of menstrual hygiene management.
At the Global Citizen concert in Hamburg, Norway pledged an additional 85 million US dollars to women and girls’ health.
I am now pleased to announce that Norway, together with UNFPA, UNESCO and other partners, will support sexual reproductive health services – including comprehensive sexuality education – for 170 million young people by 2030.
We invest in girls’ education and health as a moral imperative.
We encourage others to step up their work in this area.
It is one of the best buys available for global development.
It is now a great pleasure to introduce an inspiring young man from India.
He is working tirelessly to ensure that girls are able to manage their periods safely, with dignity, and with the support they need to thrive.
Please welcome Pravin Nikam.