The programme focuses on prevention and reduction of these practices. It supports girls and young women from remote or marginalised communities to make informed choices, enjoy their sexuality and be free from harmful practices in gender-equitable societies.
Time to shift social norms
Mara gave birth in Malawi, aged just 16. Siti from Indonesia got married at 15. Insaf and her friends suffered female genital mutilation in South Sudan.
Unequal power relations and prevailing social norms lie beneath the human rights violations these girls have endured.
To stop harmful practices, unintended pregnancies and sexual and gender-based violence, these norms need to shift. This takes time and persistence.
Change starts in the community
We strengthen the capacity of civil society organisations, so they can claim, protect and expand civic space and play a vital role in advocating more effectively for gender-transformative and youth-inclusive decision-making at local, national and international level. We support them to practice diplomacy, political participation and engage with the media.
Young voices must be heard
The voices of adolescent girls and young women – especially those who live in underserved communities – must be heard. They must learn how to claim their rights and address gender inequalities.
We will actively engage men and boys, as they are part of the solution too.
Gaining knowledge, skills, confidence and agency will enhance young people’s ability to collectively question and break down social norms, policies and systems.
This will gradually strengthen their role and position in society, enabling them to address harmful practices, sexual and gender-based violence and unintended pregnancies, and claim the civic space to do so.
Improving policies and their implementation
The biggest challenge in most countries is the implementation of existing laws and policies around harmful practices and sexual and gender-based violence.
To change laws and policies, or to properly implement them, policy and decision-makers need information about the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people, particularly adolescent girls and young women.
Acknowledging young people’s agency and rights, including the right to participate in decision-making, opens the door for young people to be part of policy processes.
The role of Rutgers
Rutgers uses a robust gender-transformative approach in all its work. It has expertise in youth-led sexual and reproductive health and rights research and extensive experience in capacity strengthening on advocacy and gender-based violence.
Within the programme, our focus is on Indonesia and Ghana.