Remarks by UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore at the launch of the Spotlight Initiative Impact Report 2020-2021

As prepared for delivery

19 November 2021

NEW YORK, 19 November 2021 – “Violence against women and girls is a silent pandemic. It is one we can treat only by working together.

“That is why I so proud of the joint efforts of UNICEF, our sister agencies, and the European Union in The Spotlight Initiative.

“The initiative is the world’s largest targeted effort to end all forms of violence against women and girls. It is working to change the harmful social and gender norms that underpin violence. And it is improving access to – and the quality of – essential services for survivors of violence.

“In Malawi, we are working with community organizations and media partners to raise awareness among educators and young people, especially boys. These efforts are helping to increase reporting and providing girls and women with faster and more effective support.

“In El Salvador, we are working with parents and community leaders on positive parenting to tackle violence in the home.   

“In Niger, we are working with village protection committees to prevent hundreds of child marriages – a top priority for us. 

“The Spotlight Initiative is proof that when governments, UN agencies and civil society work together, we can make a difference.

“Our commitment has never been more necessary: Over the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted or closed key services, including in health facilities and schools. Meanwhile, economic pressures in many countries are increasing the risk of violence.

“The Spotlight Initiative shows up the continued need for investment to prevent violence and provide effective responses.

“The results we’re launching today show just what that investment can achieve.

“Violence against girls and women is preventable, and change is possible.

“Girls and women are leading this change; let us continue to support them.”

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