When girls’ and women’s rights are violated, the whole community collapses

Youth in Sudan are leading change and advocating for girls’ rights

Hadeel Agab Ashi
15 October 2021

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Child Marriage (MC) are recognized internationally as a violation of human rights. It deprives girls and women of their right to protection, health and education.

On 11th of October 2021 and in celebration of the International Day of the Girl, the Blue Nile region in Sudan, hosted the 9th edition of the National Youth Conference led by the youth, the Government of Sudan and the United Nations.

Young girl speaking at conference

The conference aimed to establish a safe and inclusive platform bringing together and amplifying the voices of youth to help promote girls’ rights in Sudan. Many workshops were conducted during the forum to discuss and tackle the negative social norms girls and women face in their communities such as FGM child marriage and Gender Based Violence GBV.

Moreover, the forum promoted youth engagement, leadership, participation in decision-making and exchange of knowledge.

So many passionate youth came from across Sudan to speak up and advocate for girl’s rights. Here are some of their voices.

The Sudanese young people played a vital role in changing the political situation in Sudan and it’s also their responsibility to contribute to changing the negative social norms. In Sudan we have large number of initiatives led by youth and we need to use these resources to instill the culture of peaceful communication. Violence is a violation of women’s rights and when girls and women’s rights are violated, the whole community collapses.

Abdullah Salih, 25-years-old, South Kordofan
Abdullah Salih, 25-years-old, South Kordofan
Eiman Elsir, 21-years-old, Al Gezira

I’m a medical student and I’m interested in ending FGM, child marriage and topics surrounding reproductive health.  I participated in the National Youth conference because It’s a great platform to advocate for girls’ rights. I believe  FGM is a negative social norm deeply rooted in our culture and hard to be eradicated but given its harmful and long-lasting consequences we need to take serious steps to end it

Eiman Elsir, 21-years-old, Al Gezira

I’m proud to be a part of the Youth conference in Blue Nile and we will continue to support the development programmes targeting children and women. This forum coincides with the International Day of the Girl through which UNICEF advocates to end the practice of gender-based violence that deprives many girls of fulfilling their rights.

Fatma Omer, UNICEF Sudan
Fatma Omer, UNICEF Sudan
Yaseen Salah Eldeen, 25-years-old, Khartoum

Changing the government is not enough, the real change is ending the negative social norms. This conference is important because it brings youth together into one platform and helps them prove to their communities that they’re able to make a positive change.”

Yaseen Salah Eldeen, 25-years-old, Khartoum

FGM has a harmful impact on women. Girls that underwent FGM experience painful complications during menstrual cycle and pregnancy and others die while delivering. That’s why we need to put more efforts towards ending FGM and child marriage so that they can live and grow healthy.

Sondos Ahmed, 30-years-old, Blue Nile
Sondos Ahmed, 30-years-old, Blue Nile
Omnia Mahmoud, UNICEF Sudan

I would like to be a part of the change, contribute to end the negative social norms and help every girl in Sudan achieve their dreams and goals.

Omnia Mahmoud, UNICEF Sudan

FGM is a crime. I participated in the conference because I wanted to discuss the issues related to girls and women as I already started my own research on Female Genital Mutilation. I want to know more about it, why it’s practiced and how we can end it.

Mutassim Al Namma, 19-years-old, Damazine
Mutassim Al Namma, 19-years-old, Damazine

 

The joint FGM programme is generously supported by the governments of Finland, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom, as well as the European Union.