France in South Africa celebrates International Day of the Girl Child
On 4 October 2016, France launched itsstrategy on its action overseas on challenges regarding population, sexual and reproductive health and rights. In light of this and the occasion of International Day of the Girl Child celebrated on 11 October each year, the French Embassy in South Africa and the Consulate General of France in Cape Town organised discussions on the Best Practices to Promote Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights for Young Women.
The Embassy hosted a panel discussion at the Alliance Française de Pretoria in partnership with the South African Department of Social Development (DSD), the United Nations Population Fund’s Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office (UNFPA), the Soul City Institute for Social Justice and Lesedi la Batho NGO.
Panelists taking part included: Dr. Arièle Braye of the Embassy, Dr. Asha Mohamud of UNFPA, Ms. Lebo Ramafoko of the Soul City Institute, Mr. Jacques van Zuydam of DSD and Ms. Kagiso Masunyane of Lesedi la Batho NGO. The discussion was moderated by President of the Alliance Française in Johannesburg,Ms. Liesl Louw-Vaudran.
In her speech, Ambassador of France to South Africa HE Elisabeth Barbier, said: “International Day of the Girl Child is not only a day, it’s a movement - a worldwide revolution on gender justice and youth rights. I am really grateful that we can share tonight these key challenges with our South African partners, as the fight for women’s rights in South Africa, against gender-based and sexual violence, abuse and forced marriage remain a priority. Not only tonight, at the French Alliance, but also at international level”.
The Consulate General of France in Cape Town and the Alliance Française du Cap hosted Ms. Lucinda Evans, director of the NGO Philisa Abafazi Bethu (in Xhosa “Heal our Women”) who moderated the debate between panelists Ms. Jody-Lee Fredericks from the Women’s Legal Centre, Ms. Kerryn Rehse from NGO MOSAIC and Ms. Marion Stevens from the think tank African Gender Institute.
Consul General Xavier d’Argoeuves paid tribute to the dedication of the NGOs present and said: “Access to sexual and reproductive rights is essential both to empowering women and to addressing demographic growth, which is one of the biggest challenges that Africa will face in the decades to come”.