Girls and Young Women at the Centre of Africa’s Development

Globally, adolescent girls and young women aged 15–24 years make up approximately 880 million of the population. Despite making up 12% of the global population, this populace is often left without a voice or control of their own bodies. Of particular concern, African girls and young women are often disadvantaged and endure numerous barriers in accessing services and contributing to the development space.

Yet, every African girl and young woman have the potential to transform their own life. FEMNET believes that young girls and young women should be the centre of development. In collaboration with Plan International Netherlands, Defence for Children – ECPAT the Netherlands (DCI-ECPAT), and Terre des Hommes (TdH) Netherlands, and in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, FEMNET continues to meaningfully engage girls’ and young women to access regional and international platforms through the She Leads consortium.

The consortium brings child rights organisations, feminists, women’s rights organisations, and girls and young women- (GYW) led groups in a joint effort to increase the sustained influence of GYW on decision-making and the transformation of gender norms in formal and informal institutions. The consortium is therefore dedicated to championing GYW’s rights to freely express themselves, participate in public decision-making, and have their voices heard. Against this backdrop, FEMNET made it possible for African girls and young women to engage in the events that occurred in Nairobi Kenya during the 20th commemoration of the Maputo Protocol.

Below are 15 news story features and articles that epitomize how girls can contribute to the development space if given an opportunity:

The aforementioned was compiled by Imali Ngusale: . For more information on the She Leads programme and FEMNET’s advocacy work in Africa with African girls and young women and #ISpeak4Myself campaign contact Esther Nyawira via

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