Spotlight Initiative Africa Regional Programme Annual Narrative Progress Report 2021

The Spotlight Initiative Africa Regional Programme is a global partnership between the United Nations, the European Union and the African Union with a continental scope that enhances a regional approach to end violence against women and girls, sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices, as well as strengthening sexual and reproductive health and rights. The Regional Programme prioritizes strengthening existing strategies and initiatives, such as the African Union (AU) Gender Strategy 2017–2027, Agenda 2030, Agenda 2063, and the Maputo Plan of Action on operationalization of the Continental Policy Framework for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (2016–2030).

In the last decade, 25 million child marriages globally have been averted thanks to accelerated progress in eliminating the practice. There is growing evidence that overall, rates of female genital mutilation (FGM) are declining across the globe. This remarkable accomplishment is now under threat. COVID-19 unleashed a learning crisis on the African continent, with school closures disrupting the school of millions of students. At the same time, political and economic instability and disrupted services are rolling back decades of progress in the fight against harmful practices such as child marriage and female genital mutilation.

Urgent action is needed to prevent and mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on adolescent girls and speed up the elimination of harmful practices to meet the ambitious target of the Sustainable Development Goals: to eliminate harmful practices such as child marriage and FGM by 2030.

This report provides an overview of the progress, achievements, challenges and lessons of the regional programme in 2021, as well as results built on progress made in 2020.




Source: United Nations Population Fund

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