(Xinhua) -- Young women across Africa have borne the
brunt of human induced and natural disasters including wars,
droughts, floods and epidemics, said Plan International report
launched in Nairobi on Friday.
The 2013 African Report on
Adolescent girls and disasters was launched during the
International Day of the Girl Child Cerebration.
the world, men, women, boys and girls experience disasters in
different ways but pre-existing inequalities and
vulnerabilities will be exacerbated in disasters and will
affect girls and women more,” remarked the Plan International
Regional Director for east and central African region,
Africa has experienced a dramatic
rise in environmental and health shocks that have affected
adolescent girls disproportionately.
Kebede regretted that cultural
beliefs, poverty and marginalization have worsened the plight of
African teenage girls whenever disasters strike.
the power hierarchies and social structures based on gender
and age that exist in many parts of Africa, we recognize that
adolescent girls have a double disadvantage,” Kebede said
during the launch of report on girls and disasters
There has been scant policy
attention on the plight of African young women during emergency
situation even as the continent experience severe droughts,
epidemics and sporadic strife.
The Plan International report
observed that adolescent girls bear the brunt of deprivation and
disruption as a result of man- made and natural disasters.
The report stressed that when
food crises, civil strife, water scarcity and infectious
diseases strike any society in Africa, young women shoulder the
A comprehensive research by plan
international in six disaster prone African countries revealed
that young girls are not only vulnerable to humanitarian crises
but have limited resilience.
The study noted that girls are
routinely disadvantaged when it comes to nutrition, domestic
workloads and education.
Likewise, the Plan International
study revealed that girls‘ labor and sexuality are exploited
during emergency situations.
Adolescent girls lack access to
life saving devices during emergency situations hence their
vulnerability to violence and intimidation that trigger deep
The Plan International regional
director regretted that gender based violence is to blame for
deformities, psychological trauma and low self esteem among
teenage girls in Africa.
African countries should
prioritize interventions that empower young women to boost their
resilience in the face of disasters.
The Plan International Country
Director for Kenya, Carol Sherman urged governments to invest in
education for the girl child and combat retrogressive practices
like early marriages and female genital mutilation.
teenage girls should not take a back seat, it should be a
policy imperative if countries are to realize sustainable
development,” Sherman said.
Violence, forced marriages and
economic deprivation are major bottlenecks that have denied
African teenage girls a chance to realize their potential.
The CEO, Kenya Gender and
Equality Commission, Rose Odhiambo emphasized that education and
better health care for the girl child accelerates socio-economic
progress in any society.
has been estimated that universal secondary education for
girls in Sub-Saharan Africa could save as many as 1.8 million
lives annually. When girls reach their full potential through
improved healthcare and education, this is the most effective
development tool for society as a whole,” Odhiambo said.