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International​ ​Day​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Girl​ ​2014

The national celebration of the International Day of the Girl takes place on 11 and 12 October 2014 in the Urban Commune of Tamatave. The Minister of Youth and Sports; Dr. Jean Anicet ANDRIAMOSARISOA, Minister of Water; Dr. Johanita NDRAHIMANANJARA, General of Division PAZA Didier Gérard; Secretary of State to the Ministry of National Defense in charge of the National Gendarmerie, as well as the Representative of UNFPA; Dr. Bernard COQUELIN were present at the opening ceremony.

This day is organized by the Ministry of Youth and Sports in partnership with different organisations namely: UNFPA, UNDP, UNICEF. This year's theme is "Empowering Adolescent Girls: Breaking the Cycle of Violence". 

This international day is also integrating and officially launching the national campaign "Viavy Arô Zahe" (Because We Are Girls) will extend over three months and aim to enable young girls and teenagers to know and enjoy their rights fully so that they can achieve their full potential in an environment that is favorable to them. 

Indeed, the situation of adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 and more widely among young girls aged 10 to 24 has deteriorated.

The upsurge in early pregnancies, maternal mortality among adolescents and exposure to HIV/AIDS and STIs due to the low reliability of contraceptive use, are all realities they face today.
 
The early age of entry into sexual and reproductive life young people's persistence. 17% of girls aged 15-24 had their first intercourse under 15 years of age and 9% of their opposite-sex peers.
 
The early marriage rate is one of the highest in the world. One out of two girls is married or in union before the age of 18, despite the fact that according to the law 022 2007, marriage between two persons, one of them under 18 years of age, is illegal. This situation is intimately linked to early pregnancies affecting one in three girls in Madagascar. Early pregnancies lead to loss of educational opportunities, perpetuate poverty and deny basic human rights. In addition, pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of adolescent deaths in the country. Of the 10 women who die each day as a result of childbirth causes in the country, three are adolescents under the age of 19. 
 
This international day of the girl and this national campaign have two objectives: young girls have the knowledge and skills to protect themselves and make informed decisions, while also educating young boys on the same themes, but also to advocate in order to encourage the application of laws and existing policies aimed at protecting girls in particular and raising awareness among decision-makers and leaders of the need to invest in girls.
 

"Girls deserve special attention in the composition of the Malagasy population. They are part of this vulnerable fringe and are victims of early and unwanted pregnancy. But we must also not forget to educate young boys, co-actors of early pregnancy so that they benefit from the information needed to improve their living conditions aimed at better individual and professional development later ," said the Minister Youth and Sports, Dr. Jean Anicet ANDRIAMOSARISOA, during his speech. This day is animated by young people and especially by young girls. They will advocate for decision-makers in order to secure a greater commitment to defend their rights.

Singer Gangstabab has presented his new song specially created for this campaign aimed at getting through music, awareness-raising messages for parents and young people. 

Awareness activities will be organized by and for young people and the film Dzaomalaza 3 has been screened and followed by discussions among young people. The day of 12 October 2014 will be devoted to sports activities during which messages on the rights of young people will also be conveyed.

"For the development of girls and their families, the community and the country, it is essential to preserve their rights and invest in their future ," said the Representative of the UNFPA, Doctor Bernard Coquelin. 

Investing in girls can be synonymous with growth and development, offering them the opportunity to fulfill their full potential, "because they are girls!"