Special Features

Dubai Cares launches gender equality programme in Central America

Dubai Cares, part of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, has launched a four-year programme in Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua in partnership with Global Fund for Children, GFC, a Washington DC-based non-profit organisation. The AED7,347,000 (US$2 million) 'Empowering Adolescent Girls' programme is set to benefit approximately 20,000 young girls in the three countries. It focuses on the capacity-building of 18 girl-led and girl-serving grassroots organisations and support activities centered on promoting gender equality and advancing the rights of girls in the spheres of education, youth empowerment and equitable access to employment opportunities, as well as freedom from violence and exploitation.

The program aims to identify local partners who have already made a strong commitment to a gender strategy that elevates the voice and opportunities of adolescent girls. With the ultimate aim of promoting gender equality and advancing the rights and opportunities of adolescent girls, Empowering Adolescent Girls seeks to strengthen the local capacity of grassroots partners and enable them to act as vehicles of social change, as well as deliberately engage with young men and boys as essential partners in promoting gender-equitable attitudes and behaviour.

"Many adolescent girls in rural parts of Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua face severe challenges stemming from gender inequality and discrimination, including a lack of access to quality education, poor access to health services and information, and insufficient protection from violence. Unfortunately, this gender gap continues to impede future development," said Annina Mattsson, Programmes Director at Dubai Cares.

She explained, "Through this Dubai Cares-funded programme in partnership with the Global Fund for Children, we hope to eliminate the barriers that inhibit young girls from exercising their human rights and realising their true potential and to subsequently shape a positive future for their families and communities."

Kimberly McClain, Regional Programme Director, Americas at the GFC, said, "We are extremely pleased to announce this new partnership with Dubai Cares. The Empowering Adolescent Girls initiative represents an important investment in grassroots organisations that serve and empower adolescent girls in Central America.

"This new initiative builds upon 20 years of GFC partnerships that have catalysed social change and opened up new opportunities for adolescents and youth across Latin America."

Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua are tightly linked in their development goals and challenges and are ranked closely together by the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Index, with HDIs of 125, 130, and 124 respectively out of 188 countries far below the average for Latin America. Their classifications as "medium development" countries by UNDP masks the effect of high levels of internal inequality in all three countries, which creates significant disparities for rural and poor urban children and households.

"Adolescent girls in Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua navigate unique challenges on the path to adulthood, from education cut short by economic hardship, to violence from gangs and peers, and insufficient protection against early marriage and pregnancy. All the while, their potential to contribute as young leaders to the development of their communities is so much greater than the opportunities they are currently given," McClain added.

All three countries also fall significantly behind the Latin American average in their Gender Development Index, GDI, and Gender Inequality Index, GII, capturing the differentiated reality experienced by girls and women as they pursue their personal development and support their children.

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