Every girl should be able to move through her city freely. No girl should fear the journey home from school.
More and more girls are moving to cities for work and educational opportunities. And living in a city can mean great things for girls – like increased chances of marrying later and having fewer and healthier children.
But cities are also some of the most dangerous places for girls to live. In the backstreets around their homes and in busy public places like train stations, daily life for girls is marked by harassment, abuse and fear of assault. New research, led by girls all over the world, shows that not only are these experiences universal, but this harassment and abuse is a threat to girls’ freedom, their voice,their livelihoods and their lives.
It doesn’t have to be like this. You can help us make cities safer for girls around the world. You’ve taken action to petition decision-makers on behalf of girls to make cities safer. Now you can also help by donating to the Safer Cities program and supporting our work with girls and boys, their parents and city officials to build safer and more inclusive cities for everyone.
Jacklin lives in Kampala, the bustling capital of Uganda. She told us a story about the kind of harassment she and her friends face every day.
“I have a friend who was passing near a place where boys were sitting. This boy who came and told her, ‘I love you’. She was like ‘I don't love you’. The boy said, ‘okay. It's okay. You'll see tomorrow when you pass here’.
The next day she was passing she found like the boys waiting for her, they came grabbed her, beat her up, then they said ‘you should never say no to our friend whenever he says he loves you.’They said, ‘you have to give him a kiss for you to survive if you refuse we will beat you again’. She had to give the boy a kiss and then walk away.”
Sexual harassment and abuse can have lasting impacts on a girl’s confidence, behaviours and education outcomes. It changes how she moves in the world, and how she interacts with her peers. It can hold her back from realising her full potential.
What happens to girls in Kampala is horrifying. It’s unacceptable. But it’s preventable. Will you help end the culture of sexual harassment and make cities safer?
Safer Cities is based on a simple, proven premise – that with a little support, girls can shape their environments for the better. With your donation we can make cities safer around the world so more girls have the freedom to pursue their education, their careers and their dreams.
Your gift will help in four very powerful ways:
Ensuring girls like Jacklin know their rights to safety and can move freely about the city without fear.
Working with boys in their classes to encourage healthy, respectful relationships.
Helping parents to strip away the stigma and support their children to speak up.
Working with transport networks and local governments to educate the community about reducing sexual harassment, and make sure policy makers, bus drivers and urban planners all prioritise the safety of girls like Jacklin.
By supporting our work with children, their parents and city officials, you can help us build safer cities.