Gender-based Violence

No girl should live in fear of gender-based violence.

For too many girls and young women all over the world, the fear of physical, sexual and emotional violence is inescapable. It’s on their bus ride to school, in their interactions on social media, and even in their homes. Because of their age and gender, girls are at a heightened risk of violence in all its forms. And the effects can stay with them for life, affecting their relationships, altering their choices and limiting their potential.

Here’s how we’re helping keep girls safe

The fear of violence robs girls of their freedom to move freely in their own city. It makes emergencies and conflict more dangerous. It excludes them from fully participating in a society that belongs just as much to them as it does to their male peers.

Plan International is working with girls, boys, communities and decision makers to build a safer world for girls. We are including the voices of young people, especially those most vulnerable in the redesign of cities. We are also introducing the world’s first open source, rights-based digital birth and death registration software products to protect the rights of children.

From grassroots advocacy led by girls to child protection programs in areas of conflict, we’re eroding the attitudes that allow violence against girls to flourish.

And best of all, we’re centring girls as agents of change in their own communities.

The role of men in ending violence against women

Protecting girls from violence is a core part of our work. But truly overcoming gender inequality is only possible by including boys and men. That’s why we work with people of all genders to discourage norms and behaviours that perpetuate violence and encourage healthy relationships between men and women from a young age.

By raising boys to know that violence is never acceptable, we’re eradicating the sexism and misogyny that can fuel it and raising a new generation that says no to violence in all its forms.

Nyalat is championing girls’ rights in a refugee camp

At only 13, Nyalat was forced to flee violent conflict in South Sudan and resettle with her younger sister in a refugee camp. But the dangers didn’t end there

“Girls face different challenges here, we couldn’t go to school and we were forced to do all the domestic chores for everyone. During our menstruation, we were isolated for days without food. Worse still, there were rapes and abductions in the camp and girls felt very unsafe here,” says Nyalat.

For many girls, refugee camps can pose new risks of violence and exploitation. But Plan International is working to make camps a safe, supportive environment for all children.

One way we’re doing this is through our adolescent girls’ club. These clubs work with the refugee community to prioritise girls’ wellbeing and education and raise awareness of issues like gender-based violence, and sexual and reproductive health.

Since joining the club, Nyalat, now 15, is back in school and knows how to protect herself. But she’s also become a powerful activist, educating other girls on their rights and changing community attitudes about what girls can achieve. Nyalat hopes to fulfil her ambition of becoming a doctor and has resumed her studies.

Life has improved now, I miss my home and family but living in this camp has given me hope that there can be life after conflict.
  • Nyalat, 15, South Sudan.

Rwanda’s Boys for Change

Roger, 15, lives in a Rwandan refugee camp. It was in the camp that he first joined the Boys for Change project. Led by 24-year-old Egide and supported by Plan International Roger, along with a group of boys aged 12-17, began learning about the role he can play in achieving equality.

“We train boys on gender differences, equality and positive masculinity. Over two thirds of the boys we mentor show changes in the way they live their lives compared to before we started mentoring them,” says Egide.

For Roger, the session was eye-opening.

Before joining the group, I used to think that I was so different from my sister because of our cultural beliefs. My sister used to do all the household chores alone, and I would just do a few tasks like fetching water. Now I have become a changed person,
  • Roger, 15, Rwanda.

An equal world is one where all children have the same opportunities. By working with boys, we’re helping change perceptions that can encourage gender-based violence and make sure no child is limited by their gender.

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