The issues in my organization -NLK’s with which I work as programme manager basically links with the organization’s mission- to contribute towards women social, economic and health rights of marginalized and vulnerable women/girls groups, including destitute Grandmothers, women living with HIV/AIDS. In this accord, the gender issues in NLK work focus on empowerment of women and girls. In the target communities we are operate and/or the general communities of the nation, gender based Violence (VAW) against Women/ girls is the most significant causes that contributes to aggravation of poverty, marginalization, HIV/AIDS for many women/girls . Most of the communities lack awareness and silent about different forms of violence against women/girls. The women/girls experience violence at home and in the communities they live. Often time, Physical, psychological, sexual and economical violence are the major types of violence that are faced by women/girls of my communities of Ethiopia.
Thus, along my organization, I am dedicatedly working to improve the situations, particularly in the target communities it operates. NLK is frontlines in increasing communities’’ support to prevent Violence against women/girls /children and HIV. We focus on offering support to girls and women; men choosing nonviolence; offering support to other activists in the grass root communities of Ethiopia. The work includes supporting girls education, increasing the women’s/girls’ sense of self-worth, decision-making power, access to opportunities and resources, power and control over their own life inside and outside the home, as well their ability to effect change. Our objective is to improve the target grandmothers, women/girls /childen’s social, economic and health situations. Many thanks to the Stephen Lewis Foundation ( SLF) based in Toronto, Canada for their unreserved resouce commitment to support our important effort from the grassoroots to this end.
In contrary to our tradition that undermines women and girls in general development process, this is the time for us to think of paradigm shift about building gender inclusive culture that equally nurture, care and educate both girls and boys of our community/society. There are many who talks about thirst for development, including the government, privates and nongovernmental organizations, without working to the ground at the grassroots to change the distorted perception towards our women and girls the ultimate goal of development we wish of our country will not be succeeded
The word gender describes the socially-constructed roles and responsibilities that societies consider appropriate for men and women. Gender equality means that men and women have equal power and equal opportunities for financial independence, education, and personal development. Education is a key area of focus. Although the world is making progress in achieving gender parity in education, girls still make up a higher percentage of out-of-school children than boys. Families may also rely on girls' labor for household chores, carrying water, and childcare, leaving limited time for schooling.
But prioritizing girls' education provides perhaps the single highest return on investment in the developing world including that of my own country Ethiopia. An educated girl is more likely to postpone marriage, raise a smaller family, have healthier children, and send her own children to school. She has more opportunities to earn an income and to participate in political processes, and she is less likely to become infected with HIV. Women's health and safety is another important area. HIV/AIDS is becoming an increasingly impactful issue for women. This can be related to women having fewer opportunities for health education, unequal power in sexual partnership, or as a result of gender-based violence.
Maternal health is also an issue of specific concern. In many developing countries like that of my own country Ethiopia, women have limited access to prenatal and infant care, and are more likely to experience complications during pregnancy and childbirth. This is a critical concern in countries where girls marry and have children before they are ready; often well before the age of 18. Quality maternal health care can provide an important entry point for information and services that empower mothers as informed decision-makers concerning their own health and the health of their children.
I would like to insist upon every individual, family, community and society of Ethiopia to get started to teach the members of communities right from the grassroots /ground about the importance of girls education as equal to that of the boys instead of just talking to world the availability “fair’ policy’ for all . Undeniably, we commend about availability of good policy about women and girls but we complain that it is not supplied by resources and impractical. In my opinion, the availability of good policy without supplied by resources and commitment to enforce it is just vain.
Summing up, if we really love our country and envision peaceful, prosperous, and developed country Ethiopia in future, we should pay equal attention to our girls and boys today. We should invest into our children’s education both girls and boys today without gender bias, and no doubt that will make our future better and will bring back rewarding returns for our country. My message is clear, let us equally educate our children both girls and boys, let us equally teach both about the rights each deserves, the importance of power balance, their equivalent importance in the processes of building the nation and their pending potential vital contribution towards achieving healthier, productive and prosperous society. We deeply, appreciate for any possible collaboration and support that may contribute to our effort by potential supporters from both national and internationally.