African Union Hosts Regional meeting On Addressing Violence Against Women and Girls

The African Union AU indicates that there have been notable improvements in the adoption of human rights instruments and policies on ending Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) both at the continental and regional levels by the Member States. 

The African Union, in the framework of the Spotlight Initiative Africa Regional Programme, in collaboration with various partners, has just completed a regional validation workshop in Nairobi, discussing and validating the Harmonized and Standardized Data Collection Toolkit on Violence Against Women and Girls and harmful practices.

“The overall objective of the workshop is to provide the stakeholders the opportunity to discuss, assess and evaluate the content and structure of the data collection toolkit, whilst also giving them the chance to share their regional and national experience and knowledge, to improve the quality of the Toolkit”, says AU in a statement. 

According to the AU, there is however, a lot to be done to effectively translate laws and policies into action and tangible benefits. 

“Despite the importance of access to and use of VAWG data to inform policies and programmes, not more than 5% of African countries, are able to generate and use vital statistics from their civil registration systems or routine administrative records related to Violence Against Women and Girls and Harmful Practices,” adds the statement from the AU. 

The Data Collection Toolkit is informed by the extensive capacity needs assessment surveys, which explored methodologies, approaches, and publicly available data collection tools for capturing data on VAWG, and harmful practices. 

The needs assessment surveys revealed the necessity of developing a harmonized and standardized data collection toolkit to guide users on indicators and methodologies for collecting data on VAWG, and harmful practices. 

The AU hopes that the toolkit will strengthen the capacity of regional partners to ensure that such tools are produced and utilized to inform policy, evidence-based decision-making, and advocacy.

Ms. Prudence Ngwenya from the African Union Commission says that in order to address the challenges related to collection, generation and utilization of data, it is critical for African countries to consider the following key takeaways; putting in place effective coordination mechanisms, ensuring relevant data is being generated, collected and utilized, and the inclusiveness of the process by leaving no one behind.

“Having the right human and financial resources and ensuring collective ownership of the process related to data collection, generation and utilization of data will also be crucial in this process’, added Prudence. 

The toolkit also comprehensively addresses a range of diverse indicators for example social norms, care work, masculinity, online violence, migration, people with disabilities, among others.

“This workshop is a culmination of several months of extensive work and the meeting is very important in providing quality assurance to the final content of the toolkit”, said Dr. Caroline Kabiru a Senior Researcher and Representative of the Africa Population and Health Research Center, APHRC consortium. 

The African Union Commission’s Women, Gender and Youth Directorate are working in partnership with UNDP and a consortium bringing together the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), the Eastern Africa National Networks of AIDS and Health Service Organizations (EANNASO), and the Population Council Kenya. 

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