Today is International Day of the Girl - a celebration of the 1.1 billion girls all around the world. 

Since 2012, October 11 has marked the International Day of the Girl (IDG). The day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.

The theme of this year is to EmPOWER Girls: Before, during and after crises.

Today marks the beginning of a year-long effort to spur global attention and action to the challenges and opportunities girls face before, during, and after crises.

Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO said: “Whether caused by armed conflict or natural disaster, humanitarian crises always hurt women and girls the most – they account for more than 75 percent of the refugees and displaced persons at risk from war, famine, persecution and natural disaster. They are also vulnerable to sexual abuse and exploitation, during conflicts and in refugee camps.”

Every 10 minutes, somewhere in the world, an adolescent girl dies as a result of violence, the UN said.

Displaced and vulnerable women and girls face higher risks of sexual and gender-based violence, as well as damage to their livelihoods; girls are 2.5 times more likely than boys to miss school during disasters; and displaced girls are often married off as children in an effort to ensure their security.

In humanitarian emergencies, gender-based violence often increases, subjecting girls to sexual and physical violence, child marriage, exploitation and trafficking.

Adolescent girls in conflict zones are 90 per cent more likely to be out of school when compared to girls in conflict-free countries, compromising their future prospects for work and financial independence as adults.

Today is about empowered girls raising their voices. You can support and engage with them by following the #Dayofthegirl hashtag on social media.

You can join the conversation here:…

International Day of the Girl 2016:Emma Watson visits Mtakataka Secondary School in the District of Dedza where she hears from Stella Kalilombe and Cecilia Banda whose marriages were anulled and they returned to school.
Photo: UN Women/Karin Schermbrucker