The Day of the African Child is commemorated every year on June 16 by Member States of the African Union and its Partners. The theme for the Day of the African Child 2015 is “25 Years after the Adoption of the African Children’s Charter: Accelerating our Collective Efforts to End Child Marriage in Africa”.
Ending Child, Early and Forced Marriage is one of GRAN’s advocacy issues. In sub-Saharan Africa, 40% of women are married as children (before age 18) and 12% are married by age 15. Projections on child marriage in Africa are alarming. If action is not taken now, the number of girls married as children will double by 2050 and Africa will become the region with the highest number of child brides in the world (UNICEF, 2014).
The causes of child marriage are complex. Parents may marry off their daughter due to poverty or out of fear for their safety, especially in conflict areas. Tradition and the stigma of straying from tradition perpetuate child marriage in many communities.
Child marriage constitutes a grave threat to young girls’ lives, health and future prospects. When girls are married as children, they are denied an education, robbed of their childhood and opportunities to develop their potential at the pivotal life stage when they should become healthy, empowered and productive. It holds back girls, their communities and their countries. Ending child marriage will result in improved health and girls remaining in school longer to reach their potential and contribute fully to their communities. It will also reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa.
Advancing the rights, participation, and development of adolescents and youth; especially girls’ education, delayed marriage and childbearing, and comprehensive sexuality education is one of the key smart investments for financing the Post 2015 Development Agenda according to the High-Level Task Force for the International Conference on Population and Development.
GRAN is promoting a comprehensive approach to ending child, early and forced marriage that links gender equality, education, and healthcare with human rights and national and international laws and conventions.
GRAN is keeping an eye on a critical global meeting taking place on July 13-16th. The UN Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia will bring together governments, donors and experts to look at ways to figure out how to pay for the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Presently, the gaps and needs for sustainable development are immense. The conference will look at ways to help reverse the declining trend in international aid and to pave the way for a new era of fairer development finance rules to tackle inequality and poverty.
The Finance for Development Conference is a major conference feeding in to the UN Summit in the fall. The UN summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda will be held on September 25-27 in New York. At this important meeting, the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be ratified and these new goals will drive international development for the next 15 years.
We applaud Canada as one of the major donors to the Global Financing Facility in Support of Every Women and Every Child. However, we feel that Canada needs to make a stronger commitment to education in development, to recognize that education is a driver to all development sectors and to understand the role that girls’ education plays in poverty reduction and economic growth.
Canada needs to be at the table and be visible in Ethiopia. We want our government to know that we feel education deserves a higher priority in our development agenda, to make more of a commitment to getting the world’s children into school and increase its commitments to ODA (Official Development Assistance), especially in the education sector.
If you are up to a grassroots action this month, you might want to call or email your own MP asking to make basic education for all a higher priority in our development agenda, to increase our ODA commitments to education in development and that Canada will actively participate in the Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa.
To find your MP using your postal code and the contact information go to http://www.parl.gc.ca/Parlinfo/Compilations/HouseofCommons/MemberByPostalCode.aspx?Menu=HOC
For more background information on this meeting in Ethiopia, go to http://www.un.org/esa/ffd/ffd3/blog/pave-the-way-for-new-era.html
For more information on the SDGs go to http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/jan/19/sustainable-development-goals-united-nations
GOOD NEWS! The World Health Assembly (WHA) calls for greater access to life saving vaccines. WHA is the World Health Organization (WHO) health policy setting body and is composed of health ministers from its 194 member states. Its main functions are to decide major policy questions, as well as to approve the WHO work programme and budget. At its sixty-eighth annual session held last week, WHA passed a resolution making a strong call for more affordable vaccines and greater transparency on vaccines prices.
This is good news for GRANs, and the global community lead by Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) advocating for lower vaccine prices such as the pneumonia vaccine. This is especially good news for the one million children 0-5 years of age dying from preventable pneumonia in the developing world, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. A rather good campaign start. Let’s ramp up pressure on GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Pfizer to drop their prices. To receive regular MSF updates such as the one below, please enter your e-mail address under Sign up for Updates at
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MSF’s Campaign to lower vaccine prices
Last time you heard from us, we were at GSK’s shareholder meeting. This week, we were at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, where governments just passed a resolution that made a strong call for more affordable vaccines and greater transparency on vaccine prices. The resolution was adopted by all member states, with more than 60 countries – including Algeria, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Lebanon, Libya, Ecuador, Egypt, Indonesia, Niger, Nigeria, South Africa, Thailand, Pakistan, the Philippines, and the Republic of Korea, among others – explicitly stating their support.
We stand by this strong signal governments are sending pharma companies, as it reflects the sad reality that vaccines are becoming too expensive for a large part of the world’s population.
Help us build on this momentum and ramp up the pressure on Pfizer and GSK. Let’s drop the price, not the momentum.
">. Govts have spoken out & passed a resolution! VAX prices are too expensive. Drop the pneumonia VAX price to $5/child #AskPharma
Thanks so much for your support and action,
Your #AFairShot Team
TO THE CAMPAIGN
AND GET INVOLVED!
2015 © MSF ACCESS CAMPAIGN
GRAN is a member of Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage. We are partnering with more than 450 CSOs in more than 70 countries to build an understanding of what it will take to end child marriage. In sub-Saharan Africa, 40% of women are married as children (before age 18). Child Marriage robs girls of their childhood, their education, their health and their future. It holds back girls, their communities and their countries. Progress towards ending child marriage needs to accelerate, warned hundreds of civil society organisations gathered in Casablanca this week for a meeting of Girls Not Brides. Over 250 grassroots activists from 63 countries working on the frontlines of child marriage urged the international community to step up their efforts to end a practice that affects 15 million girls every year.
“We know what it takes to end child marriage. We have the data, we know the issue, we know the causes, we know the interventions required. We just need to act.” said
Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda of Zimbabwe, African Union Goodwill Ambassador for the Campaign to End Child Marriage and General Secretary of World YWCA
Read the Girls Not Brides press release here.
Every year, almost one million children under five years of age die of pneumonia for which a preventable vaccine exists, but is too expensive for many developing countries. Most of pneumonia victims are less than 2 years old and most of those preventable deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Children with HIV-AIDS are particularly vulnerable to pneumonia.
In the GRAN March Update, we shared GRAN’s plan to work closely with Doctors Without Borders (MSF) to increase access to life-saving pneumococcal vaccine and we are working feverishly to get ready. But you can add your voice to MSF right now. Today MSF launched their campaign asking for everyone’s help to join their call and #AskPharma to price the vaccine at $5 per child in all developing countries.
Here is what you can do:
1. Go to and ENTER E-MAIL to SIGN UP FOR CAMPAIGN UPDATES at top of page right hand corner;
2. Share this information and the above link with family, friends, acquaintances and invite them to do same;
3. If you have a twitter account, at click on and , or the twitter sign (bird) under any of the images on MSF site to send a tweet. You can also follow GRAN on twitter;
4. If you do not have a twitter account and would like to be part of the action, it could not be easier. Go to and fill in the form to sign up. As soon as you have a twitter account you can send tweets from the MSF website. For more help with twitter, check out
Let’s give children with HIV/AIDS a Fair Shot against deadly pneumonia. One voice can speak for thousands.
On April 16th, at the World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington, Minister of International Development, Christian Paradis, announced that Canada met GRAN’s ask for a commitment of $120 million dollars to the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) over the four year replenishment period (2015-2018). This amount is double Canada’s commitment during the last replenishment period. Canada has also promised what we hope is an additional $10 million to UNICEF to support education and child protection in humanitarian situations around the world. We certainly applaud this additional bilateral commitment to get the world’s children into safe school learning environments.
This announcement was made following UN Envoy Gordon Brown’s safe schools meeting calling for a global emergency education fund to be established for children who are out of school because of conflict, disease or national disasters. Canada is also being invited to a world leaders summit on Education to be held in Oslo in July.
Civil society organizations are pleased with the pledge. As a member of a CSO coalition who has been advocating for this commitment, GRAN is VERY happy that funds are being allocated to global education, that this basic human right for children to learn is closer to being met and that the MDG goal #2 of achieving universal primary education is moving closer to being realized.
The Education Working Group is both breathing a big sigh of relief and ecstatic with this result. We would like to thank everyone for letters written to MP’s, visits/phone calls to MP’s, your participation in our days of action in June and November, petitions signed, letters to the editor sent in, your tweets and spreading awareness through conversations with family, friends and neighbours. GRANs can stand tall and be proud of the collective effort we put forth. All of our actions came together to help influence our leaders in making this decision to support the GPE.
Many thanks as well to the CSO coalition who met several times over the past year to design a strategic plan that we could all contribute to, in order to amplify our voices and be heard. We learned so much. A special thank you to the Global Partnership for Education, Results Canada and Plan Canada for your leadership, your support in sharing resources and including GRAN in the coalition. It was a pleasure to work and collaborate in partnership with all of you.
With Canada’s commitment, the GPE will be better able to meet the needs of those countries asking for assistance. Children in 38 countries in sub-Saharan Africa will benefit. Funds will go to building schools, training teachers, putting more girls into school, and breaking down barriers to provide schooling for all children. But most of all, this funding will help to build strong, sustainable national education systems throughout our world and further reduce the number of children and youth who still do not have access to a good quality education.
The long term goals of education will also be affected, transforming lives and contributing to improved health, safety and security, gender equity, economic growth, prosperity, democratic practices and more peaceful societies to name just a few of its possible outcomes.
Although we are certainly happy with this commitment to global education, GRAN will definitely continue to advocate for an increase in both multilateral and bilateral funding for education. As one of the most effective ways to reduce poverty and inequality, Canada must continue to invest in education and lifelong learning to help lift the lives of millions to reach their full potential, become productive citizens and have hope for a better future.
Well done GRANs! Do your happy dance!
Please join us, raise your glass to celebrate the future and to congratulate ourselves on our part in making it happen!