In recent years, there has been widespread recognition of the need for change. The UK and more than 70 other countries have created their own National Action Plans. Many charities and NGOs are helping to rebuild lives in conflict-affected countries as well as to support and empower women and girls.
Girl Determined in Burma is one example, supporting efforts to create “safe networks” for girls to grow their voice in politics and help broaden the participation of women in the peace process. In Syria, local projects are training doctors to provide expert forensic medical reports for court evidence of sexual violence and training specialist first responders for child survivors. But more needs to be done.
The WPS Agenda and PSVI aims are multilayered, seeking to grasp the root causes of gender inequality and the lack of women’s rights. Last year, the UK Government hosted the PSVI International Film Festival of which the theme was Fighting Stigma Through Film. These kinds of initiatives give hope to survivors, reassuring them that they can speak up and should not suffer in silence.
They also convene agents of change and support grassroots organisations and NGOs working with women to build better lives for themselves and their families. It is vital to continue to keep this work alive and on the radar; this is the reason that I am committed to doing what I can to help.