Only time will tell if the UN Refugee Agency's critical efforts will have the potency and persuasion to effect systemic change among these communities, but during these 16 Days of Activism we're thankful for every effort that combats this violence perpetuated against the world's most innocent and vulnerable populations.
Today, on International Volunteer Day, we celebrate the contributions of volunteers all over the world to improving our communities, whether those efforts are focused locally, nationally, or globally. 62 million Americans volunteered last year, that's close to 25 percent of the population over the age of 12!
When the leading cause of death among adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 is pregnancy and childbirth; when two-thirds of new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa are among adolescent girls; and when 200 million women want to use family planning methods but lack access, the young girls and women of the world do not have a promiscuity problem -- they have a human rights problem.
From birth, Kadiga Mohammed was set to marry her first and eldest cousin, a traditional practice known as 'absuma' in her community in the Afar Region of Ethiopia. When she turned 16, her parents began to prepare for the wedding. But Kadiga was filled with dread -- she did not want to marry the man they had selected for her.