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Marking International Day of the Girl Child - UNFPA Arab States Regional Office launches “In Her Words”

Cairo, Egypt, 11 October 2021 - The United Nations Population Fund Arab States Regional Office (UNFPA ASRO) is marking International Day of the Girl Child with the launch of “In Her Words” — a collection of stories, insights, and art created by adolescent girls living in humanitarian settings throughout the Arab region. 

Developed by the UNFPA Regional Humanitarian Hub for Syria and the Arab States (RHHSAS), the initiative invited adolescent girls living in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Palestine, and Syria to experiment with different forms of self-expression, resulting in a remarkable array of impactful moving narratives. 

“The objective of ‘In Her Words’ is to build on efforts made in recent years to highlight the unique challenges and needs of adolescent girls as well as their often astounding resilience,” explains UNFPA Arab States Regional Director, Dr. Luay Shabaneh.  “Adolescent girls are not usually targeted in humanitarian programmes which limits their opportunities and potential. ‘In Her Words’ gives us the opportunity to hear directly from them and to amplify their voices as they tell us about their dreams, realities, and triumphs.”   

In 2021, several countries in the Arab Region are coping with the lasting impacts of longstanding and emerging humanitarian situations. Both the Syria and Yemen crises have passed the ten-year mark, while more recent developments in Sudan and Lebanon will result in additional disruptions in community networks, placing the lives and dignity of millions of people at risk. Meanwhile, the worsening impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the challenges facing communities in those countries, impeding access to lifesaving services and exacerbating the risks of gender-based violence. 

The first part of In Her Words —  ‘Her Dreams’ — immediately communicates the remarkable spirit, awareness, and imagination of adolescent girls even as they face the most challenging of crises. From there, the narrative shifts to ‘Her Realities’, covering a wide range of difficult themes that pervade the lives of adolescent girls in the region. The third and final part  — ‘Her Triumphs’ — shines the spotlight on some of the remarkable achievements made by girls as they strive to find their place amidst these challenges. The publication concludes with a message from Mariam, UNFPA’s virtual ambassador for adolescent girls in the Arab Region, who brings additional insights from adolescents throughout the region to further stress the overarching message: that adolescent girls throughout the region are yearning to be heard, to fulfill their dreams and reach their full potential, and to play a leading role in addressing the problems that beset them.  

“We are all fighting for the same rights,” explains Mariam, “to be viewed as equals, to have opportunities  to choose the  lives we want to lead, to choose whom we want to marry and when. All we ask is for those who have the power — including humanitarians — to listen to us.”

“In Her Words” is available in both Arabic and English.  

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About UNFPA

UNFPA - the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency - works to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled. UNFPA was created in 1969; UNFPA works in more than 150 countries. UNFPA calls for the realization of reproductive rights for all and supports access to a wide range of sexual and reproductive health services – including voluntary family planning and maternal health care. In 2018, UNFPA launched efforts to achieve three transformative results, ambitions that promise to change the world for every man, woman and young person: Ending unmet need for family planning, Ending preventable maternal death, and Ending gender-based violence and harmful practices.

For more information, please contact:

In Cairo: Samir Aldarabi, Regional Media Adviser for the United Nations Population Fund for the Arab States Region, +201068484879, aldarabi@unfpa.org

In Amman: Jafar Irshaidat, Communications Specialist, +962797300157, irshaidat@unfpa.org