Violence against children is a key challenge for Latin America—and in this region it is inextricably linked to violence against women, community violence, and migration. Preventing and responding to such violence is key to achieving peaceful and prosperous societies, where children can be safe, educated, and healthy, and where economies can grow and develop. In addition, and particularly in Central America, preventing and responding to violence is critical to dealing with massive migration—given that violence is a key factor that pushes both adults and children to migrate in search for a better life.
On February 7-8, Together for Girls, our partners, and the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) hosted a Latin America Regional Meeting in Tegucigalpa, Honduras to address prevention and response of violence against girls, boys, and adolescents.
The goal of this meeting was to discuss existing evidence and programs, share lessons and experiences, and begin charting a way forward both at country and regional level. The meeting brought together more than 200 participants from 11 countries, including representatives from national governments, advocates, and academia. Together for Girls partners, such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USAID, UNICEF, UNAIDS, UN Women, UNFPA, WHO, PAHO, and the Government of Canada also participated. In addition, because of the critical link to migration, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) was present, and will play a critical role in our work in the region.
Four countries (Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras) that plan to conduct Violence Against Children Surveys (led by CDC, with USAID support, as part of the Together for Girls partnership) sent multi-sectoral delegations to discuss their work to date and outline next steps. Similarly, two countries in the region (Mexico and Paraguay) that have committed to becoming pathfinder countries in the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children also sent delegations.
Opening event. Panelists (left to right): Abogada Ana García de Hernández, First Lady of Honduras; Flor María Díaz, UN Women; Luz Ángela Melo, UNICEF; Rodolfo Peña, PAHO; Daniela Ligiéro, Together for Girls; Susan Hillis, CDC; Jorge Peraza, IOM; Claude Beausejour, Government of Canada; César Núñez, UNAIDS
Among the speakers were the First Lady of Honduras, Ana García de Hernández, and the Minister of the National Secretariat for Children and Adolescents in Paraguay, Ricardo González, both of whom have shown exceptional leadership in tackling violence against children.
Together for Girls is delighted to be working in Latin America, and this meeting was an important step in bringing together key actors, partners and stakeholders to ensure a robust, sustainable and coordinated response to violence against children in the region.
Meeting participants answer the question: "Why do you work to end violence?"
Closing ceremony of the Latin America Regional Meeting