See how COVID-19 has caused girls to be turned into source of quick income because of COVID-19

Ever since the outbreak of the deadly VOVID-19 pandemic, so many things have happened in different parts of the world; indeed, COVID-19 has come to change so many things under heaven.

 COVID-19 has brought massive inequalities within our societies and brought to glaring light the unique burdens that women carry in the world.

It has also brought the opportunity to change the human perspective of life, re-imagine and redesign our society thereby making it a more vibrant and equitable one.

In the light of this, allocation of response resources should be targeted towards the immediate needs of managing the virus as well as future-looking to simultaneously dismantle the structural, systemic barriers which reinforce inequality and disenfranchisement.

This was the submission of four of the foremost female African leaders including Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Board Chairman, Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, AU Special Envoy to Mobilize International Economic Support for the Fight Against COVID-19.

Mrs. Graça Machel Founder, Graça Machel Trust and the Foundation for Community Development.

Dr. Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

Ms. Maria RamosCo-Chair of the UN Secretary-General’s Task Force on Digital Financing of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The women said "we have been presented the opportunity to reimagine and redesign our society into a vibrant and equitable one. “We must place women and women’s leadership at the core of the response and beyond”.

COVID-19 has caused massive shocks to economies in Africa.

As crisis toll the economic toll, there is an increased risk that girls are turned into a source of quick income for families through forced into early marriages, and the number of child marriages, early pregnancy may increase.

It is no surprise that our food systems will be dealt a significant blow resulting in the dangerous exacerbation of food insecurity and nearly doubling current levels of widespread hunger”.

The female leaders lamented that COVID 19 has disrupted supply chains and thrown the global food economy into disarray in various manners.

Border closures, production stoppages and export restrictions limit supply, demand has surged while inflating prices and impacting the world’s poorest and most marginalized people, with Africa not being an exception.

Women are central players in the food chain and key to agricultural output on the continent of Africa.

” Studies reveal that the cost of malnutrition has a tremendous impact on a country’s economic growth. A lack of adequate nutrition is a key contributor to unacceptably high levels of both maternal and child mortality as well as stunting— and therefore to the loss of human capital for the overall economic, social and political development of the continent.

Advising policymakers, they said women and women’s organizations should be at the heart of the COVID-19 response decision making and designing of health, socio-economic policies and plans, stressing that an intentional focus on the lives and futures of women and girls is an essential part of breaking structural practices which have been marginalizing them.

“A system for collecting and disaggregating data needs to be put in place to ensure that the impact of the crisis on women is informing the redesign of fragile and inequitable socio-economic and health systems into fully inclusive, equitable ones”.

Still speaking, they urged government and Development Partners to implement Gender Lens Economic Policies and sharpen the capacity of women as engines of economic growth; invest in women along the local food chains to improve food security; recognize and implement equal rights in the workplace; narrow Gender-based Education Gaps; strengthen Health Systems while gradually implementing Universal Health Coverage, UHC, and providing Mencom  Health Services; comprehensively strengthen the Criminal Justice System and increase efforts around survivor support and protection.

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