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On 11th October 2019, UNFPA, together with the International Rescue Committee and other partners supporting the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania to respond to the humanitarian needs of refugees in Kigoma Region, celebrated International Day of the Girl Child (IDGC) in Nyarugusu Refugee Camp together with the girls who are “unscripted and unstoppable” in their drive for change in their own lives and in their families, schools and communities.

Despite challenges, girls in the region are showing resilience, force and determination to achieve better futures for themselves. Advocates such as Violet* clearly articulating some of the challenges girls face on a daily basis in the camp and their particular need for sanitary pads “kangas” to manage their menstrual hygiene safely and with dignity.  Young boys – who are key to driving and changing social and gender norms  – also joined in the celebrations, calling for an end to gender-based violence and for girls to be equals to boys with the same rights and opportunities.

The rally of adolescent girls and young women on IDGC – which marked the climax of a week of activities advocating for girls’ empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights – included a children’s parliament, a sports competition, traditional dances and other theatre arts.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the ground-breaking Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) that put women and girl’s reproductive health and rights at the centre of national and international development efforts. Despite the gains made since 1994 many of the promises made to girls in Cairo have yet to be fulfilled.

On 12-14 November, 2019, UNFPA, together with the Governments of Denmark and Kenya, will gather in Kenya for the Nairobi Summit, a high-level event that will seek clear commitments to advance the goals of the ICPD and secure the rights and dignity of all, so that the girls of Nyarugusu Refugee Camp can live the lives they dream of and the lives they deserve.

* Name has been changed.