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Voix Essentielles: Women’s Voices

On February 20, 2024, the event “The Importance of Platforms, Dialogue Spaces, and Representation in the Fight Against Gender-Based Violence and for Achieving Gender Equality” took place in Abidjan as part of the Voix EssentiELLES initiative. The initiative aims to strengthen organizations led by women and girls and engage them meaningfully in decision-making processes and spaces that influence health policies and programs. It is implemented by Speak Up Africa and co-financed by the Global Fund and the CHANEL Foundation, and now includes 39 community-based organizations in Ivory Coast, Senegal, and Burkina Faso.

During the event, topics such as public-private partnerships, multisectoral collaboration, self-esteem, gender-based violence, and positive masculinity were discussed. Professor Mamadou Samba, Director General of Health of Ivory Coast, emphasized the need to effectively address gender issues in health policies during his opening speech.

The panel discussions included exchanges between various leaders and activists, discussing the importance of women’s and girls’ leadership in decision-making spaces and the commitment to promoting gender equality. The event also highlighted the support from the Government of Canada and the Ambassador of Canada to Ivory Coast, Mr. Anderson Blanc, who expressed the country’s dedication to promoting gender equality and supporting the empowerment of women and girls.

The event also addressed the issue of violence against women and girls, emphasizing the need to end gender-based violence and promote positive masculinity as an alternative in Africa. The French Embassy in Ivory Coast reaffirmed its commitment to global health and women’s health, pledging support for African women and communities.

Finally, Irad Gbazale, an activist from Ivory Coast, emphasized the importance of inspiring change and facing the challenges related to gender-based violence. The event concluded with a focus on empowering women and girls to play a role in the decision-making process and improve health and equality.

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