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Djibouti, 12-12-2013: The Seventh Regional Steering Committee Meeting of the Africa UNiTE Campaign to End Violence against Women and Girls started this morning at Djibouti Palace Kempinski as it was co-chaired by Ms. Letty Chiwara, Representative of UN Women, Addis Ababa and Ms. Seynabou Tall, Representative of UNFPA Regional Office for Eastern and Southern Africa, Johannesburg. The Officer-in-charge of IGAD, Mr. Kefle Sebhatu, and the Manager of the Africa UNiTE Campaign, Ms. Jennet Kem were in attendance.

Africa UNiTE, the regional component of the UNSG’s Campaign, is a continent-wide partnership between the UN System, African Union Commission (AUC), AU Member States, development partners, CSOs, the media, African youths and community leaders.

In her opening remarks, Ms. Letty Chiwara thanked IGAD as a whole and IGAD Gender Desk in particular for co-hosting the meeting. She then reminded the audience that the meeting came at a time when Ethiopia became the 21st African country to launch the campaign last November 25th.

“Data shows us that one out three women experiences some sort of violence in her lifetime. Violence has a cost to families, communities, and to economy”, she said. She also added that some positive changes were showing hope. “I want us to think strategically on how we can support the Africa UNiTE Campaign Secretariat in their policy and efforts towards achieving the objectives of the Africa UNiTE campaign” she said as a conclusion.

Ms. Seynabou Tall highlighted that the 7th RSC Meeting was very critical from her Secretariat’s perspective. She informed the participants that the seventh RSC Meeting would have the following outcomes: informed RSC members on achievements and challenges of the Africa UNiTE Campaign Secretariat as well as the efforts being made to promote the Campaign at different levels; a better understanding of emerging continental and international issues and their impact of the Africa UNiTE Campaign processes; renewed commitments by RSC members to strengthen the Campaign Secretariat and also speed up realization of Campaign objectives at their levels; and approved Africa UNiTE Campaign Secretariat 2014 annual work plan with concrete funding commitments.

Mr. Kefle Sebhatu said that IGASD Secretariat was honored to co-host the meeting and gave an overview of the programs, projects, and activities of IGAD aimed at promoting gender and combatting gender-based violence. He also thanked the Government of Djibouti for kindly allowing IGAD co-host the meeting in Djibouti.

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