Consultancy: Developing a Framework for Analyzing the Rights of Girls in Africa
Nearly 30 years on from the adoption of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Africa has enjoyed progressive law and policy reforms in the field of child rights that have resulted in improvements in the status and wellbeing of children across Africa, including girls. Yet girls in Africa still face rights violations on a daily basis, both as females and as children, finding themselves at the intersection of the vulnerabilities of age and gender. Millions continue to suffer marginalisation, discrimination, exploitation and deprivation, and a host of other intersecting challenges.
Girls everywhere are given far less value, respect and worth than boys. Offline and online, in and around schools, in the market place, at home, in institutions and in other settings, girls are victims of sexual exploitation. All sorts of harmful practices that run counter to their human dignity are perpetrated against them in the name of culture and tradition. When victimised by violations of their rights, gender-based judicial discrimination means they find it difficult to access justice. Girls are the first and worst affected in conflict situations: the first to be abducted and be held captive as sexual slaves, and the first to be displaced and deprived of their basic needs.
Despite improvements in ensuring access to primary education, access to and/or retention at the secondary school level leaves much to be desired. Girls and women are invisible in public policy discourses related to inheritance and nationality rights – though they are blatantly denied rights to inherit by customary laws and obsolete formal laws. It is important to address discrimination against girls in law through a gender-lens? Because for centuries, girls’ exclusion, marginalisation or invisibility has been at the root of their subjugation.
ACPF realizes that the issue of gender generally suffers from limited attention in the legal and policy framework for children. As the existing human rights frameworks focus either on children or women, girls often fall through the cracks of national policy and legislation. The absence of legal frameworks in turn often means that structures and systems do not exist for enforcing and implementing their rights.
Apart from provisions which may prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sex or gender, in most cases, the provisions of most laws and policies refer to children as a homogeneous group. This is despite the fact that society is socialized into providing differential treatment for boys and girls, leading to a discriminatory impact especially on girls. In order to enhance capacities of both girls and boys, transform gender-biased attitudes and ensure meaningful participation of both boys and girls on issues that affect them, it is important to ensure that the rights of both girls and boys are recognized in law by legally entrenching their protection from gender-based discrimination, based on the specific needs of either sex. The law must therefore specifically consider girls and boys in respect of rights pertaining to protection, provision and participation. While law in itself cannot generate gender‐equitable societies for girls, it provides an authoritative framework for its realisation. To be able to do this, there is a need, as revealed by ACPF’s studies on girls and the law, for guidance for policy makers on how they can ensure that laws and policies respond to the needs of both girls and boys at both the formal level in terms of laws and policies, and the informal level in terms of acceptable customs. It is in light of this that ACPF proposes for the development of a Framework that will, among others, identify gender specific indicators and standards which the legal and policy frameworks must, at the minimum, consist of.
The main objective of the assignment is to develop a “Framework for analyzing the rights of girls in Africa”, which will:
· provide a tool for governments and civil society organizations for examining legal and policy frameworks in terms of how they can incorporate a systematic gender perspective and address gender-specific constraints for girls;
· help to advance the full range of rights of girls by providing the tools and indicators for developing appropriate laws and policies and for monitoring their implementation; and
· suggest modalities for enforcement and implementation by laying out the requirements for having functional enforcement and implementation structures and systems and reporting mechanisms.
The Framework will cover a wide a range of thematic issues including, but not limited to, the following:
· Right to equality and non-discrimination
· Right to dignity, life, integrity, security and protection in situations of armed conflict
· Freedom from violence, abuse and exploitation and from harmful practices
· Access to justice and equal protection before the law
· Right to participation in education and training and in decision making
· Right to economic and welfare rights and health and reproductive rights
· Right to food and adequate nutrition and adequate housing
· Right to inheritance
· Right to nationality
· Right to rest, leisure, play and recreation
· Special protection of girls in vulnerable situations
The proposed Framework is anchored in intersectionality, which specifically recognises that girls face a myriad of overlapping bases upon which their marginalization rests. It will provide an understanding of the specific realities of girls and provide guidance on how to address them through law and policy reform, taking into account historical and culture-based differences and disparities between girls and boys. The Framework will also provide guidance on how to extend a human rights orientation to the issues concerning children that the law seeks to protect by being responsive to gender differences and disparities thereby expanding children’s choices, and promoting their wellbeing and empowerment.
In addition, the Framework will articulate the avenues and mechanisms to monitor commitments on the human rights of girls and thereby catalyse adequate enforcement of those commitments. It will, therefore, also be a tool for CSOs working on gender equality and girls’ rights advocates to use in their legislative advocacy efforts.
The development of the Framework will involve an extensive review of the gender and human rights literature and a through review and critique of exiling human rights instruments related to children, adolescents and women. The Framework will be developed by ACPF led by a Technical Reference Group of renowned experts in both human rights law and gender equality rights. The process for developing the Framework will also involve the engagement of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, the AU Social Affairs Department, the AU Women, Gender and Development Directorate, the AU Special Rapporteur on Rights of Women, the UN Special Rapporteur on Rights of Women and CSOs working in gender equality and the rights of girls, such as Plan International and the academia. Once developed, the Framework will be validated at a meeting that will bring together the Reference Group and other experts from the continent. To facilitate easy understanding of the Framework by policy makers and other users, the Framework will be accompanied by a Policy Brief outlining the major elements of the Framework.
The Consultant will be expected to deliver the following outputs:
a. An Inception Report
b. A Framework for Analysing the Rights of Girls in Africa
c. A Policy Brief outlining the major elements of the Framework
Submission of a technical and financial proposal
Submission of an inception report
Submission of first draft Framework
Feedback from ACPF
Submission of final and second draft Framework
Submission of Policy brief
REQUIRED EXPERTISE AND QUALIFICATION
Candidates must meet the following requirements:
· Postgraduate or other advanced university degree in the area of child/human rights, gender and women’ studies, law, political science, development studies or any other related discipline;
· At least 10 years of traceable experience of working and/or conducting research, policy strategic framework development and review in the field of child rights, women’s and girls’ rights, at regional and continental levels;
· Demonstrable analytical skills and practical exposure in applying child law and policy analysis, as well as child rights mainstreaming, programming, monitoring and evaluation at regional and continental, levels;
· Demonstrable experience of working with the ACERWC and RECs and their mechanisms;
· Good knowledge of gender, child rights and protection;
· Past experience in similar assignments of developing strategy frameworks particularly in Africa will be an added value;
· Good knowledge of indicator development and monitoring and evaluation;
· Proficiency in English is a requirement while knowledge of other AU working languages is highly desirable.
How to apply:
HOW TO APPLY
Interested and suitable candidates are requested to send their technical and financial proposals, of not more than five pages, and a CV, of not more than three pages, to: email@example.com on or before 15 Sept 2020. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.