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First V-Day Africa Summit Held in Nairobi; Major Campaign Launched to Protect Victims of Gender Violence

08/27/2012

For Immediate Release

First V-Day Africa Summit Held in Nairobi

Major Campaign Launched to Protect Victims of Gender Violence

NAIROBI, 27 August - Against the backdrop of global statistics that state that over one billion women will experience rape or abuse in their lifetime, a coalition of gender activists and social entrepreneurs have gathered in Nairobi for a three-day Summit to kick-start a new campaign against all forms of sexual violence against women.

Convened by V-Day, the global movement to end violence against women and girls founded by playwright and activist Eve Ensler, forty six activists and social entrepreneurs, from 18 countries in Africa, will meet to learn from one another, establish a regional and continent-wide agenda, and create a platform from which to communicate about their work and demands to the international community.

Meeting under the aegis the V-Day Africa Summit: Africa Rising, the summit is also expected to create momentum for One Billion Rising, a global campaign to mark the 15th anniversary of the V-Day global movement to end violence against women and girls in honour of the one billion women survivors of abuse.

"More than 1 out of every 3 women on this planet will experience violence during her lifetime. With 7 billion people on the planet, that's one billion women. Stopping this violence is as crucial as addressing the issues of disease, hunger, and climate change," said Eve Ensler, Founder of V-Day. "One Billion Rising is a global strike, a call to refuse to participate until rape and rape culture ends. It's a solidarity reach, a new refusal, and a new way of being. Bringing these passionate, knowledgeable and innovative women and men together, will help to connect women so they understand the problem is much larger - one that is taking place on a human scale - and that it must be addressed collectively. "

V-Day Kenya Director, Agnes Pareyio, a former UN Personality of the Year laureate, said the Summit has been convened to help women create a powerful network that would help strengthen their own campaigns across Africa.

"Bringing women together will help break the isolation, shame and taboo that often surrounds sexual violence, as survivors often believe that violence is because of their family or culture alone," said Ms Pareyio, whose campaign against female genital mutilation led to her global award.

The Summit is due to propose a 10-point plan to end violence against women in Africa and support the activists on the ground who have been fighting for years to end it.

The V-Day Africa Summit will feature innovative approaches in the fight against gender violence. It will showcase campaigns against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), which impacts over 92 million females aged 10, and below who undergo the cut.

Statistics show unacceptable levels of abuse against women. More than half a million women and girls have been raped in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as a result of the 14-year long war there. The Summit will also highlight V-Day's project in the DRC, the City of Joy in Bukavu, which serves as a centre for leadership and development for women recovering from this violence.

V-Day is honored to have Dr. Denis Mukwege, a contender for the Noble Peace prize, from Democratic Republic of Congo, attend. Dr. Mukwege, the godfather of the V-Men's movement, will make a call to men throughout the continent to create a vision to rise to end violence against women.

Kenya's 2007/08 post election violence left thousands of abuse victims. There is systematic violence against millions in Guinea, Somalia, Sudan, Libya and Zimbabwe, the countries which have recently witnessed political upheavals. The trends show an urgent need to protect women against violence.

In South Africa, a woman is raped every 25 seconds, worsening the spread of HIV/AIDS. Five teen girls from South Africa will attend the Summit to bring the voices of youth into the V-Africa network.

The Summit is made possible with the support of the Skoll Foundation and the Wallace Global Fund.

ENDS....../////

About Agnes Pareyio

As a victim of violence against girls, Agnes Pareyio's brave battle against the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) led her to carry out a door-to-door campaign, using a wooden vagina to raise awareness about the perils of the female cut. Its impact was phenomenal. To advance this innovative campaign, she set up the Tasaru Ntomonok Centre, a safe house for girls escaping the vice. The Centre is also know as the V-Day Safe House for Girls.

About Eve Ensler

Eve Ensler is a Tony award winning playwright, performer and activist. She is the author of The Vagina Monologues, which has been published in 48 languages and performed in over 140 countries. Eve's newest work, I Am An Emotional Creature: The Secret Life Of Girls Around The World, was published in book form and made The New York Times Best Seller list. The play, Emotional Creature was workshopped in Johannesburg, South Africa, followed by Paris, France. It opened at Berkeley Repertory Theatre in June 2012, and will open in November 2012 Off-Broadway, New York City. She is also the founder of V-Day, the global movement to end violence against women and girls, which has raised over $90 million dollars.

About V-Day

V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls that raises funds and awareness through benefit productions of Playwright/Founder Eve Ensler's award winning play The Vagina Monologues and other artistic works. In 2012, over 5,800 V-Day benefit events took place produced by volunteer activists in the U.S. and around the world, educating millions of people about the reality of violence against women and girls. To date, the V-Day movement has raised over $90 million and educated millions about the issue of violence against women and the efforts to end it, crafted international educational, media and PSA campaigns, reopened shelters, and funded over 13,000 community-based anti-violence programs and safe houses in Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Kenya, South Dakota, Egypt and Iraq. Over 300 million people have seen a V-Day benefit event in their community. V-Day has received numerous acknowledgements including Worth Magazine's 100 Best Charities, Marie Claire Magazine's Top Ten Charities, one of the Top-Rated organizations on Philanthropedia/ Guidestar and Great Nonprofits. www.vday.org