International Day of the Girl Child 2018: NORMA Clean Water promotes equal opportunities for girls
- NORMA Group is active in India and Brazil
- Improved hygiene standards open up educational opportunities for girls
- Cooperation with children’s charity Plan International
NORMA Group launched a second NORMA Clean Water aid project in Brazil in 2017. In the rural regions of Codó and Peritoró in the country’s northeast, drinking water is difficult to access and often polluted. In cooperation with the children’s charity Plan International, NORMA Group will be constructing new drinking water facilities and modernizing existing ones in project regions by 2020. Around 400 families will gain better and easier access to clean water.
Girls are often the family members responsible for providing water for their households. Those with poor access to water have to travel long distances to the nearest well – a time expenditure that often negatively reflects on school attendance. NORMA Clean Water helps improve the disadvantaged situation of girls and young women.
“NORMA Clean Water is an impressive example of the far-reaching positive consequences of improving hygiene standards and general living conditions, especially for girls and young women. With our aid project, we aim to strengthen educational opportunities and equal rights for girls,” says Dr. Michael Schneider, Chief Financial Officer and responsible for Corporate Responsibility at NORMA Group.
NORMA Group successfully implemented its first NORMA Clean Water aid project together with Plan International in the West Indian state of Maharashtra from 2014 to 2018. The aid project aimed to improve the water supply and hygiene as well as repair sanitary facilities at 50 schools near NORMA Group’s production site in the Pune district. More than 18,600 schoolchildren and teachers were given access to clean drinking water and sanitary facilities. They were also trained in water management and hygiene issues.
Inadequate sanitary facilities and inadequate hygiene conditions in local schools often result in girls being absent from school out of shame. Improvements in sanitary conditions therefore have a direct impact on the educational opportunities of girls and young women in the affected regions and contribute to equal rights for boys and girls.
On occasion of the International Day of the Girl Child, Plan International published the results of a recent analysis on gender equality. The opportunity for girls to participate in politics was examined in a total of 135 countries. Indicators included the number of female members of parliament, the number of women in ministerial posts and social indicators such as literacy rate and domestic violence rates. Brazil ranked 59th and India 75th in the study’s results.
“If we want to achieve equal rights, we have to work hard to ensure that girls and women all over the world are involved in all decision-making processes and having an active say in them,” says Maike Röttger, Managing Director of Plan International Deutschland. “We won’t be able to solve the problems facing girls and women all over the world with predominantly male governments. Strengthening political participation must become a core objective of government – both in developing countries and in Germany.”
International Day of the Girl Child – Global campaign at Plan International’s initiative
The International Day of the Girl Child was initiated by the children’s aid organization Plan International. The first International Day of the Girl Child, still unofficial at the time, was proclaimed in 2008. The UN adopted the campaign in December 2011 at Plan International’s recommendation. Since then, International Day of the Girl Child on October 11 has provided a platform to draw attention to the discrimination of girls in many places around the world and to work towards equal rights for all children.
Plan International draws attention to the fact that girls often do not have the same opportunities as boys and are often prevented from exercising their rights. The aid organisation campaigns for an improvement of this situation. The goal is that girls and young women have equal access to education, that they themselves decide whether, whom and when to marry and if and when they will receive children.
To support this, girls and young women in this year's International Day of the Girl Child around the globe take over the positions of presidents, ministers or judges in order to make themselves heard in these key roles for their concerns. In Germany, 21-year-old Celina Kühl, for example, symbolically stepped into the shoes of the Finance Minister and Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin. In another symbolic act, many prominent buildings throughout Germany including the Berlin Radio Tower and Hamburg’s St. Petri Church are illuminated hot pink.
More information on Corporate Responsibility (CR) at NORMA Group can be found on the CR website and in the 2017 Corporate Responsibility Report.