49th PCB - Intervention by Jonathan Gunthorp - Agenda item 10 - Thematic Segment

Delivered by Jonathan Gunthorp, Africa, on behalf of the NGO Delegation

Thank you Chair

I thank all the speakers, and I particularly want to reference Winnie Byanyima & Meg Davis’ inputs, and their references to communities. I want to throw at delegates a number of data points researched by civil society and in the last six to eight weeks put before five Parliaments, twelve member states, and one regional economic community, and that have influenced tow regional SRHR and HIV agreements in my region.

The numbers are: there are 112 million adolescents and young people in southern Africa of whom 55.8 million are adolescent girls and young women, of whom some 11 million are on contraceptives, while some 20 million are not even seeking access to contraception.

There are 1.7 million positive living adolescents and young people of whom some 400,000 are not yet on ARVs, while a full 45 million still lack sufficient knowledge of HIV today, 10 December 2021.

And in a recent survey on GBV reporting at a national level in a member state, two out of three rape victims were 13-18yr old girls; two out of three of rapes were perpetrated by family, neighbours, or lovers; and two out of three rapes took place in the victim’s own home in daylight.

And moving beyond these figures, communities ask and answer questions that numbers don’t tell, like do girls get pregnant and drop out of school, or do they drop out of school and then get pregnant, or do they get pulled out of school for poverty reasons and then get married or or or….we need skillful community asking to answer questions about perpetrators, stigma, attitudes and other less numerical but no less real issues.

Chair, what is the point of all these figures? It’s about community, and two lessons about data. firstly, big data can be curated and projected by small people. And secondly, small data, when taken up by big-mouthed communities, cantalk big.

I thank you.


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