#OrangeTheWorld ends today, but the UN advocates continuous awareness

For the past 16 days, the United Nations (UN) has brought different governments, UN agencies, civil society organizations and individuals from around the world together to spread awareness on Gender Based Violence (GBV), using the theme; Orange the World: End Violence against Women and Girls. The campaign initiative was launched on November 25, 2015, which is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and ends today, which is, coincidentally, Human Rights Day.

UN Women
UN Women

The 16 days of activism against GBV takes place each year for a specified period of time, during which the UN draws attention to the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls. It was established in 1991 by the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute and is coordinated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership.

Why the color orange?

According to UN Women, orange is one of the official colors of the UNiTE campaign and in 2014, the UNiTE campaign asked for governments, UN entities, civil society organizations and individuals across the world to ‘orange their neighborhoods’ to raise public awareness about violence against women and girls. The initiative called on all people in all parts of world to take action in their communities, play their part and stand up against violence against women and girls. Ever since its initiation, landmarks around the world have been lit up in orange colors to show support for the Orange the World campaign.

UN Women South Africa Multi-Country Office lit Cape Town's iconic Table Mountain orange and white in keeping with the UNiTE orange the world campaign and the South African Department  of Women's colours for 16 Days of Activism, to raise awareness about violence against women. The mountain was lit from 20:00 to 22:00 on November 25th in honor of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the start of the 16 Days  campaign. It will be lit again on December 10th to close the campaign. Photo: City of Cape Town/Bruce Sutherland
UN Women South Africa Multi-Country Office lit Cape Town’s iconic Table Mountain orange and white in keeping with the UNiTE orange the world campaign and the South African Department
of Women’s colours for 16 Days of Activism, to raise awareness about violence against women. The mountain was lit from 20:00 to 22:00 on November 25th in honor of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the start of the 16 Days
campaign. It will be lit again on December 10th to close the campaign.
Photo: City of Cape Town/Bruce Sutherland

The Palais de l’Europe in Strousbourg, France was lit orange in a Council of Europe ceremony in response to the UNiTE campaigns call to orange the world. Photo: Council of Europe/Sandro Weltin
The Palais de l’Europe in Strousbourg, France was lit orange in a Council of Europe ceremony in response to the UNiTE campaigns call to orange the world. Photo: Council of Europe/Sandro Weltin

The headquarters of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa was lit up in orange as part of the “Orange the world” movement as part of the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign. Photo: UN Women/Paula Mata
The headquarters of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa was lit up in orange as part of the “Orange the world” movement as part of the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign. Photo: UN Women/Paula Mata

A few highlights

During the campaign, participants took progressive steps to create more awareness on GBV. For instance, in Africa, countries like Nigeria, Uganda, South Africa, Mali, Cabo Verde took part in the campaign by conducting walks, student awareness and inviting participants to speak out to support the cause on social media.

#OrangeTheWorld Lagos
#OrangeTheWorld Lagos

#OrangeTheWorld Lagos
#OrangeTheWorld Lagos

UN Women China, in partnership with the Beijing Royal School, started a peer education programme for secondary school students. The programme trained 48 secondary school students, both boys and girls, who learnt about gender issues, stereotypes and norms that promote violence against women. They also learnt how to use social media effectively to advocate for gender equality and prevent specific forms of violence prevalent among their peers and in their communities. In the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste in Southeast Asia, a pop-up event was organized at one of the main public transportation terminals featuring music created by young artists to send a message against violence.

In Yemen, UN Women organized an Orange event in collaboration with the office of the UN Resident Coordinator, Paolo Lembo. Lembo stressed the important role of the education system in raising awareness and promoting freedom from violence against women and girls and all participants stamped their orange fingerprints on the map of the country signalling the unification of efforts to end this form of violence. At the end of the event, participants released balloons with messages promoting freedom from violence for women and girls.

For the first time in Tirana, Albania, leaders of religious communities signed a joint declaration to act against the global pandemic of violence against women. A concert at the main square of the city brought together representatives of the Albanian government, international community and activists who raised their voice for a world free from violence and demanded action to prevent violence against women.

Also, there was a lot of activity on social media as people pledged to the cause. Under the #OrangeTheWorld hashtag, people from around the world offered their thoughts and statistics on GBV, even stating situations for the perpetration of such an act like child marriage.

Others shared statistics on factors that are consistent with GBV and the startling nature of the statistics and results proves why   the #OrangeTheWorld awareness campaign needs to go beyond today.

As the #OrangeTheWorld campaign officially comes to an end today, the United Nations charges all individuals, groups and institutions around the world to continue creating awareness on GBV by inspiring discussions around the subject so as to keep people aware on how to identify, prevent and survive Gender Based Violence (GBV).

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