Join our campaign #FutureForOurGirls and call for support for women and girls abducted by Boko Haram.

On International Women's Day 2016, International Alert, together with UNICEF and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is launching the #FutureForOurGirls campaign urging for more support for the women and girls released from Boko Haram.

The campaign is being launched at a protest march organised on 8 March 2016 by the three organisations in The Hague, Netherlands to show solidarity with the many women and girls kidnapped by Nigeria's insurgency group Boko Haram.

Thousands of women and children have been abducted by Boko Haram – including the 276 schoolgirls in Chibok area two years ago. Many remain in captivity, but some are beginning to return. However, according to a study by International Alert and UNICEF, women and girls that do return often face stigma in their own communities and struggle to re-integrate.

Moreover, the children of these survivors, whose fathers are believed to be Boko Haram fighters, are perceived with acute suspicion and are rejected.

Harriet Lamb, CEO of International Alert, said:

"Women and girls who survive Boko Haram need our support. And so do the communities where they return, to help them overcome their fears and mistrust, support the women in rebuilding their lives and accept their children. As many faith leaders in Nigeria say, it’s only through compassion and forgiveness that the scars of conflict can start to heal."

Lilianne Ploumen, Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, said:

"It is important that we do not forget about the thousands of women and girls that have been abducted by Boko Haram. Two years ago we started the campaign to free our girls. Thankfully by now many women and girls have managed to escape or have been liberated by the army. Good news, one would say. Tragically, this is not the case. Upon return they are not accepted by their families, their communities distrust them and are afraid they are 'infected'."

#FutureForOurGirls aims to build on this campaign and support the liberated women and girls.

Florence Ozor, one of the initiators of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign, will attend as a special guest.

Jan Bouke Wijbrandi, Director of UNICEF Netherlands, said: "The violence against girls and women in Nigeria is a severe violation of their rights. This must stop. UNICEF is doing all we can to help the victims recover by supporting them in their return to their families and communities, providing psycho-social support and medical care. We also help the girls resume their education as soon as possible."

Join our campaign #FutureForOurGirls and call for support for these women and girls.

Download this picture and share it on social media using the hashtag #FutureForOurGirls to join the campaign!

Photo © Stars Foundation/Kristian Buus (Creative Commons)