Executive Director & CEO of Together for Girls, Daniela Ligiero talks about tackling sexual violence





About this Episode


Executive Director & CEO of Together for Girls, Daniela Ligiero, talks about their work in tackling violence against children and their invaluable Violence Against Children and Youth Surveys


Together for Girls is a global, public-private partnership dedicated to ending violence against children, especially sexual violence against girls.


The partnership includes five UN agencies, the governments of the United States and Canada, several private sector organisations and more than 20 country governments in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, working together to generate comprehensive data and solutions to this public health and human rights epidemic.


Together for Girls, in partnership with the CDC — the US Centers for Disease Control — has conducted their Violence Against Children and Youth Surveys in 24 countries. They now have data for over 10% of the world's population under 24 on this issue and are the single largest repository on sexual violence data for children, adolescents and youth.


This is a fascinating conversation on a sobering topic, underpinned by optimism and a sense of urgency. Daniela sheds light on the global context of violence against children and clearly articulates the work being done to tackle it.


About Daniela Ligiero


Dr. Daniela Ligiero is the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Together for Girls, a global, public-private partnership dedicated to ending violence against children, especially sexual violence against girls. She also serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children.


Before Daniela joined Together for Girls, she served as the Vice President of Girls and Women’s Strategy at the UN Foundation and developed the foundation’s gender integration strategy. In addition, she spent over five years at the U.S. Department of State where she led the integration of gender issues into all foreign policy and investments in global health—working with over 70 countries and over 1 billion dollars in investments on issues like preventing gender-based violence and improving the sexual and reproductive health of girls and women. She helped develop the first ever International U.S. Government Strategy to End Gender-Based Violence.


Daniela also served in leadership roles at UNICEF, as Chief of HIV and then as Senior Program Officer in the UNICEF Brazil Country Office—the second largest in the world. In addition, she has held positions at the World Bank and the US Senate and has worked directly with survivors of sexual assault in a variety of settings. She is also a survivor of sexual violence herself and has been speaking publicly about her story for the last decade. She earned her doctoral degree in counseling psychology from University of Maryland, College Park, ranked the No. 1 program in the US. Dr. Ligiero is fluent in four languages: English, Portuguese, Spanish and French.



Episode Transcript


This is a transcript of the conversation between Alberto Lidji, host of The Do One Better! Podcast, and Daniela Ligiero, Executive Director and CEO of Together for Girls.


Alberto Lidji

So without further ado, Daniela, it is an absolute pleasure to welcome you on to The Do One Better! Podcast today.


Daniela Ligiero

Thank you so much, Alberto, it's wonderful to be here with you.


Alberto Lidji

Well, it's wonderful that you could make it. You're out there in Washington, DC, I'm here in London, why don't we start by finding out a little bit about the work you're doing... tell me a little bit about the work you're doing and the organisation Together for Girls wha t's Together for Girls all about?


Daniela Ligiero

Yeah, so you know, the work we're doing is big and ambitious. But also, I think, so important. We focus on ending violence against children, adolescents and youth, but with special attention to sexual violence. And because we know sexual violence affects primarily girls, that's kind of where the organisation started. Thus the name, although I will say just upfront that from the last decade of experience and data, we also know that sexual violence affects boys a lot more than we anticipated. So we do have a lot of work we also do with boys. But really, you know, we started about 10 years ago, and we are a partnership that includes the private sector, UN organisations, civil society, governments... and it came from this idea that, you know, to tackle a problem of this magnitude, there's no single actor or sector that can do this alone. So we work together, really, to first and foremost, on the data side of things understand the size of the problem. And there's a lot of research and evidence building we do around how big is this problem at a national level? What are we really talking about here? There's a lot of silence and misconception as you can imagine. And then we use the data and information we have to support response, you know, programmes, policies that can make a difference. And part of that means doing a lot of advocacy and kind of pushing decision makers to do more on this important issue, which really, I think, interestingly, you know, we're dealing with a pandemic, right now, we've for a while been saying that sexual violence is the single largest silent pandemic of our time, because there's so much of it going on, beginning to be exposed, but still, people don't quite understand because of the shame and the silence how big it really is.


Alberto Lidji

Yeah. And so where do you... your global partners... I mean, you operate in multiple countries. Give us a little bit of a feel for how you came about and where you're active right now.


Daniela Ligiero

Yeah, so we, you know, I had the privilege of working with the Obama administration under Secretary Clinton at the Department of State and I was there at the time, when Together for Girls was started. And really, you know, our founder, Gary Cohen, who's actually in the private sector at BD, Becton, Dickinson and Company, was doing a lot of work in Sub Saharan Africa with us and others and realising like, very high rates of HIV infection among adolescent girls. And understanding, we all knew there was something that was going on there that was beyond consensual sex, but we couldn't quite understand the size of it. So we partnered with CDC, the US Centers for Disease Control, and decided to do a national study of prevalence around sexual violence. And we started just with girls in Swaziland, now known as Eswatini, in southern Africa, and really said, well, what if we took a public health approach like we do with HIV and studied at a national level, at a country level, what is the size of this problem and really look at, you know, perpetrators, times of day, locations, I mean, really go into detail like you would with a public health, you know, challenge and this survey was born, this Violence Aginst Children and Youth Survey. And, of course, everyone was just flabbergasted at the very high rates, we found, I mean, we found that there about one in three girls had experienced some form of sexual violence or abuse before the age of 18. And the consequences of that, of course, were HIV, unintended pregnancy, dropping out of school... I mean, there was so much associated with that. And we started to understand that this is a driver, you know, not only of... I mean, experiencing sexual violence in and of itself is horrific and a human rights violation and traumatic, but it also affects a lot of the other development outcomes that many of us care so deeply about. And so, after that, we were like, we have to do something, we can't just sit on this data and the partnership was born as a way of saying, well, let's pull together the folks who are working on these issues but not talking to each other, including UNICEF, the World Health Organisation and others to do something about it. Since then we've expanded the survey to also look at boys. Because we said, well, what a missed opportunity, if we're going to do this, why don't we also do boys. And since then we have done this national survey with CDC and 24 governments from around the world, we have data for over 10% of the world's population under 24 on this issue. So we're the single largest repository on sexual violence data for children, adolescents and youth. And have expanded, of course, after that, to work with governments to develop national action plans in response, done quite a lot of work around advocacy to raise awareness around this issue. And it really has been interesting to see over the last several years with Me Too, and several of the other movements that have been emerging, like how much more attention this issue is getting, which is good, and there's still a lot to do. The other thing I'll just say, and then I'll pause, the really good interesting story here, too, is we've primarily worked in developing countries, in low and middle income countries, around Sub Saharan Africa, Central America, now in Colombia, moving to Latin America and Southeast Asia, but are now using the survey and the methodology to actually come to the US, because it turns out now we have better data in those countries on these issues than we do here. So we're piloting this in Baltimore, in the city of Baltimore.. the CDC and others. And I think there's an interesting story about, you know, how usually we think about kind of richer countries, you know, sharing their experience and expertise with, you know, low and middle income countries, but this is... we're trying something different where it... you know, there's so much knowledge and expertise that's come with working with these governments and developing not only the instruments around data, but response that perhaps can be applied here. So that's exciting for me, too.


Alberto Lidji

So on the one hand, very sobering, on the other hand, very exciting as well. In terms of the the surprise factor, I guess, the surprise that you had when you conducted that survey, initially, and these unexpected findings and the scale and severity of the findings. It's not inconceivable, you might find that when you're doing things in a developed country, like the US, when you're analysing things, again, that you find some unpleasant surprises there.


Daniela Ligiero

Yeah, and I will say, we have quite a bit of data in the US that is good, but piecemeal. So we have a lot of pieces of the puzzle, as well as in other countries around the world... like in Europe. I will say the UK has done quite an amazing job on this issue, and really looking at it, and trying to understand it. You know, Alberto, I think for the last decade, through the work we've done, but also through the work of many other organisations, we've really begun to understand the size of the problem. And the truth is that when it comes to girls and women, the experience of sexual violence, harassment, abuse happens everywhere, in the home, in the school, in work, on the streets, in sports, in religion, we've also found that for boys, you know, that's also true in a lot of different settings. For example, all the scandals we've seen, you know, in the... around the world, within the church, as well as within sports, and you know, even the Boy Scouts now, I mean, they're all these scandals happening in the US right now. So I think, really, it's beginning to... we've really begun to understand the size of the problem. And so we've really... try now to then complete that story. So if the story is, it's big, it's bad and that's it, that feels very onerous and depressing. But what we're trying to do is shift it to yeah, it's big, it's bad. Like it's big, it's happening everywhere. It's a huge problem. And it doesn't have to be this way. And everyone has a role to play in changing that. Because we do have also a lot of data and evidence around the things that work to prevent this from happening, to respond to it appropriately. And I think, you know, Me Too, has helped to really open that up. But we really, as a global community need to take that next step around, not just having it be sobering and depressing, but also empowering. And like, Yeah, let's do something about this, you know.


Alberto Lidji

So you have those three pillars, right: You have the data, you have the action, and you have the advocacy.


Daniela Ligiero

Yep. Absolutely.


Alberto Lidji

And the survey itself, just to let our listeners know if anybody wants to look it up, it's the violence against children survey?


Daniela Ligiero

Yeah, it's called the Violence Against Children and Youth Survey because we do interview under 24. If you go to our website, togetherforgirls.org, you can look and have fun if you're a data geek exploring a lot of the data per country. A lot of details there... we do do the survey, you know, the CDC, the US Centers for Disease... leads on that survey with national governments as part of the partnership. So it really is kind of top of the line gold standard in terms of data collection, that's the data piece. As well as a lot of work we've done around solutions and evidence based approaches to addressing the problem. And then, you know, on the action, it's about, well, once you have this information, what do you do about it? And you know, of course, advocacy needs to feed in to that because people don't act unless there's some political pressure.


Alberto Lidji

Sure. Now, your advocacy efforts are, I imagine much more successful by the fact that you're also conducting all the data and all the analysis. You're not just talking out of thin air, you're saying, look, this is what our findings are telling us, at scale.


Daniela Ligiero

Yeah, and I think that's true. I mean, you've interviewed so many people, Alberto, I'm sure you've seen this, you know, I remember when I was working at State, and, you know, when you're like a decision maker, and you control, you know, large sums of money, and the decisions you make, the policy decisions you make affect, you know, large numbers of people, etc. Every day, you have people coming to you with like, there's this problem. And there's this... and, you know, there's a lot of like decisions that people need to make.... you know the decision makers around where to put time, investment and energy. And I would say that the three things I think, whatever the issue, you know, people need to have is, the first is you need to convince them that there's a problem, and that it's a big problem. And for a long time, this issue was something where we would say, yeah, there's a problem, but... and then of course, we were like, really, I don't think so, I don't think it's happening here, I don't think it's an issue here. And if you don't have the data to show it, it's really hard to convince people of the size of it, but when you have high quality national level data that says, hey, not only is this a huge problem, but you know, their implications around health, whether it's mental health, sexual reproductive health, the're implications around the education outcomes, economic outcomes, it's affecting a lot of the things you care about, that's important. The second piece is then, okay, well what do I do about it? You need to have solutions, right? That can be scaled, invested in... And then the final one is, okay, how much is it going to cost? Because, of course, people need to make decisions around funding, etc. I think along those three... and then finally, underneath that, you need the political pressure, right? You need people feeling like okay, there... if I don't do this, people are going to be pounding on my door and sayin why aren't you doing this. So I think we've done a lot in the field as a whole, in terms of the progress on that first piece, around the data and the size of the problem. Much more on the solutions piece. I think we still have more work to do around kind of really understanding the cost of action, but also the cost of inaction. There's some work starting there, and I think it's important. And finally, the political pressure. I mean, I think we've seen some of that. But I think there's opportunity to really scale that work as well.


Alberto Lidji

Now, you mentioned, on that very point, you mentioned you're working with 24 national governments to run the survey there. Has there ever been any pushback where a government might say, well, you know what, possibly not that interested in having us collaborate with you guys, because then that might subsequently lead to some political pressure coming our way?


Daniela Ligiero

Yeah. And I think, you know, another important thing about... that, I think, is really important thing around the work we do is really how we value national local leadership. You know, I've been in enough... We're talking earlier, you know, I've worked in the UN, I've worked in the US Government, I worked in a few different places. You know, I think I've seen different models where there's a lot of like this top down, imposing things. And then there's really like, how do you foster support and encourage the leadership that's there, and really allow it to thrive. And we're really trying to do the latter. And so we do not engage with the survey or anything that comes afterwards until, you know, high level folks with the national government say we want to do this. And there needs to be a lead ministry that takes us on and we need... you know, the prime minister or presidential level, like support and sign off. I will say, I think at the beginning, you know, part of that was spurred on by crisis. So, you know, there's a scandal. It's in the news... Some horrific act of sexual violence against a child or a teenager. And there's the sense of we got to do something. And so sometimes that's the impetus. But that's fine. We'll take it... you know for the government to see, yeah, we want to do this, we want to... and at the beginning, usually, the conversation was, yeah, yeah, we're gonna do this. But you'll see over here, this is like rare, and it's only a few cases and, and time and time again, that is disproven over and over again. I mean, we see variations, but every country has anywhere from, you know, a third to a fourth of the girls experiencing sexual violence and about, you know, one in eight women, six of the boys, and before the age of 18, you know, some form. And interestingly, over time, that conversation has shifted, and more and more, there's this sense of, yeah, okay, we, we know, it's gonna be there. Which is progress. Yeah.


Alberto Lidji

Yeah. Give us an idea on what's involved in conducting one of these surveys in a given country. I know every country is different on so many levels. But what's involved? How do you get the funding? How long does it take? How many? What sort of resources do you require?


Daniela Ligiero

Yeah, so usually, the way it works, and again, every country is a little different is you need a, you know, a particular sector ministry to say, okay, we're interested in doing this. Perhaps I'll give you an interesting example of one we conducted recently, in Honduras, in Central America... you know, in Sub Saharan Africa, we primarily have worked with Ministries of Health, and ministries of you know, genders, Social Affairs, sports, etc. on implementing these. In Central America, we actually worked with the Justice sector, because there were a lot of concerns around the violence that was happening in the country, but also the relationships between migration and violence. You know, in the US, there's been a lot of discussion around kind of migration to the US from a place like Honduras because of violence, and we, you know, the government was really trying to unpack that further, and understand what was going on. And so what it means is, you know, you need a ministry that says, okay, we want to do this, they then have to commit to a couple of things they have to commit to, at some point, about a year after the survey is done usually, or a year and a half, but the most the data needs to be public. There's always governments that want to do this and say, okay, we want to keep the findings close hold. And our condition is no, at some point, it has to be public, we'll give you a little bit of time to develop a response and to talk about what you're going to do about it...


Alberto Lidji

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Right. We'll give you will give you a heads up


Daniela Ligiero

Exactly, no, and most governments launch the data, but also whatever it is, they want to do in response, I get it. You don't just want to put the problem, you want to say we looked into it. And here's what we're going to do about it. There's also a commitment to have some kind of a multi sectoral taskforce where you have education, health, justice, finance, all represented, to oversee the implementation of this survey, to look at the results and to think about how to respond to that... that's really important. And what we do is we, you know, CDC provides technical assistance, and our various partners provide either funding, part of the funding, all the funding, depending on the country, but mostly, we try to do partial funding, so that there's also some skin in the game for governments... again, this idea of, and kind of, we always work with local organisations who actually go out there and do the survey itself. We train them, we help provide the capacity... because again, we're trying to build capacity while we go. So all of this takes from beginning to end, usually about a year and a half to two years from the moment we decided to do this because we are investing in national leadership, national capacity to understand the issue, to respond to the issue. Unlike other organisations, which is fine, you know, some people they you know, they'll send fly someone in, do a survey, come back through the results, but we understand that the survey is part of a much larger process that we're trying to, kind of catalyse in these countries that then leads to you know... at this point of the 24 times we've done this survey in different countries, 13 of these countries already have national action plans that they're implementing in response to that, in most cases for the first time ever.


Alberto Lidji

Have you been heartened by the consequences of these surveys, in terms of the actions that national governments have taken.


Daniela Ligiero

Absolutely. And I always like to remind people, first of all, this is a very complex issue. It's not like, you know, there is no vaccine, not like you would have... and done right. So, ending violence really means that you're going to have to work on systems, that you're going to have to really look at three main components: prevention, healing, and justice, You need all three. You need a lot of work on the prevention side, there's also a lot of healing for those who experienced this violence. And then finally, the Justice piece is essential, you know, you need to keep people accountable, and they need to feel like there's some, you know, fire under their feet, if they do something... I mean, we've seen that you know, everywhere in terms of perpetrators not needing to face justice for the acts that they've done. And that doesn't help to end the cycle. But we have been heartened, because... and I just want to say I'm so really proud of the work we've done over the last decade, because it is a new field, this is a new field. But we just last year, for the first time actually repeated this survey. Again, these are large, multi million dollar surveys that take a lot of time and energy, as you can tell, they're population based, they're big and national. Kenya repeated for the... was the first one to repeat where we could actually compare, and they did it six years later. And we were able to see decreases in terms of violence. Some areas... it was interesting, the one place where actually violence increased was community violence against adolescent girls. Which is interesting, because then we're looking deeper into what does that really mean? Was this election related, etc. But other forms of violence actually decreased over time, in some cases, you know, like, by 10% to 15%, which is huge at a population level, again, you're talking about millions of people. And so right now, we're really doing a deeper dive into, okay, well, what really made a difference there. But it's a good story, because it says, change is possible. Like, we shouldn't just, you know, have this attitude of oh, my, this is so big and complicated, and let's not... like we can do it, you know, at a at a population level. Anyway, so it is exciting.


Alberto Lidji

That's great. There must be parallels, then... when we're talking about this violence against children, youth and children survey, I'm reminded of UNICEF's MICS, or the... I think it's the multiple indicator cluster surveys that they run on different... you know, in a given country. And what I always find useful about those MICS reports is that it gives you a... it gives you... you know, enables you to put your finger on the pulse of what's going on, you know, so that if you're looking to drive forward some interventions in a given country, on a given field, whether that's nutrition or anything else, at least you can have your bearings. And I guess, with the survey, that you're driving forward in these countries, the same becomes true... Not only useful for you and the governments, but also for many charities and NGOs who are involved in this field.


Daniela Ligiero

Yeah, absolutely. And the MICS is a great example of a survey that's been around for a while, that's been repeated, there's so much value in that. In understanding that. Similarly, the Demographic Health Survey, I mean, they're examples of these big national surveys that then repeat and give you a lot of information, which is very helpful. And I think for us, the unique piece of the VACS is really that, you know, like the MICS does a lot of interviewing of caregivers, which is really important. And we work closely with UNICEF on the VACS as well...


Alberto Lidji

...the VACS being the violence against children...


Daniela Ligiero

The Violence Against Children and Youth Surveys, yeah, the ones we do. But, you know, we actually interview children and youth, we interview 13 to 24 year olds, and we have a million things, including a lot of them with UNICEF to ensure that there's ethics around that and because we're asking them directly about their experiences. And one of the things we found is for the issue of sexual violence, specifically, if you just look at how many people showed up at the police or the health centre, or if you ask parents or if you ask family members and others, you get the tip of the iceberg. You've got to get self report... and even then we think in many cases, this is an underestimation, which is like and I always say well, if 30% saying the experiences this is an underestimation like we still feel this is an important contribution, but to be able to understand not only the prevalence, but for example, you... I was talking about Honduras earlier, there are differences between countries, not all countries are the same. When we did the Swaziland survey, the government really felt because the scandal that was kind of in the news was a girl who had been raped by a teacher that the problem was in schools. That's where the problem is, and this is a huge issue. Turns out school is actually a relatively safe space compared to going to and from school. So they were going to invest limited resources in kind of the schools, when a much better investment in limited resources is kind of safe passage to school. We see that over and over again. In Central America, we found that the single largest perpetrator of sexual violence against girls is a family member. In Kenya, it's a neighbour or a community member. That means different kinds of interventions. Do you need I mean? And so we're, it's... there's a lot happening everywhere, but it looks different everywhere. Understanding that nuance is absolutely helpful to intervening in the right place.


Alberto Lidji

I imagine to some extent, one of the... one of the courses of action that might be sensible, is just helping those children to gain a voice, right, to be able to speak up in settings that they perhaps traditionally would not feel comfortable doing so.


Daniela Ligiero

Yeah, I'm glad you brought up that, that is such an important part of our work. And I think a lot of the advocacy we work... we do is really about... we call it elevating the voices of survivors, hearing survivors, elevating their voices. You know, Alberto, I've been telling my story for a long time, I'm a survivor myself, and, you know, I made a decision many years ago that I was going to go public with my story, because I just felt like the silence around this issue was really deafening. I mean, if here I am, you know, with a PhD, highly educated woman with economic resources doing, you know, the kinds of work that I do, if it's scary for me to say that out loud. Imagine how terrifying it is for a 14 year old who's living it in her community. And I just felt, I mean, this was over a decade ago, even before Me Too, you know, like, part of what needs to happen is breaking the silence and removing the shame. Because a lot of us carry shame, when we have this kind of experience. But that shame doesn't really belong to us, it belongs to kind of, you know, the perpetrators, and the institutions that are complicit. And so I think a really important piece of our work... even with the survey itself has been let's go to those directly and hear from them. And, you know, sharing data at a national level, while keeping people's anonymity is a way to share those stories in a powerful way. And then there are those who want to be more public, and we really help support them as well as they advocate for change. Yeah,


Alberto Lidji

I can only imagine how difficult it must be. Did you know that you wanted to get into this field from from early on in life, because the work that you've been doing isn't just here Together for Girls, but when you were at the State Department I think also you were looking at a gender as regards global health, if I'm not mistaken. And likewise, at the UN Foundation, looking at girls and women... so did you know from your experiences... was that what drove you to end up where you are today?


Daniela Ligiero

Yeah, I mean, I had a, you know, it wasn't a straight path. If you asked me, you know, 15 years ago, would I be doing this, that's not what I had imagined. I mean, I knew I wanted to work on issues of social justice, you know, my experience kind of growing up all over the world, I had, I saw a lot of inequality and injustice. And I felt like that's something that I was really passionate about. And I was really passionate about issues of gender equality, and, of course, gender based violence, sexual violence, because of my own experience. But, you know, I, I wasn't sure exactly how that would happen. And so I, you know, I worked for a long time, as you mentioned on global health, on HIV, always on kind of issues of gender equity, violence prevention. And so I knew, overall that was kind of where I wanted to go in terms of kind of social justice and transformative change. And it took me a while to get to a place where I decided not only to go public with my story, but to really home in on this issue. And currently, because I just remember thinking like, okay, someone's gonna come along, and is gonna do this.... just wasn't happening, you know, and I just felt like I want to be courageous. And I think, you know, I know a lot of your listeners, you know, tune in because they want to create change and a lot of times that means having a lot of courage to talk about things that are tough and uncomfortable and, you know, shed light on things that people don't want to look at. And I, I've realised that that is really where my passion lies. But it did take me a little bit to get to this place. Yeah.


Alberto Lidji

Well it's good that you did get to it. Changing social norms, is that one of the most difficult things?


Daniela Ligiero

I think changing social norms is extremely difficult. But one of the things that I'm really convinced of, is that we need to change the systems that are supported by those norms. Whether it's racism, whether it's, you know, sexism, this conspiracy of silence around sexual violence and gender based violence, I feel like changing the norms is not enough. Sometimes we think, oh, we're gonna change norms, and then the systems will change. And I think those things need to go hand in hand. You know, the power of laws. And the systems we live in every day, and interact with are critical. And we've seen when, you know, all of a sudden it is... and this is a really good example, the US just passed a couple months ago, a law around safeguarding in sports. And making sure that within sports, including Olympic and Paralympic sports, there are certain things like background checks for the people that interact with the kids... a way of reporting abuse when it happens, serious investigation, accountability, like we didn't have that. And that's how someone like Larry Nassar, as part of the US, you know, Olympics, gymnastics team was able to abuse 250 girls, over a period of 15 years. Because that didn't exist. And I believe that having that is going to prevent, you know, a lot of kids from being abused in the future. So it's not just about changing the norm. It's also about those systems. Yeah.


Alberto Lidji

Where do you see things going? What does success looks like to you in the next 10 years for Together for Girls and for the field, which dovetails perfectly with the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030?


Daniela Ligiero

Yeah, I mean, we see the work we're doing absolutely is integral to the SDGs. And not just the ones that are specific to this issue, because there are a few. But really, again, as I mentioned, so much data on the interaction between, you know, sexual violence and unintended pregnancy, and, you know, what happens to adolescent girls in terms of their education and economic opportunities, etc. So it really cuts across a lot of the SDGs. And, you know, we are really on a mission to, you know, try to end sexual violence by 2030. And I think, going back to something I said before, you know, we need to continue to build the data and the evidence, that's critical. And we're excited about continuing to do that, in fact, we're now working on using this methodology, like I said, In the US, but also in humanitarian settings, where we haven't worked before. And there's a real dearth of understanding in terms of what's happening there. But also around the political pressure, and kind of movement building that's needed to use the data and evidence we have to change norms and to change systems. And I, I'm, you know, convinced that that time for that moment has come, Me Too, was the beginning of it. And we need to move it beyond just saying, me too, yeah, I experienced that, too. Oh, my God, so many... to like, how do we create those changes and make sure that perpetrators are accountable. And I'm excited about about the future. I think there are a lot of challenges. But I think we're seeing something that's happening not only in one country or another country, I mean, this is... talk about universality of the SDGs... This is one of those issues that every single country in the world is still grappling with. And together, you know, we can learn from each other and we can kind of take a step forward in terms of ending this pandemic.


Alberto Lidji

What's your key takeaway for our audience? What's that key thing you'd love for them to keep in mind after they finish listening to today's episode?


Daniela Ligiero

I think that the main one is this idea I mentioned earlier where it's bad. It doesn't have to be this way. Everyone has a role to play. You know, whether as a parent, having, you know, tough conversations with your kids about these issues I found is really important. Whether it's, as you know, in your community, in your school system in a sports team, and wherever you are like saying, well, you know... have that conversation, what is the policy around safeguarding? What is the issue? You know, do we have something in our schools that protects kids from this kind of experience... to political action at a grand scale. I mean, there really is a lot everyone can do. I encourage you, again, to go to our website, we have resources, you know, for parents, for teachers, for decision makers, that action is critical. And I encourage people to find their courage to take on this issue. And that makes a difference.


Alberto Lidji

Perfect. I think that a very, very good parting thought: finding your courage and taking action. Daniela, thank you so much for joining us on The Do One Better! Podcast today and for, really, your candid insight, and thoughts about the problem and your own personal experiences. Very useful, very enlightening. So thank you and to our listeners, as always, thank you for tuning in, and for and for sharing this podcast with your friends and colleagues. It always makes such a huge difference. You be listening to Daniela Ligiero, who's the Executive Director and the Chief Executive Officer of Together for Girls. Daniela, thank you, really an absolute pleasure speaking with you today and learning from you as well.


Daniela Ligiero

Thanks, Alberto, it's been wonderful.