For the Family For Every Child alliance, April is the month of the Blue Umbrella, with Blue Umbrella Day (BUD) happening right in the middle of the month on 16 April. Mark your calendar and follow along for all of April!
Blue Umbrella Day is an international day that raises awareness of how to better care for boys and protect them from violence. The Blue Umbrella Day campaign grew out of the Caring for Boys research conducted in 2019. This year, 22 members of the Family for Every Child global alliance from 20 countries are coordinating BUD events in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean, as well as online via our global platform for practitioners called Changemakers for Children.
Now in its third year, BUD has already reached thousands of children, NGOs and policymakers; influenced government agencies and generated awareness; and facilitated dialogues around prevention of sexual violence against boys. In 2022, 16 members from 15 countries participated in the campaign and reached more than 5,000 people directly and more than 75,000 were reached through social media.
There is still a long way to go to better protect boys from sexual violence – and it starts with changing attitudes. Boys need protection too, with the BUD campaign challenging harmful social norms that can leave boys feeling uncared for and ashamed to reach out for help.
This year, join the global movement to better protect boys this Blue Umbrella Day and help us to:
- Draw attention to every child’s need for adult care – regardless of their gender. For too long, society has pressured boys to be brave, strong and independent; and given them more freedom than girls as a result.
- Remind the world that boys can be victims of harm too. If we don’t give boys enough protection, we put them at risk of harm. .
- Fight harmful stereotypes of what it means to be ‘a real man’ – because no boy should be ashamed to ask for help. Being a ‘real man’ means being kind to yourself and others. Too much emphasis on telling boys to be brave can make them feel embarrassed to come forward when they need adult help. This can lead to increased risk of sexual abuse, exploitation or harmful sexual behaviours.
- Raise awareness of the need to protecting children online. All children can be at risk of online sexual abuse or exploitation, including boys.
- Advocate for support services that are inclusive for boys too. There is a deficit of specialised services for boys affected by sexual violence.
Learn more about how to get involved, including opportunities to attend local events, be part of a global community of practice, or access resources to share BUD with your networks over on Changemakers for Children here.
Blue Umbrella Day is one of our biggest initiatives here at Family for Every Child – we’re an alliance of locally-grown organisations working in our communities to improve the lives of children and families around the world. Blue Umbrella Day is part of a wider programme of work that tackles sexual violence affecting boys, including regional research on Caring for Boys Affected by Sexual Violence. We are committed to increasing the global focus on this under-supported issue, promoting the rights of both boys and girls, so that all children can live in a world free from sexual violence.