Every 11th of October we celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child. On this day we empower girls and amplify their voices to creating lasting impacts in our communities. We acknowledge their importance, power and potentials by encouraging the opening of more opportunities for them.
This day we focus our attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights. Every girl has the right to a safe, educated and healthy life not only during critical period of mature years but also as they mature into women. We ought to recognize girls’ rights and to highlights challenges that girls faced around the world. Girls 50 years ago could only think of one thing that they could become, that is a wife and a mother to certain number of children as wanted by their spouse or family. They were even given before a reasoning age to marriage and violated upon every day. Talking when the boys or men are talking or trying to decide for herself were far fetch characteristics. They are bound to cultural beliefs as they are tied to certain rules; whether to be educated or even work, what to study or not, when to marry and to whom, whether or not to have children and how many, whether or not to work as a wife,. On top of these limited rights which infringe girls to certain behaviors, they still face violence in every form just because they are women; the “weaker sex”.
While the pandemic has accelerated digital platforms for learning, earning and connecting billions of people below the age 25 still do not have access to internet. Everyday girls are breaking barriers, tackling issues like child marriage, education, inequality, violence, poverty and inequitable access to healthcare (UN, 2021). Today, no matter where a girl lives, she is at risk of encountering violence either in classroom, home and community. This violence becomes increasingly complex with the rise of technology. However, technology has opened up opportunities for girls to grow their networks, business and learn digital and transferable skills that will prepare them for life work.
To have a better life, girls must be educated, live healthy and given the right to choice. Yet when it comes to decision making girls still face significant barriers to making decision when it comes to sexual and reproductive health. Girls are right holders and equal partners in the fight for gender equality. They represent a tremendous engine for transformational change towards gender. They deserve more full support to successfully transform to adulthood with their rights intact.
The best advocates for girls are girls. Every girl is a powerful agent for change and when they are together to demand action, shape policies and hold governments to account; we can together change our schools, families, communities and nations for the better. As leaders it’s our duty to bridge the generation working with and for girls today to raise their voices and achieve their dreams.
CAWI has worked for 10 years to advocate for girls’ rights, empower marginalized girls and provide educational opportunities for girls especially internally displaced girls. We are aware of the happenings in our country and the fact that millions of girls face discrimination and violence every day. Investing in girls’ education has vast social and economic benefits.
The world is home to more than 50million girls who are poised to become the largest generation of female leaders, change makers and entrepreneurs the world has ev er seen.