As the International Day Of The Girl- Child is celebrated the world over, kind hearted Nigerians with love and interest of girl-child rights at heart explore, by looking at the day from perspectives most suitable. Founder, Caleb Danladi Foundation, Capt Caleb Dandladi Bako, is not left out of the numerous writers, viewing the day from the purposes and challenges.
The International Day of the Girl- Child is being celebrated annually every 11th of October. The purpose of the day is to address the challenges the girl-child face and to promote girl-child empowerment and fulfillment of their rights. It was first observed on 11th October 2012 to recognize the importance of empowering and investing in girls following the adopted resolution 66/170 by the United Nations Assembly in December 2011.
The year 2023 marks the 11th anniversary of the International Day of Girl-Child. The last eleven years have seen increased attention on the issues that matter to girls amongst Government agencies, policymakers, human rights activists, and the public. Recent findings from the United Nations show that investment in girls’ rights remains limited, and girls continue to face unprecedented challenges to their education, physical and mental wellness.
Data from the United Nations shows that 1 in 4 girls aged 15-19 globally is not in education, employment, or training, compared to 1 in 10 boys. Empirical findings further reveal that girls are primarily victims of sexual exploitation, while boys are mainly subjected to forced labour.
These figures are evidence of challenges faced by girl-child from families who sees them as liabilities instead of assets to societies who don’t appreciate their abilities and talent because of their gender.
In some societies, many girls continue to be prevented from accessing higher education and are subjected to child marriage and different forms of domestic and sexual violence.
This year’s theme: “Invest in Girls Rights: Our Leadership, Our Well-being” emphasizes girls’ crucial role in shaping the present and future and highlights the need for continued investment in their rights, empowerment, and wellbeing.
The Girl-child are faced with numerous challenges today. This includes gender discrimination, child marriage, cultural and religious limitations, illiteracy, sexual and domestic violence, and lack of access to basic education. These challenges come with lifelong consequences, not just for themselves but for society and future generations.
Child marriage is a global problem that cuts across countries, cultures, religions, and ethnicities. Early child marriage is one of the biggest challenges for the girl child in Nigeria.
According to UNICEF, the rate of child marriage among girls remained high in West Africa (37%), with 44 per cent of girls in Nigeria marrying before attaining the age of 18. The primary reason for such high marriage rates was a lack of access to education, economic opportunity, and health services, poverty, and religious and cultural beliefs.
The practice of marrying young girls puts their lives, well-being, and future at risk. Girls who marry before the age 18 (child marriage) have a higher risk of experiencing domestic violence and a lower chance of continuing their education. They experience worse economic and health challenges than their contemporaries who have not married, and these disadvantages are passed to their children.
Furthermore, child brides are frequently experiencing pregnancy during their teenage age, which is associated with an increased risk of maternal and child mortality.
Girl child education has become a significant issue in most developing countries.
A recent statistic from UNICEF shows that Nigeria has recorded 18.5 million out-of-school children, of which 10 million are girls. Poverty, a lack of understanding, a preference for male offspring, cultural and religious misconception, conflict and crisis, and trafficking are among those factors that are thought to contribute to a large number of out-of-school children.
It is widely agreed that if we invest in girls’ education, we will see improvements in the lives of all girls. In every civilization, education is the single most significant agent of social transformation. The development and well-being of a girl child depend on several factors, including access to advice and counseling, role modeling, parental attitude, educational opportunities, and the environment in which the child explores.
The theme for International Day of the Girl Child 2023 underscores the principle that girls’ rights are human rights. It reminds us that every girl deserves to be treated with dignity, respect, and equality, regardless of her age, background, or circumstances. Girls’ rights encompass a wide range of fundamental freedoms, including the right to education, healthcare, protection from violence, participation in decision-making, and the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Girls are not just the beneficiaries of rights but also leaders in their own right. They possess unique perspectives, talents, and potential that can drive positive change in their communities and beyond. When we invest in girls’ leadership, we are investing in a brighter future for all.
Empowering girls as leaders is not only a matter of gender equality but also a necessity for building a more inclusive, just, and prosperous world. Girls have unique perspectives, talents, and potential that, when harnessed and nurtured, can bring about positive change in their communities and beyond. This essay explores the importance of empowering girls as leaders and outlines key strategies to help them realize their leadership potential.
Caleb Danladi Foundation is committed to the success of girl child. Over the years, the foundation has not overlooked the clear disadvantage the girl child faces in our society. The foundation has tailored programs that help girls’ child fulfill their potential while advocating for equality in education access and good quality of life.
In commemorating the International Day for Girl-child, the Caleb Danladi Foundation will reach out to girls in public schools in selected communities for value reorientation, awareness, and mentorship. The foundation believes that empowering girls as leaders is not just a matter of social justice but an investment in a better future for all.
When girls are given the tools, opportunities, and support they need to lead, they can drive positive change, tackle complex issues, and inspire others to do the same. It is our collective responsibility to recognize and nurture the leadership potential of girls, for they are not just leaders of tomorrow; they are leaders of today, shaping a brighter and more inclusive world for everyone.
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