Viewpoint: International Day of the Girl-Child
By Faith Awa Maji
October 11 every year is celebrated as International Day of the Girl-Child. The theme for the 2023 edition is, “Invest in Girls’ Rights: Our Leadership and Wellbeing. FMBlog collated views of some women journalists on the occasion.
Hannatu Mohammed, Katsina State Chairperson, Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ): “A girl-child is the backbone of every society. Educating a girl-child is educating the whole world. They should be loved and cherished because they are the future. I honour and celebrate the remarkable qualities possessed by the girl- child worldwide. As we join in this global celebration, Nigerians should recognize the girl-child’s fortitude, unwavering determination and resilience. Let’s empower, educate, and uplift every girl, ensuring they have the tools to create a brighter future. Happy International Day for the Girl-Child! Girls are like the stars, they bring light, grace, and beauty into the world. Shine on young stars and know that your light can change the world.”
Hafsat Sani Usman, Kano NAWOJ Chairperson, “empower girls for a brighter tomorrow because without her there is no tomorrow This a day of embrace to the girl child. It tell her, she is unique and reminds her of who she is. The girl child deserve all the fundamental human right regardless of her race, religion and status.
“As the world commemorate the international Girl child Day, the zeal, passion and enthusiasm keep arising as the Society value her impact in all endeavors. However,this is the best privilege for the Girl child in unreported environment for freedom and liberty for her to purse her Dream as a Girl child around the Globe”.
Fatima Aliyu, NAWOJ, Kaduna Chairperson, “celebrating the day of a girl child is very important because they are talented, obedient, hardworking, and responsible for family and their life. Girls are more caring and loving towards their parents and family, they give their best in every work. Girls are denied access to Educational opportunity, food and Nutrition. So girls need to be celebrated”.
Hauwa lbrahim Ladan, Jigawa NAWOJ Chairperson “I urge everyone to move beyond reaffirming commitments and invest boldly in the action needed to make changes that could empower girls, because if supported, they have the potential to become the empowered girls of today’s and tomorrow’s workers, mothers, entrepreneurs, mentors, household heads, and political leaders.
“Talking about the importance of boosting fairer opportunities for girls and amplifying their voices, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres said, “Women and girls can lead us to a fairer future…let us amplify girls’ voices, and recommit to working together to build a world where every girl can lead and thrive. Happy international Day of the Girl Child.”
Hadiza Umar Lamido, NAWOJ Chairperson, Nasarawa State: “As we celebrate the Day of the Girl- Child, I want to call on all to continue to support girls, help them break limitations by giving them opportunities to breaking all barriers that hinder them from thriving. Girls are special being and need to be well guided in other for them to strive. I am sure when we invest in the girl-child we will surely be proud of them.”
Grace Amirikpa, Journalist, Nasarawa State: “The girl-child is strong. she is intelligent. She is hardworking, diligent, determined and a problem- solver. Her qualities cannot be overemphasized in the family, community and the country. Despite the increasing challenges and marginalization, she sits at the top and holds a strong value. The girl-child in Nigeria constitutes a huge number of our population. Sadly, girls, especially in Nigeria, are exposed to different issues, one of which is caused by Climate Change. In fact, Climate Change events or Climate Change crises have deprived the girl-child of their rights, ranging from their rights to basic health care, education, a safe environment, clean water, thus hindering them from reaching their full potential. This situation has worsened over time as girls in parts of the country have been denied the right to education due to climate crises like flooding and insecurity occasioned by insurgency and banditry, contributing significantly to early marriage, street hawking, and dropout from schools. More disturbing is the deplorable living conditions of some Nigerian girls in internally displaced camps who have poor access to water, sanitation, hygiene and reproductive health care services, leading to unplanned pregnancies, unsafe abortions, STDs and other health-related problems. It is the International Day for the Girl- Child, a day set aside to celebrate the girl-child all over the world. As the world celebrates this year’s International Day of the Girl- Child, all hands must be on deck in ensuring the girl-child’s rights are well protected and promoted.”
The Child’s Rights Act
The day calls for collective action towards protecting and respecting the rights of the girl- child as enshrined in the Child’s Rights Act and other instruments of law as well as ensuring anyone that violates such laws are dealt with accordingly.
The theme equally demands that the girl child be allowed to participate and lead in decision-making, especially on issues that affect their well-being.
As the World celebrate the 2023 International Day of the Girl- Child, the women call on governments at all levels, non-governmental organizations and the private sector to invest in and support girls’ health needs, to create a conducive environment for the girl-child to actualize her potentials, also to involve the girls who are most affected by climate change today to get involved in designing and implementing climate response actions to ensure the equal sharing of benefits.