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2021 IDGC: Foundation tasks stakeholders on girlchild digital, technological empowerment

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2021 IDGC: Foundation tasks stakeholders on girlchild digital, technological empowerment

By Justina Auta

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) on Monday called on stakeholders to create equal opportunities for girls to strive in the digital world.

Ms. Kemi Gbadamosi, Director of Advocacy Policy and Marketing, AHF-Africa, launched the appeal in Abuja in commemoration of the International Day of the Girl and Child (IDGC) 2021.

Gbadamosi said the event was organized by AHF in collaboration with the Strong Enough Girls Empowerment Initiative (SEGEI) and members of the Girls Act.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the IDGC is commemorated annually on October 11, to celebrate the importance, power and potential of adolescent girls around the world, as set aside by the United Nations.

AHF Theme: ‘Amplify Your Voice’ ‘Fight to Keep Girls Healthy, Help Girls Succeed’, aims to eliminate gender challenges, including violence, discrimination, child marriage and a poor learning environment, among others.

Gbadamosi said the day was set aside not only to celebrate girls, but also to highlight and amplify the challenges girls face in society.

“IDGC Day aims to highlight and amplify girls’ access to opportunities and education, to remind world leaders, communities and government of the need to ensure girls have the same opportunities as boys.

“Girls need to focus on digitization and technology as such will allow them to break down borders and barriers to make a difference in the world.

“When it comes to science, technology, engineering and math, commonly known as STEM, we have very few women and girls in the industry.

“It’s because so many times in schools or homes, girls are told that STEM is for boys and not for girls, and we’ve seen that such a stereotype is wrong.

“We have seen women go into space, we have seen women leading scientific research, it is very important that we focus on digitization.”

Gbadamosi underscored the need to create laws and policies that allow for the protection of girls as well as the need to end practices that consistently discriminate and leave girls behind.

According to her, laws that address gender-based violence, rape issues, social norms or social vices in communities such as child marriage, child labor, which affect girls, should be implemented.

“We want to empower girls to use their voices to demand the change they want to see, because when girls are empowered to be successful, communities and the nation as a whole are also successful,” Gbadamosi added.

Mr Adekunle Balogun-Ashry, Head of Child Development, Ministry of Women’s Affairs, said the ministry is aware of the challenges posed by gender inequality and is therefore working boldly to end the threat.

Balogun-Ashry listed cultural, societal and religious beliefs as the causes of inequality in society, where every male child was seen as better or superior to the girl.

“The ministry is working very hard, we are developing policies that will impact local government on girls’ education and the gender inequalities we face today.

“However, the notion is starting to change with the efforts of the ministry and child-focused NGOs trying to get the message out to the lowest ranks of society,” he said.

Ms Linda Raji, program manager, Strong Enough Girls Empowerment Initiative, an NGO, said the day was important because it aimed to encourage girls to take advantage of technology to live better and fulfilled lives.

Raji said leveraging technology will empower girls to learn to make healthy decisions, stay in school, achieve their ambitions and access the information they need to live safer lives.

She also called on the government and stakeholders to subsidize menstrual products and make them available in schools to encourage girls to stay in school and access products during their period.

“It will go a long way because many girls do not go to school because they cannot afford hygiene products and contract an infection from poor menstrual hygiene,” Raji noted.

Ms. Habibat Olanipekun, a 17-year-old student at Kuje FCT Public High School, mentioned information on menstrual hygiene and a clean sanitary environment as some of the challenges faced by deaf girls.

According to Olanipekun, some deaf girls have been violently discriminated against due to lack of access to information on sexual and reproductive health rights.

However, she called on the government and international organizations to help renovate public schools by providing water, toilets and a sanitary environment for better learning for children with disabilities.

reports that the highlight of the event includes the distribution of free sanitary napkins as well as theater and dance performances from various government students and private schools in the CTF and surrounding areas.

Source: NAN

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