A PRESS STATEMENT BY LADY DORIS ONYENEKE ON THE 2020 INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE GIRL CHILD (IDGC), THE 13TH OCTOBER, 2020

 


Every 11th October, the world celebrates the Girl Child. It is a day to highlight their challenges, evaluate progress made on the struggle to reduce gender discrimination and inequalities and make demands for inclusiveness which will engender positive change. It is a key moment for advocacy with and for the girls.


The Theme for the year’s celebration, My Voice: Our Equal Future, simply encourages the girls to amplify their voices as they desire a better world free from gender based violence, harmful traditional practices, and HIV/AIDS, where she attends and completes her school, chooses when and whom she marries and earns equal pay for equal work.


The Beijing Platform for Action which is the most progressive blue print ever, for advancing the rights of women and girls, calls for a world where every girl realizes her rights. It emphasizes on the mentorship and empowerment of adolescent girls which is central to the development of any nation. 


Our recent research identified a number of challenges that prevent girls from realizing their full potentials. Such challenges are gender inequality, poverty, low education, child labour, child marriage, early pregnancy, etc. The cultural, religious and socio- economic factors that contribute to this problems are multiple and layered. The survey shows that in a number of situations the girl child is unable to access basic needs such as food, clothing and sanitary towels. This makes them vulnerable in their quest for sustainability.


The global pandemic aggravated the already daunting challenges, girls and young women face every day. There have been increased incidences of gender based violence ranging from verbal and emotional abuse, spousal battery, sexual harassment/abuse, rape, defilement and abandonment, forceful ejection, torture and brutality, etc. The causes are traceable to the deeply rooted power inequality, patriarchy, male preference and domination in our society. Covid 19 wreaked unprecedented havoc on the lives of the girl child. Before now, her accessing education and staying in school have been a major challenge, COVID has caused additional and unanticipated disruption, and as such, the likelihood of vulnerable girls being able to continue in their education is plummeted. This caused their spending more time with boys and men resulting into unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions and spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Teen pregnancy is a scourge and a major challenge for social, economic development of any nation. Therefore, the need to increase efforts on how to address this menace that holds back the girl child from maximizing her full potentials. 


As we commemorate the 2020 (IDGC), Mother of Good Counsel Initiative launches her Teen Mothers Project (TMP) for adolescent girls who are victims of teen pregnancy. The goal of this project is to curb the rise of teenage pregnancies in the state and inspire victims to dream again.

The project intends to monitor, train and empower 100 teen mothers and their babies for a better society, free from poverty, illiteracy, child marriage, teen pregnancy, cultism, kidnapping and other social vices. 


To mitigate these challenges MOGCI has rolled out a number of interventions: which include; awareness raising campaigns at grass root levels, capacity building seminars/workshops, skill acquisition for economic empowerment, back to school programs, provision of palliatives and basic needs etc. 


MOGCI therefore calls on stakeholders, philanthropists, corporate organizations, government agencies, learning institutions, charitable organizations, and the media to join/partner with us in empowering the helpless teen mothers to actualize their dreams, become more confident to drive the change that the society needs for a safer world.


Let us empower GIRLS to lead as generation of activists accelerating social change. THEY CAN CHANGE THE WORLD!


Thank You


           

Dr. Lady Doris Nneoma Onyeneke, Anivs

Executive Director

MOGCI/Mater Dei Girls Centre

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