2023 IDGC: Foundation tasks govt. on girls’ rights

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By Justina Auta

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), an NGO, has called on government and stakeholders to create opportunities that advance the rights of the girl-child.

The Head of Nursing, AHF Nigeria, Mrs Christy Awonu, made the call in Abuja on Wednesday in commemoration of the 2023 International Day of the Girl Child (IDGC).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the IDGC, commemorated annually on Oct. 11, focuses on addressing challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and fulfilment of their rights.

The 2023 IDGC AHF theme: “Amplify Her Voice,” is aimed at empowering girls to take control of their lives and health, while urging government to implement policies that create equal opportunities for girls.

Awonu said the event, hosted by AHF in collaboration with the ministry of Women Affairs and Waru Advocacy Club and Girls Act, was to celebrate girls all over the world.

” While highlighting challenges confronting young woman and girls. AHF prioritise girls because they are assets to the society.

” They are girls first before they become mothers and they have great roles to play in the country and the world at large.”

“ Girls are special beings with rights, however they face several challenges such as child trafficking, gender based violence, child marriage, unwanted pregnancy, among others.”

She, therefore, urged government, community leaders and stakeholders to create opportunities for girls to succeed in their desired endeavors.

Mrs Ruth Idode, the Principal Administrative Officer, Child Development Department, Ministry of Women Affairs, said the ministry was aware of the challenges confronting young girls and it was working to end the menace.

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She added that “some of the challenges our young girls face include rape, early marriage, unwanted pregnancy, gender based violence, among others.

“ All these issues are due to lack of education and the ministry is doing a lot to support them in areas of menstrual hygiene, support for less privileged children and distribution of pads.”

Ms Sarah John, the AHF Waru Advocate Club, said the IDGC was crucial in the lives of every girl, especially those in Waru community of the FCT.

John decried several challenges girls in Waru community encounter daily, thereby affecting their future and wellbeing.

She explained that “in Waru community, girls are not educationally inclined; they do not have the right leaders and mentors to guide them through life.

“Some get pregnant at an early age, some are school drop outs and some go into drugs and vices that make them irresponsible.”

She stressed that events toward the celebration of the IDGC would help to enlighten the girls to build their capacity, stand up for themselves, own their lives and be strong.

Miss Peace Akobundu of the Girls Act, AHF Abuja, said the day was set aside by the United Nations to recognise the right of girls.

Akobundu said that the Girls Act, founded by AHF in 2016, was to empower girls in various communities to stay healthy.

“ We educate them on issues of menstrual hygiene, empowering them to make right choices and decisions, issues of unwanted pregnancy, knowing their HIV status to stay healthy and age appropriate comprehensive sexual education.

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“ I am personally a beneficiary of the Girls Act and today, I am computer literate, which has helped me to become better,” she said.

Aliya Mohammed, a 15-year-old school dropout, said every girl-child has an expectation, while calling on government to help provide free education for children.

He said “today is important to us because as a girl child, we understand that we have the right to speak and be educated.

“We have expectations and we want our leaders and government to help us achieve our goals.”

NAN reports that highlights of the day include distribution of free sanitary pads, drama and dance presentation from various government and private schools in the FCT and environs.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu

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