October 11, has been a day set aside by the United Nations (UN) as International Day of the Girl Child all the over the world. This international observance day was declared on 11th October, 2012, which was actually the first Day of the Girl Child. The objective is in recognition of girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.
To this end, CODE Abuja has decided to join the rest of the world to honour Nigerian girl child. The event coordinated by Miss Ojonwa Miachi, Policy and Advocacy Adviser for CODE, hosted scores of adolescent Nigerian girls at CODE Secretariat, Abuja.
Activities of the event include interactive sessions amongst the participants, storytelling: inspiring story of Chimamanda Adichie, Award Nigerian Female Author; Malala, the Pakistani girl and other successful female celebrities plus capacity building. We must look at the opportunities; initiatives such as education and capacity building; the global movement to end child marriage; provide to empower adolescent girls and we must ensure that they are protected from societal abuse and rape said Ojonwa Miachi.
She stressed further that violence against girl child, is so prevalent in Africa and the society we find ourselves is to blame for that. It has made women as second class citizens in other words, they are not to be heard thereby suppressing the voice of African women. Relating the inspiring story of Malala, a 17 year old pakistan girl, who was shot while advocating for girl child education, to the girls, she said, no matter how young you are as a girl, you can still make an impact”.
Ms Queesley Ajuyakpe, a Gender Advocate and Programme Assistant of Women Environment Programme (WEP), an NGO based in Abuja, spoke to young girls during capacity building session at the event, she shared an inspiring stories of her growing years in the Northern part of the country, amidst crisis and various form of violence against women. She narrated how her early experiences and encounters has compelled her to choose a career in the development sector so as to become a source inspiration to other women like her. “As a young woman, you must be able to assert yourself, have a vision and work very hard towards achieving your vision” she affirmed.
Ms Christy Makut, a Cool Fm/NigerianInfo Radio Presenter/OAP was another a resource person who spoke at the event. She shared her success story as a Nigerian child who loved to read since her childhood days. “I never knew I would end up a Radio presenter because Economics was my first discipline at the university of Abuja. I was a very inquisitive and talkative young girl and I had wanted to become an air hostess, seeing my father an Air force officer/Pilot, flying aircraft inspired me but that changed in the course of time” she explained. She encouraged younger girls to always dream big and aspire to be great in their future endeavours.
Auwa Ali, a Journalist from Voice of Nigeria was there to inspire the girls on how to choose career they love so as to become a successful in life.
To end this, I would like to use this medium to remember 180 chibok school girls who had been kidnapped for over 3 months. My heart aches that these kids have been deprived of their future and rights to education against their wishes. I do hope and still believe that God will safely bring them back to us.
Happy International Day of the Girl Child!