October 11, has been designated as the International Day of the Girl. Whereas girls ought to be celebrated everyday, this day is set aside to critically think through and come up with solutions that will address the myriad challenges that girls face.
The theme for this year’s celebration is “Empower Girls – Before, During and After Emergencies“.
Females are usually at the receiving end during emergencies. Their health and wellbeing is more at risk. Think about it, females need to maintain higher levels of hygiene. Despite the fact that both males and females could be susceptible to sexual abuse, it is a no brainer that females are at a higher risk.
The African culture has inadvertently programmed females to take the backseat in wealth creation. Whereas, many females make excellent managers, the females are generally groomed to be home makers. As home makers, they undertake a lot of duties that they are not paid for. Females are wired to nurture and it is a very beautiful and honourable thing to raise a family. However, we believe that being a home maker does not hinder one from engaging in other activities that are fulfilling as well as financially rewarding.
At The Healthy African Girl (THAG) foundation, we celebrate womanhood, but we also believe that the female has a wealth of untapped potentials. If these potentials are harnessed, the female and by extension, her family and her community will be better off for it.
Research shows that girls that are out of school start having sex earlier than girls that are in school. Out of school girls are also likely to get married at younger ages than girls that go to school. Furthermore, girls expose themselves to paid sex as a means of subsistence. These practices put the sexual and reproductive health of the girl child at risk. When girls are empowered educationally and otherwise, they are better able to take charge of their health and make healthier choices.
With the foregoing, it is imperative that the girl child needs to be empowered!
WHAT CAN WE DO TO EMPOWER GIRLS?
Lend your voice to this campaign
All hands ought to be on deck to change the narrative that has been interwoven with the psyche of the girl. A girl has all it takes to maximise her potential. Advocate for the rights of the girl. Share the message to everyone you know.
Let us create opportunities for girls; starting from the home front. They are not too young to be exposed to financial literacy, to discover their talents and to involve themselves in personal development activities.
The Healthy African Girl Foundation has been running free leadership, life skills and health education programmes for girls.
If you critically think about it, you will discover that there is something you can do in your sphere of contact to help the girl child.
Perhaps you don’t know where to start, you could contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org for guidance and helpful resources. Start with the people around you – family, friends, neighbours and colleagues. When we all do our bit, our girls and indeed the entire society will be better for it because when you educate a girl, you have educated a community.
Happy International Day of the Girl from all of us at The Healthy African Girl Foundation!