ChildFund observes Int’l Day of the Girl

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

ChildFund The Gambia in partnership with Ding Ding Yiriwa, Foni Ding Bantaba and SaamaKairo Federations last Thursday celebrated the International Day of the Girl.

The event, held at Regional Education Directorate 2 in Brikama, was held on the theme, With Her: A Skilled Girl Force. International Day of the Girl (IDG) marks the beginning of a year-long effort to bring together partners and stakeholders to advocate for and draw attention to the most pressing needs and opportunities for girls to attain skills for employability.

IDG is also an opportunity to accelerate efforts towards Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8, to ‘increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship.’

Work towards SDG 8 will also contribute to ensuring all girls and women, including those with disabilities, have equal rights to education, and opportunities as called for in SDGs 4 and 5.

Addressing the gathering, ChildFund The Gambia country director Musukuta Komma said the IDG is celebrated to raise awareness of the unique challenges girls face and promote their empowerment. The day, she added, allows for a sober and honest reflection by all stakeholders on the plight of girls, celebrate their successes and renew efforts to address the bottlenecks that impede their survival, growth and development.

“Here in The Gambia, it is no secret that our girls continued to be confronted by diverse challenges infused by several factors, mainly socio-culture. For decades, girls in our society have been victims of deep-rooted harmful traditional practices such as Female Genital Mutilation and child marriage compounded by low levels of illiteracy and poverty,” Mrs. Komma said.

Despite the gains over the years, Komma maintained that girls are still faced with different forms of violence, abuse and exploitation at different levels and in different circumstances. “This is all the more reason why ChildFund through its local partner organizations continue to provide interventions that are geared towards harnessing the God given potentials of the girl child and support them in their educational pursuit while at the same time work with them to create opportunities that promote their wellbeing and general empowerment.” 

She reaffirmed ChildFund The Gambia’s readiness to work with all stakeholders including the government to ensure that every single girl is protected from all forms of abuse, neglect and exploitation.

West Coast Region deputy governor Siaka Jatta said the day is aimed at highlighting the needs and challenges facing girls so as to promote their empowerment in fulfillment of their human rights.  The forum, he added, avails them the opportunity to remind themselves of the importance of empowering women and girls, especially the adolescents in the attainment of the SDGs and Vision 2030.

Njundu Drammeh, coordinator of Child Protection Alliance (CPA) emphasized the need for the establishment of a Ministry of child affairs in The Gambia for the implementation of international conventions and treaties and to address child issues.

According to him, the girl child is not given equal treatment like their male counterparts, saying girls can be found selling everywhere, at car parks and in markets and at home doing all the domestic chores before going to School.

Author: Fatou B. Cham