GIRLS and women make up half the population of every country, yet this group of people are being marginalized and discriminated against in the society. The situation is not different in the school system and in the community, as the girls face a lot of challenges such as sexual abuse, male child preference, among others.
WiLDAF saw a need and celebrated the International Day of a Girl Child this year distinctively as it provided a platform for girls to express themselves, acquire new knowledge, share their problems and find common solution.
The platform of the Girls’ Club is equally meant to create a space for girls to learn, share and interact, so as to improve academically and contribute to the society.
Also the girls club will provide a secure and safe environment for girls to socialize and enhance their educational achievement. Apart from that the clubs will empower girls concerning their rights and how to demand for them, build the confidence of girls to enhance their participation in school and societal activities and speak against physical and emotional harm. In addition to that it will create consciousness among girls on gender and gender related issues. Thus contribute to build a grooming ground for leaders of tomorrow.
The International Day of a Girl Child was attended by teachers and students from Turiani and Tandika secondary schools. The total number of participants was 114 that included 67 females and 47 males.
The national coordinator of WiLDAF, Dr. Judith Odunga welcomed the participants, by acknowledging the support from the embassy of Ireland which made it possible for WiLDAF to commemorate the day. She added that the day was so special to reflect issues concerning the Girl Child.
She further stated that on December 19, 2011, United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 to declare October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child, to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world. Research has shown that girls, experience inequality in every aspect of their lives. They face neglect and devaluation around the world. The day of the Girl Child is a response to an urgent problem that girls are facing in the world.
Further Dr. Odunga explained why WiLDAF exclusively decided to celebrate with teachers and students this year. She stated that during the IDGC of 2015 among the challenges that children raised recursively were about the avenue to speak their problems, thus this year (WiLDAF), had introduced an empowerment club for girls to discuss their adolescent issues and prevent violence against them.
She added that he Mawio Clubs seeks to empower school girls with knowledge on Children’s rights, Domestic Violence, Gender Based Violence, peer counseling and human autonomy with focus on sexual abuses. Also, the clubs act as an avenue to empower girls and build their confidence to speak out about the challenges and other issues of education they are facing, learn, share and interact in and out of school, promoting volunteerism, building self-esteem, improving security skills, guiding school age girls in their day to day social interaction and teaching life skills essential for survival.
The national Coordinator of WiLDAF, she further said “sexual abuse and violence are increasing while abuses of children including defilement cases and child marriages had dominated the media over the years.”
The club would therefore facilitate students to speak out their problems, run-discussions on adolescent and sexual reproductive health, gender and related issues including relationships, life and leadership skills to help them fight against gender based violence at schools and communities; which eventually would contribute to improve their academic school performances.
She added that matters concerning girls should not be overlooked and requested teachers to come up with new ideas to help train their students especially the girl- child, encourage their participation and be given equal opportunities to enable them to get standard level of education, just like boys.
She further urged teachers to continue to support girls to achieve their dreams by giving them proper education, encouragement and allows the club to impact their lives positively. She final encouraged teachers that despite the challenges and hardships they face, they should continue help the children most, especially girls as the mothers of tomorrow. She raised a concern that if you educate a girl now, you empower a woman and you’ll make a better Nation.