Every year on October 11, the International Day of the Girl Child is celebrated to amplify their voices and standup for their rights. This is done to break boundaries and barriers posed by stereotypes and exclusion of the Girl Child, even those with disabilities and those living in marginalized communities.
This year, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Bayelsa State gathered students from various schools in Yenagoa to celebrate the Girl Child Day.
They processed with a match with their different banners and placards from Peace Park at Onopa, Yenagoa to the Women Affairs Secretariat.
At the Women Affairs secretariat, they were received by the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Martha Jenakumo and the Director General (DG) of the Girl Child, Bayelsa State Chapter, Pulu Zifawei. The NGOs presented the Girl Child Agenda to them to make it a working document.
Commissioner for Women Affairs who was represented by the Director, Human Resources, Gordon Macaulay Ebi, thanked the various NGOs and urged the students to take education seriously so they can become great in life, adding that the government takes the Girl Child seriously and that is why it has built female boarding schools in the state. Similarly, the DG, Girl Child Bayelsa thanked the NGOs for presenting the Girl Child Agenda and promised to look into the document and improve on ways to take the Girl Child to a level that they would be empowered and impact positively in the society.
Founder of Do Foundation NGO, Barr. Dise Sheila Ogbise-Erhisere who presented the Girl Child Agenda to the Commissioner of Women Affairs said the agenda represents what the Girl Child wants and expects it to be a working document as it bothers on issues affecting the Girl Child, stressing that it is the voice of the Girl Child. On her part, Chairperson, Nigeria Association of Women Journalists, Maria Olodia Osumah while presenting the Girl Child Agenda to the DG, Girl Child Bayelsa stated that the Girl Agenda are requests and desires of the Girl Child to achieving a better tomorrow, stressing that there is need to say no to violence of the Girl Child, say no to non-inclusion of women in politics and other socio vices.
In the same vein, President, Medical Women Association of Nigeria, Veronica Diriyain emphasized that the Girl Child is important to the Nation and the best way to empower the Girl Child is to give them education. While urging them to speak out, she encouraged them to run to their office if faced with any health challenge.
Goldcoast Developmental Foundation Programme Coordinator, Chinwe Okoli advised the students to aspire to be great in life and go for what they believe would make them great in the society. She equally called for the need to say no to early child marriage, child abuse and all forms of discriminations against the Girl Child. NGOs in attendance are, Goldcoast Developmental Foundation, Do Foundation, Medical Women Association of Nigeria, Nigeria Association of Women Journalists, Evolve Foundation, Starz Safety Initiative, Face Initiative, Girls’ Guild Association and the Federation of Muslim Women’s Association. Also, students from Future Leaders Comprehensive College and Women’s Affairs Secondary School were in their colourful uniforms to celebrate the Girl Child Day.