Kerr Fatou Online Media House
with focus on the Gambia and African News. Gambia Press Union 2021 TV Platform OF The Year

UNICEF Gambia Statement On International Day Of The Girl

0 35
Gordon Jonathan Lewis
UNICEF Representative to The Gambia

A decade ago, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to declare October 11th as the International Day of the Girl Child, to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world. 

Since this landmark decision was taken, there has been increased attention on issues that matter to girls amongst governments, policymakers and thegeneral public, and more opportunities for girls tohave their voices heard on the global stage. 

However, investments in girls’ rights remain limited and girls continue to be confronted by a myriad ofchallenges to fulfil their potential, a situation made worse by concurrent crisis of climate change,COVID-19, humanitarian conflicts and economic stagnation. 

Girls around the world continue to face unprecedented challenges to their education, their physical and mental wellness, and the protections needed for a life without violence, aggravating existing burdens on girls around the world and wearing away important gains made over the last decade.

In The Gambia, girls continue to experience female genital mutilation, early marriage, teenage pregnancy, child labour, low literacy and numeracy levels. These challenges are more pronounced among girls in rural areas in the country. 

Some of the findings from the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) 2018, confirm that:

•           34 per cent of women (20-49 years old) were married before the age of 18 years.  

•           25 per cent of girls in the country are involved in child labour, with higher proportion in the rural areas.

•           51 per cent of girls between ages 0 and 14 years have experienced female genital mutilation.

•           29 per cent of senior secondary school age girls do not complete their education according to the Education Management Information System Report of 2022.

However, the picture is not all gloomy, as much progress has been made for, by and with girls in The Gambia. The Government of The Gambia in 2019 created the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare mandated to develop and implement programmes for girls, in close collaboration with other sectors. 

Also, there has been an increase in civil society organisations led by girls and championing girls’ rights and participation in socio-economic programmes. More safe spaces and opportunities have been created for girls’ voices to be heard. Currently, 52 per cent of U-Reporters in The Gambia are girls and engage actively on the mobile phone platform. 

“This is very encouraging and is a strong indication that if the right investments are made for girls, girls can and will thrive and achieve their full potential,” said UNICEF Representative, Gordon Jonathan Lewis. 

UNICEF will continue to work with government, civil society organisations, non-governmental organisations, private sector, academia, and philanthropy groups to offer diverse and holistic programmes for children, especially for girls. 

On this occasion of the 10th anniversary of the International Day of the Girl, UNICEF calls on all stakeholders, from government to civil society, and from community-based organizations to the private sector, to pay greater attention, increase investment, and promote action to:

·       Allow girls to lead by putting them in the forefront of change efforts, hearing their voices, responding to their asks, andwelcoming them in decision-makingspaces.

·       Safeguard and commit more resources for girls, including the networks and organizations that support their education and prioritize their mental and physical well-being.

·       Strengthen services for girls at alltimes, but especially in crisis response and recovery.

Source: UNICEF, BANJUL, 11 October 2022

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.