A Voice for the Girl Child 

A Voice for the Girl Child 

Friday, October 8, 2021 4:27 pm

International Day of the Girl Child

In Nigeria and many third world countries, girls lack opportunities to compete on a level playing field like boys. It is even worse where religion pushes them to the background. Notwithstanding that some of them have access to education and grow to respectable women, their husbands push them to the kitchen or the other room. That is the condition of girls in a patrilineal society.

This is one of the problems that the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) Nigeria wants to solve. It is the largest global AIDS organization that currently provides medical care and/or services to more than1.4 million clients in 45 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, Asia/Pacific and Eastern Europe. So, on Monday, 11 October 2021, the Non-Governmental Organisation will host girls from various schools within Abuja, including girls who are out of schools, and particularly, offer an opportunity to those with special needs to be part of the celebration.

In other words, AHF Nigeria is providing a platform for young girls to freely express themselves on issues paramount to them and to “Amplify Her Voice”. Joined by the Strong Enough Girls Empowerment Initiative (SEGEI) and members of the Girls Act, AHF shall create a fun environment and as well ensure the messages from the girls are loud and clear to all and sundry.

Expected at the occasion are representatives of the Ministries of Women Affairs, Education and Health, the media and AHF Nigeria traditional partners.

According to Dr. Echey Ijezie, AHF Nigeria Country Director: “Young women and girls have been a global priority for AHF for many years, and the pandemic has shown it’s more important than ever to ensure that girls are supported, protected, and have an equal opportunity to achieve their goals,” said Terri Ford, Chief of Global Advocacy and Policy for AHF. “Our country teams organize IDGC festivities to keep girls’ needs in the spotlight while also bringing them together for fun and educational events. Together, we can all ‘Amplify Her Voice’ and make sure girls everywhere are empowered to be the best they can be by staying safe, staying in school, and having the confidence to take charge of their lives and their health.”

‘‘At AHF Nigeria, we are particularly focused on impacting young girls with special needs and, this is responsible for the collaboration we are entering into with the School for the Deaf, Kuje. This collaboration will see us host menstrual hygiene sessions at the school in a form of an academy and will see girls graduate from this menstrual hygiene academy fully equipped to cater to their menstrual hygiene health with free supplies of sanitary pads.’’

According to a statement by AHF, while some countries are recovering from the pandemic, many are still struggling to maintain access to even the most basic services, further threatening the health and success of young women and girls worldwide. On International Day of the Girl Child (IDGC) 2021, it invited Nigerians to AHF Nigeria as “we work to ‘Amplify Her Voice’ by celebrating girls everywhere, fighting to keep them safe and secure, and empowering them to succeed by taking control of their health!”

It is estimated that at least 47 million girls were pushed into poverty by the pandemic. COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns also limit access to health care services and increase girls’ risk for sexual abuse and violence.

Observed annually on October 11, IDGC was first established in 2011 to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges they face worldwide. AHF launched its Girls Act program in 2016 to bring girls together in a safe environment and help give them some essential keys for success – including staying in school, avoiding unplanned pregnancies, and remaining on treatment if HIV positive.

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