To commemorate the 2021 International Day of the Girl Child, the Embassy of Sweden, in partnership with PLAN International and TechHerNG on Wednesday, have called for the protection of women and girls online.
The event was organised by “Girl Take Over at the Embassy of Sweden in Nigeria.”
In his remarks, the Policy, Research and Influencing Manager for PLAN International Nigeria, Tunde Aremu, hailed Sweden’s efforts to partner with PLAN and other stakeholders to uphold girls’ rights online.
He also lauded the Ambassador’s efforts to collaborate on defending the rights of the girl child, especially during the #FreeToBeOnline campaign.
At the event, Ambassador Gräns decried the alarming levels of intimidation and bullying girls face online.
He stated that “This issue is a global problem that requires urgent attention. The shaming of and harassment of girls online needs to be addressed immediately.”
The “Ambassador of the Day” Mercy was given a tour of the Embassy. In her conversation with Ambassador Gräns, she called on the Nigerian government to increase its investment in digital literacy for women and girls.
She also spoke of her sadness at realising other girls were denied access to digital literacy and, much worse, other fundamental human rights. She called for much more deliberate efforts to equip girls and children with the digital literacy skills to navigate false information online and prevent its spread.
TechHer’s Gloria Simon equally extolled the Sweden’s investment in girls and Plan’s continued partnership both with the Swedish Embassy in Nigeria, and TechHer.
“We are always pleased to see efforts that reduce the gaps in access to technology and leadership for girls in Nigeria,” she said. “We are pleased to see that efforts are being stepped up to reduce the gaps in access to tech and similar opportunities between boys and girls in Nigeria,” she added.
The 2019 honorary Ambassador Joy-Life Alegbemi was also in attendance. She expressed gratitude to the Swedish Embassy and PLAN International for the opportunity and called for more effort to protect the rights of women and girls.
The International Day of the Girl Child is an annual day set aside to promote the fulfilment of girls’ rights, empower them, and draw attention to the challenges they face.
Meanwhile, the event hosted a 15-year old female student of OakBridge Foundation School, Mercy Chrimon, who spent the day accompanying the Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria, Carl Michael Gräns. Selected as one of the students from TechHer’s School Tour Network, she spent the day chaperoned by her school principal Angela Ejeme and discussed the girl child’s needs and ways to improve the digital rights of women and girls in the country.