BY PATIENCE IVIE IHEJIRIKA, Abuja
To mark this year’s International Day of the Girl Child, the Well-being Foundation Africa (WBFA), has launched its 17-Women, Girl, Gender Development Targets (WGGDT).
Since 2012, October 11 every year has been set aside to create awareness for the rights of the Girl Child. This year’s theme: “My voice, our equal future” aims to reimagine a better world inspired and led by adolescent girls to ensure equality across all sectors.
The WBFA, in line with its mission to advocate for gender equality, has renewed its passionate commitment to the rights of women and the girl child, as evident in its WGGDT, informed by the Girl Declaration launched in 2013.
Speaking on the launch of the WGGDT, recently, Devex Global ‘health-for-all’ champion and President-Founder of WBFA, Toyin Saraki, said “Women must take part in creating policies and legislation that reflect the society they want to live in.”
Also, Vice President of the Foundation and 2nd Vice President of the Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria (APHPN), Dr. Alero Roberts, noted that the world starves itself of great potentials when it fails to achieve gender equality. “If we cannot achieve gender equality, we starve the world of great potentials” she said.
According to a statement issued by the Foundation, the 17 Targets are: “Planning and designing with women and girls in mind, making women and girls visible, making them count and giving women and girls a fair share of the money spent to fix things because they give more back. Think of women and girls now, because now is when they need us most; and now is when it will make the most difference.
“Not forgetting women and girls that are poor, distant, or too silenced. Not holding women and girls back; advocating for fair laws; drawing on demographic diversity to drive economic growth and achieve sustainable development.
Ensuring that all women and girls living with disabilities have the right to social, cultural and economic benefits including the right to protection, healthcare, appropriate facilities, education and vocational training and employment.
“Advocating for the rights of women and girls to live in dignity, free from all forms of intimation and gender-based violence, protecting the sexual and reproductive health and rights of all women and girls, challenging harmful gender stereotypes and norms. Advocating for the right of every woman to leadership and political participation.
“Institute equal pay, affordable child care, and paid parental leave. Stand up for women and gender equality across the world every day; ensuring that every woman and girl has a fundamental human right to access safe, clean water, sanitation, and hygiene (wash) in homes, schools, health facilities and public spaces. Every child has a right to be registered at birth and the right to individual identity.”
Meanwhile, the WBFA has also launched the extended version of its Adolescent PSHE WASH Programme to reach vulnerable out of school girls between the ages of six to 19.
The extended programme, WBFA Community-Based Adolescent Programme (CoBA) is targeted at empowering the girl child and helping her deal with challenges in the society that can hamper her development.
“It is our view that with 13.2 million out of school children in Nigeria and 62% of them being girls, if we cannot reach the girl child who is out of school through our Adolescent PSHE WASH, we can reach her through our Community-Based Adolescent Programme.
“Our focus extends beyond the teen years of the girl child as we have primmed our Mamacare360 Programme to ensure good health for the girl and her children when she reaches child-bearing age,” the statement explained.
It concluded by recognising that there was still a lot to do for the girl child, and that sincere approach was needed to curb existing threats to gender equality.