In a bid to heightening the awareness of the rights of the girl child, a one day stakeholders interactive session was held in Benin City.

The session was part of events marking the 2023 International Day of the Girl Child, with the theme: “Our Time is Now: Our Rights, Our Future.

The interactive session was organised by the Society to Heighten Awareness of Women and Children Abuse (SOTHAWACA), Women, Youths and Children Advancement Program (WOYCAP) and Caring Heart Initiative under the auspices of the Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All (CSACEFA).

Speaking, the Initiator, Ronke Ojeikere stated that in today’s dynamic world, the empowerment of the girl child is not just a moral imperative, but a crucial economic and social necessity.

According to Ronke, “Our time is now to ensure that girls everywhere have the opportunity to thrive and reach their full potential. This empowerment begins with recognizing and upholding their rights.

“Girls have the right to quality education, which equips them with knowledge and skills to face a rapidly changing global landscape. We must invest in accessible and gender-sensitive educational systems that foster their intellectual growth.

“Their right to health and well-being is equally essential. Ensuring access to healthcare services, including sexual and reproductive health, can break the cycle of poverty and ill-health that many girls face.”

Ronke further expressed, “Economic empowerment is vital, as girls who have the opportunity to participate in the workforce can contribute significantly to their communities and nations. We must create an inclusive and supportive environment that encourages their involvement in various professions.

“Empowering the girl child also requires addressing social norms and stereotypes that limit their potential. Stakeholders, including governments, civil society, and the media, must actively challenge these norms to create a more equitable society.

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“Our future depends on recognizing that the girl child’s rights are human rights. By investing in their education, health, and economic opportunities, we unlock the potential of half the population, driving progress and prosperity for all. It’s time to make a collective commitment to ensure that the girl child’s empowerment remains at the forefront of our global agenda.”

In attendance to celebrate the international day of the girl child were Management and Staff of Kellex Group of Schools led by the School Director, Mr. Osawaru Kelly.

Stakeholders delved critically on the theme for the International Day of the Girl Child: “Our Time is Now, Our Rights, Our Future”, saying that it underscores the urgency and importance of addressing the rights and empowerment of girls worldwide.

The stakeholders highlighted the challenges facing the girl child as: gender inequality, lack of communication because of being relegated to the bottom, low self esteem, negative peer group, early marriage, gender discrimination, neglect, mindset, broken homes, family values, among others.

Also Speaking, the Executive Director of WOYCAP, Agatha Osieke, Esq., said the day signifies a call to action, highlighting the need to recognize and protect the rights of girls in various aspects such as education, healthcare, and freedom from discrimination and violence.

“The theme emphasized the pivotal role that girls play in shaping the world’s future and encourages societies to invest in their well-being, ensuring that girls have the opportunities, support, and equal footing to achieve their potential and contribute to a more equitable and just world,” Agatha stressed.

On her part, the Caring Heart Executive Director, Grace Obakina opined that women are endowed with great potentials and so, men should learn how to manage the potentials of women.

She added that in the world over, 60% of women are bread winners in their homes.

“I don’t see difference between the male and female, all I see is ability. Give them opportunity to push and express themselves. For the men, stand for the ladies. Men who bully ladies have low self esteem,” Grace remarked.