As part of the activities, to mark the International Day of the Girl Child, A coalition of bodies such as the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Rivers state chapter, Medical Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN),Rivers State chapter, Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) have held a sensitization walk around the city to enlighten the populace on the importance and benefits of empowering a girl child.
Speaking to news reporters, Mrs. Omorede Rhoda, the executive director of Care and Development Center, a health based non governmental organization, stated that the girl child is faced with more challenges than the male counterpart, here in Africa. She said that, the girl child is more vulnerable and stigmatized, so she stressed the need for the society to empower a girl child, both in formal education and in skill acquisition.
Adding, Mrs. Omerede, stressed on the need for female cervical screening/ vaccination to check cervical cancer,sexually transmitted diseases and immunization of children, especially the girl child should be carried out often in order to protect the girl-child.She also condemned individuals and communities that are still practicing female genital mutilation, also known as female circumcision.
She however used the medium to appeal to government to enhance policies that will favor the girl child, and to also create an enabling environment for the girl child to thrive.
On her part, Dr. Betty Agalla, the President elect, Medical Women Association of Nigeria, Rivers State branch,stated that in the cause of her profession as a medical practitioner, she has encountered women and younger girls who are ignorant of their reproductive rights and health.
Dr. Agalla, stressed on the need for the education/ skill acquisition and empowerment of the girl-child so as to properly equip her to make proper and intelligent decision.
She also said that the girl child should be pampered and catered for to prevent her from taking coarse decision or getting involved in illicit sex because if the girl child is empowered, she will be able to stand tall, lead and dominate anywhere she finds herself.
Also, Mrs. Lilian Okonkwo, the chairperson of Nigerian Women Journalist, Rivers State branch, said that, the girl child awareness campaign is to eliminate issues that are hindering the girl child, like early marriage, her right to quality education adding that, if a girl child, is empowered economically, the society and nation is empowered.
In addition, Mrs. Nnena Igbokwe, the Rivers State Secretary of International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), said, the girl child should not just be relegated to the kitchen or background, but that a girl child should be properly educated and also be trained in a choice skill, in order to empower her
She called on the state/federal government to adopt laws to protect women against violence,adding that if passed to law, will benefit the society at large.
The theme for this year’s International day of the girl child is:With Her: A Skilled girl force.