In commemoration of the International Day of the Girl-child, a campaign, dubbed: ‘Because I am a Girl’ (‘BIAAG’), to support quality education for girls, was, on Friday, launched in Accra.
The occasion was also used to launch the official Report of the BIAAG campaign―the State of the World’s Girls 2014 Global Report― which is themed ‘Pathways to Power: Creating Sustainable Change for Adolescent Girls’.
The campaign, which runs from 2012 to 2016, is being organised by Plan International, with the objective of increasing the proportion of girls who complete nine years of education and receive a quality learning experience in the world’s poorest countries.
It is expected to support 4,000 marginalised girls to access and complete basic education and or acquire vocational skills by 2016 as well as promote the active participation of 4,000 girls in development through strong social networks and life skills by 2016. In all the campaign will benefit 4 million girls globally.
In an address at the launch, Mrs Justice Avril Lovelace-Johnson, an Appeal Court Judge, stressed the need to prioritise girl-child education and to ensure that a conducive and friendly environment was created for the growth and advancement of the girl-child.
Mrs Justice Lovelace-Johnson noted that until girl-children were given the protection and equal justice they deserved, there was the risk of losing out on attaining stronger and healthier societies.
She urged the judiciary to ensure that the law took its course against the perpetrators of violence against women and girls, and called on all stakeholders to collaborate in ensuring that violence, child marriage and early pregnancies, which militated against the girl-child’s development, were not allowed to prevail and limit their access to education and its benefits.
For her part, the Director of Girls Education Unit (GEU) of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Mrs Catherine Mikado, said education and empowerment were vital tools needed by all girls on their pathway to power and, therefore, the solution to gender-based violence.
Mrs Mikado said any form of abuse on girls was likely to affect their access to quality education and their social and economic empowerment.
She, therefore, called on all girls to report all forms of abuses perpetuated by teachers, boys and guardians against them to the rightful authorities.
Mrs Mikado reminded government of its responsibility to create an enabling environment for, and to ensure that, institutions such as the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVSU), Department of Social Welfare (DSW) and the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) were functional and well-equipped to respond to, and deal with, all forms of gender-based violence in the society.
In his remarks, the country Director of Plan Ghana, Mr Prem Shukla, said the occasion provided the platform for interaction and dialogue on the many challenges preventing girls from being empowered and rising to positions of high responsibilities in society, and how the situation could be reversed through collective action.
Mr Shukla said it was time for all stakeholders to come together to devise tactical strategies to end gender injustice.
According to him, this year’s Report directed its focus on the obstacles encountered by girls in their bid to attain power in order to contribute their quota to the socio-economic transformation of society.
He said the Report concluded that advancing gender justice was essential in bringing about the required institutional and strategic change, and that it was the responsibility of all elements in society to be part of efforts to provide more opportunities for girls and to increase awareness on their inequalities faced by girls in view of their gender.
The International Day of the Girl-child has been set aside by the United Nations for all stakeholders to reflect on the girl-child, the challenges they encounter and how best society can work towards improving their condition and ensuring that they grow up to be useful and productive citizens.
For its part, Plan Ghana has been working for over 14 years through various programmes and interventions to advocate for the education of the girl-child― and the BIIAG campaign is one of such interventions which seeks to draw attention to the various challenges faced by girls and what society can do about it.
Source: ISD (G.D. Zaney)