By Fatoumatta K Jallow
Childfund the Gambia in collaboration with local partners, Thursday 11th October 2018 observed the International Day of Girl.
The theme for this year celebration held at the Brikama Regional Educational Directorate is ‘With Her: A Skilled Girl Force.’
According to authorities, the International Day of the girl marks the beginning of a year-long effort to bring together partners and stakeholders to advocate for, and draw attention and investment to the most pressing needs and opportunities for girls, to attain skills for employability.
Speaking at the ceremony, the country Director of Childfund the Gambia Musu kuta Komma, stated that International Day of the Girl is an opportunity to accelerate efforts towards SDG 8, to increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational, for employability in decent jobs and entrepreneurship.
“Today marks another important day in the annals of Childfund the Gambia, and by extension Childfund International,’’ she said; that the international day of the girl is held each year in October, to raise awareness of the unique challenges girls face, and to promote their empowerment.
“This day allows for a sober and honest reflection by all stakeholders on the plight of girls, celebrate their successes as well as renew efforts to address the many bottlenecks that impede their survival, growth and development,” she said.
According to Komma, it is no secret that girls continue to be confronted by diverse challenges permeated by several factors, including socio-cultural; that for decades, girls in our society have been victims of deep-rooted harmful traditional practices such as FGM and child marriages, compounded by low levels of illiteracy and poverty.
The Deputy Governor of West Coast Region Siaka Jatta, said the day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges of girl’s and to promote their empowerment and fulfillment of their human rights; that the forum avails them the opportunity to remind themselves of the importance of empowering women and girls, especially the adolescents, for the attainment of the SDGs and Vision 2030.
Njundu Drammeh, coordinator of Child Protection Alliance (CPA), emphasized the need for a Ministry responsible for Child affairs in the Gambia, for the implementation of international conventions and treaties as well as to address child issues.
According to Drammeh, the girl child is not given equal treatment like their male counterparts noting that they are found in the car park and markets selling, and at home doing all the domestic chores, before going to School.