Oxfam, Teenagers Advocate Friendly Environment for Girls

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The girl child – Photo credit: Guardian

Oxfam in Nigeria and some teenage girls have advocated a more friendly environment for girls to thrive in Nigeria.

They made the call at the Oxfam in Nigeria’s programme to commemorate the International Day of the Girl-child.

This is part of events to mark the 16 Days of Activism to curb violence against women and girls.

Ms Dolapo Balogun ,a 13-year-old from Champions International School, Magboro ,Ogun, said it was difficult to be a girl.

Balogun, who became the Oxfam IDG 2022 Challenge winner said:  ”A little help from stakeholders around would help in solving the challenges of the girl-child in Nigeria .

She said: “To be honest, it is very tough to be a girl-child ,but now that the world is moving, we have institutions that are helping the girl-child compared to before.

“This has also made girl-child discrimination to reduce although not completely.

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“Some of the challenges girls face include discrimination, lack of respect, marginalisation believing that their only role is to come to the world and give birth ,take care of children and the home.

“So, I want the goverments, NGOs and others to help in creating awareness to people to give superiority to girls to make them feel like they are people in the world, it will actually help to build their self esteem.

”Some people believe that girls aren’t supposed to have ambition. In the olden days, girls did not even go to school.”

Balogun added that some girls too do not believe in themselves and the society’s perception about them has weighed them down.

She said: ”That was why most of the old women around were not educated because only the males went to school during their time.”

The student commended Oxfam in Nigeria for supporting the girl-child and for initiating the IDG Challenge.

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“I was surprised to have won because I felt there were many people too who must have sent their work , so the chance is very slim for me to win,” she said.

Ms Helen Akinyemi, Programme Manager for Gender Justice Unit, Oxfam in Nigeria, said although the IDG was celebrated on Oct.12 annually, Oxfam decided to celebrate it in December.

Akinyemi said OXfam intentionally integrated it into the 16 days of activism for 2022 to keep the discussion alive.

She said: “So, we want to use this opportunity to look at the views, challenges and experiences of every girl-child in Nigeria and beyond.

“We also want to use this opportunity to bring to the world the importance of empowering the girl-child globally.

“It is also to look at the policies, framework, tools and protocols that protect the rights of the girl-child .”

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Akinyemi said that the event was also an opportunity to commend the Federal Government for passing the Child Rights Act.

She said Oxfam also commended the 24 states that had adopted the Child’s Rights Act as well as the 34 states that have adopted the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act.

Aknyemi said that the nationwide IDG competition was to enable girls to talk about their challenges themselves.

She said: ”The announcement for the competition was posted on every social media platform for girls between seven to 17 years old to apply .

“Some of the girls sent in their two minutes recording, telling us what it means to be a girl child in Nigeria and this was sent to our official email created for this challenge and a winner emerged.” (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

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