Lagos – Education is important for everyone, but it is especially significant for girls and women. This is true, not only because education is an entry point to other opportunities, but also because the educational achievements of women will have ripple effects within the family and across generations. Investing in girls’ education is one of the most effective ways to reduce poverty; it is a means of empowering them with knowledge, skills and self-confidence necessary for them to participate in the development process at all levels in the society. Apart from their active participation in developmental issues, educated women can recognize the importance of health care and seek it for themselves and their children. Education helps girls and women to know their rights and to gain confidence to claim them.
However, women’s literacy rates are significantly lower than men’s in most developing countries. In 2010, UNICEF reported that 40% of Nigerian children aged 6 – 11 did not attend primary school. In the North particularly, the gender gap remains wide and the proportion of girls to boys in school ranges from 1:2 to 1:3 in some States. Some of the reasons for these gender bias statistics include child labour, economic hardship, and early marriage for girls amongst others.
In December 2011, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) designated October 11 of every year as the International Day of the Girl Child. In creating a day to celebrate and acknowledge girls, the UN puts its weight and influence behind global efforts to raise awareness of girls’ rights and shine a spotlight on areas where those rights are consistently violated. The observation supports more opportunity for girls, and increases awareness of gender inequality faced by girls worldwide. This inequality are found in areas such as access to education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care, protection from discrimination, violence and child marriage.
On 11th October, 2012, HACEY hosted an event in Nigeria to commemorate the 1st Annual International Day of the Girl Child, held at the University of Lagos, Nigeria. The event hosted 1200 participants and focused on the challenges faced by the girl child, and on protecting the rights of the girl child to education, health and life. During the event, The Hands UP for HER campaign was launched with the goal of promoting the Health, Empowerment and Rights of the girl child in Africa. Presently, the campaign has focal points in 24 African countries and 15 representatives in 10 states in Nigeria.
This year, Unite Nations has declared that ‘Innovation for Education’ is the theme for the day of the girl and as such, HACEY will be hosting the 2nd Annual International day of the Girl Child, focusing on calling for active participation of everyone in the development of the girl child in our society. Our event will bring together over 2,000 change makers and high profile individuals to discuss the issues that surround the attainment of education for the girl child.
Theme: Education as a catalyst in Promoting the Health, Empowerment and Right of the Girl Child
Date: Thursday, October 10th, 2013
Time: 9am prompt
Venue: Main Auditorium, University of Lagos, AKoka, Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria.
Speakers include Mr Jeffery Hawkins –United States Consul General in Nigeria, Her Excellency Barr Toyin Saraki – former First Lady Kwara state and Executive Director Wellbeing Foundation, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin – Recipient of US International Women of Courage Award and President Women Arise for Change Initiative, Mrs Yemisi Ransome-Kuti – Founder NNNGO and Civil Society Advisor to the World Bank, and Mrs Detoun Ogwo – Executive Director Afterschool Graduate Development Centre.
With this event, we aim to push for increased recognition of the importance of education for the girl child, not just as a right, but as a tool for achieving sustainable development and increasing national economic and social growth. By bringing together decision makers, and change makers to discuss the issue of education as a catalyst to providing a better future for the girl child, we will be proffering viable solutions and addressing challenges that prevent the achievement of equity and equality.
We are celebrating the success we have had, and pushing for more to be done by one and all. We welcome everyone to the International Day of the Girl Child Event.