NGOs celebrate International Day of Girl Child by enlightening students
Two Non-governmental Associations (NGO), Karis & Eleos Hand of Hope and You Matter To Us have joined others across the world on this year’s commemoration of the International Day of the Girl Child with an enlightenment programme for secondary school girls in Lagos.
The venue was Yaba Baptist Church Hall.
Various speakers, who spoke at the event, which had over 500 students from Yaba and its environment present, charged them “to set goals, be focused, be willing to learn and unlearn to fulfil their dreams in life.”
The theme for this year’s theme is “Our Time Is Now – Our Rights, Our Future”.
The Keynote Speaker, Chidi Koldsweat, an international development professional, who spoke on the topic: “Now is change”, noted that it is now evident that the contribution of the girl child to society-building is invaluable, and it is evident across all major spheres, including sports, entertainment, media, business and even much more. And so, any girl who wants to make a change must decide what she wants to do, lead herself and be ready to use her voice.
According to her, they must be able to speak up against what is wrong, raise their hands for projects and be ready to serve others.
“In the place of service, you discover and know more about yourself, and opportunities may open up for you,” she said.
Koldsweat also charged the girls to seek knowledge beyond the four walls of school by learning a skill, as education has evolved.
Also addressing the girls, Eniola Adefioye, Founder and Executive Director of Tributary Initiative for Learning (TRIL), who spoke on the topic: “The purpose-driven girl”, charged them on the need to have their own dreams, and work hard, to make an impact in life.
“A purpose-driven girl is intentional, focused and driven by what she believes she wants to become. Have your own dreams, protect them, challenge yourself, work hard and be ready to be vast in knowledge,” she said.
Titilayo Falaiye, CEO/Founder of Orange Strategic Waste Value, a waste recycling firm, also charged the girls with not allowing their gender to limit them by breaking the bias, and boundaries and changing the narrative.
“Whatever picture is painted on your mind, the universe has a way of bringing it to pass, so paint a good picture of what you want to be. Don’t allow your gender to limit you. Stand out, break the bias, break boundaries and change the narrative. Stand out even in a male-domineering field and be fearless,” Falaiye said.
Speaking on the topic: “Refining the girl child”, Omowunmi Akinnifessi, former Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (MBGN), now a corporate brand strategy consultant, elaborated on the must-have qualities of a refined lady.
According to her, a refined girl or lady must be able to identify herself, know and embrace her uniqueness, be a positive influencer, be willing to take up leadership roles, and always present herself well at all times. Not forgetting the need to imbibe good morals and manners.
“A refined lady also needs to know how to host visitors; do fine dining; how to speak, sit properly, speak, and eat certain kinds of food,” she added.
On her part, Bosede Ogidan, Head of Alumni Development at Teach For Nigeria, educated the girls on menstrual hygiene, and their nutritional needs, harped on neatness during and after their monthly period, while also teaching on the appropriate sanitary pad placement.
Speaking on why the programme was organised, Bukola Bamiduro, Founder/CEO of Karis & Eleos Foundation said, it’s a day to identify the girl child as a catalyst in society and not a girl bride. It is to educate and enlighten the girl-child on how powerful she can be and also to let them know that they can be more, irrespective of their background and what society is throwing at them.
For Omolara Ajetunmobi, whose organisation, You Matter To Us Foundation partnered to host the event, the programme was organised to let the girls know that their dreams are valid, it’s their time and whatever they want to be, they can be. All they have to do is be focused, work to bring their dreams to fulfilment, be bold, courageous, be determined and see beyond what society is throwing at them.
To help the girls achieve this, she noted that all hands must be on deck, government and non-governmental organisations inclusive.
“Government cannot do it alone. We have a lot of NGOs working at the grassroots level in different areas. If we all contribute our little quota, we will achieve more.”
The International Day of the Girl Child is observed on October 11 every year. This year commemorates the 10th anniversary of the event.
The day focuses attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfilment of their rights.