Girls have the power to transform their own lives, their families, their communities and the world. As we celebrate the International Girl Child Day. Girls need to take up the space to continue to voice their passions and concerns. We may want to ask ourselves how much milestones have been achieved since the start of the girl child day. In nearly 25 years we have seen more girls move from dreaming to achieving. There is still much need to be done like equipping girls with the power and knowledge
Having been mentoring girls in my local community, despite the so many interventions done like ensuring young women have access to information on issues such as sexual reproductive health rights, its clear girl empowerment is an everyday journey. You will always find some girls who are actually clueless of the issues that surround them and their rights especially when it comes to gender issues. And much more right to make a choice. Despite all this efforts nothing much has changed when it comes to their spaces of work and institutions. Few women representation in leadership position. For instance, only 24% of expert voices in media belong to women.
However, girls are breaking boundaries and barriers posed by stereotypes and exclusion including those directed at children with disabilities and those living in marginalized communities. During our prior international girl child celebration at the Shanzu Girl Guide for the disabled girls, where we distributed pads and facilitated sexual reproductive health, I had a chit chat with one of the participants who said. “As for me I don’t let my disability to be my inability. Here at this center, I have learnt how to cook, make mats and also make beautiful beadworks which we sell in our gift shop.” The girls sounded very optimistic and confident as they expressed their hobbies and skills. Among the organizations that were present include YMCA Mombasa, Alliance Françoise and Her Story She Matters.
Young girls are making it as entrepreneurs, innovators and initiators of global and local movements, girls are creating a world that is relevant for them and future generations. As we advocate the empowerment of girls for better tomorrow and celebrate our progress, let’s work to reinforce girl’s rights to a safe childhood, to decide for themselves, and to education and skills.
WRITTEN BY MARTHA WANZA
YMCA MOMBASA, KENYA VOLUNTEER