The United Nation General Assembly on December 19th 2011 adopted Resolution 66/170 to declare October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child.
The day is to recognize girls rights and the unique challenges they face around the world and highlights the challenges and opportunities that millions of girls face and the zeal to encourage them to take up power and occupy responsible positions.
The day is also to reflect and remember all girls for their resilience and tenacity in all the challenges that they go through.
As part of the empowerment of the girl, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in Collaboration with Plan Ghana have put together a programme to allow girls in this country to take up very high leadership positions to indicate to everyone that girls can also be leaders.
The girls are Witney Antwi, 12 years from North Legon School; acted as Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection and Mansa Adwedaa, 13 years; Beatrice Botchwey, 14 year; Gerhardtima Lutterodt, 13years; Georgina Chothia, 10 years; all from the Ridge Church School, acted as the First Lady of Ghana, Member of Parliament, a Teacher and a Doctor respectively.
This programme will be done through mentoring of girls, and setting up “Girls, Girls Clubs” in schools to arm them with leadership, communication, advocacy, diplomacy, lobbying and negotiation skills- this is called positive discrimination.
This year’s celebration is under the theme: “Girls Taking Up Leadership Role,” which stresses the empowerment of girls to take up leadership roles, also emphasizes the importance of investing in the girl.
Miss Antwi, the role play Gender Minister who read the substantial Minister’s speech said the Ministry took the responsibility of ensuring gender equality and social protection of children and vulnerable groups in our society very seriously.
She said globally, millions of girls will stand alongside the 5,950,331 girls in Ghana, according to the (2010 Population and Housing Census) to call on governments to make girls rights a global political priority, to encourage girls step forward as leaders and decision makers, and to have their voices heard on the great challenges they faced.
Miss Antwi said Girls around the world lived in total fear of discrimination, stigmatization and violence simply for daring to make their dreams a reality whilst millions more live with no hope of ever realizing their potentials due to poverty and inequality.
She said adolescent girls have the right to be safe, educated, and live healthy lives, devoid of sexual, physical and emotional abuse, to enable them grow up to be very responsible adults and live productive lives.
She said there were many challenges still facing girls in Ghana when they entered adolescent years but there was inadequate investment in addressing these challenges.
“Some of these challenges are child marriages, lack of access to schools, child prostitution, inadequate information and services related to puberty and reproductive health and inability for girls to protect themselves against unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and gender based violence.”
She said in November, this year, the MoGC&SP would launch a programme dubbed: “Operation get off the street, for a better life,” where mapping and profiling of all female porters, street hawkers, beggars will be done and those above 18 years will embark on skills training.
“60 years on, this is the time for the girl child, wherever you come from to aspire to be the future Pharmacist, Lawyer, MP, Minister, Business Woman, Teacher,” she said.
Madam Fadimata Alainchar, Country Director for Plan Ghana said girls were the future and have the right to have their voices heard.
She said Plan Ghana as a global organization believed that the participation of girls were key for any nation to move forward, and that this was the reason why the organization were behind the growth of girls internationally.
Madam Alainchar said Plan Ghana was committing itself for the next five years to have over hundred million girls to live, to decide and strive higher.
She expressed her gratitude to the MoGC&SP which has been part of Plan International in leading this key project to help achieve the set goals.