Alot has happened to the girl child and much is still happening to her. The girl child has suffered shame and every form of dehumanization and so she is always heart broken, devastated and humiliated because less attention is given to her; her pride is taken away and the society presents no or less opportunity to her.
There is need to “SAVE THE GIRL CHILD”, protect her, save her destiny and also make her who she is suppose to be.
Childhood is a process to adulthood, its a natural human stage that is unavoidable in attaining maturity. A child is a person below puberty age or preferably below the age of 18 years.
Children are special, delicate and so, they deserve attention, love and care. Unfortunately, instead of the aforementioned, the society and even the immediate family of these young people (children) gives and shows them the opposite – hatred, abuse, humiliation. To have a better society, children should be loved, embraced with care so that as they replace the older generation, they will in a way brighten the society.
|Model: Deborah Amubwo Samuel|
Who is a girl child?
A girl child is a female child below the age of puberty or adulthood who is still tender and fragile.
If a girl child is young and tender then it means she needs more attention, guidance and care more than anyone.
Its so bad that even in this modern age, the girl child and children in general are maltreated, sold to slavery, humiliated and dehumanized.
- Challenges of a Girl Child:
Early Marriage: Lots of female children are forced into early marriage especially from rural areas. Marriage is not meant for “girls” but for “matured Women” both physically and psychologically. According to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), in developing countries, one in every three girls is married before reaching the age of 18 and one in nine is married under the age of 15. These girls pressured into early marriage often become pregnant as adolescents and face the risks of complications during childbirth and the risk of maternal death.
Early marriage stops victim from achieving educational goals and discovering self. The effect of early marriage on young girls is bad that it affects even destinies of victims.
Child Labour/Modern Day Slavery/Prostitution: Slavery is as old as man. During colonial era, both men and women were chained and sold out to slave masters. Until this day, we are faced with what is referred to as modern day slavery. Girls are taken from their homes heartless people who claim to be good Samaritans, they take them abroad and force them into prostitution. Some girls are sold to wealthy people to serve as housemaids (house girls). Recently young girls have lost their lives in the Mediterranean sea because they are taken abroad for harsh labour in the name of searching for greener pastures.Some parents send their young girls to hawk or beg for arms instead of sending them to school.
Educational Challenge: A large number of young girls have no or less education. They are denied good quality education. Before now, girls were not even given opportunity to go to school. They were referred to as “house wives” and were given less attention. According to the UN’s Millennium Report, “of the more than 110 million children not in school, about 60% are girls, age 18, girls have received an average of 4.4 years less education than boys, worldwide of the more than 130 million primary school age children not enrolled in school, nearly 60% are girls.
As Nigerian Toni Adelanwa said in a piece for the Urunji Child-Care Trust: “If all women had a secondary education, 12 million children would be saved from stunting from malnutrition. “An educated mother can save the lives of her children and help reduce the number of malnutrition-related deaths which make up more than a third of global deaths yearly. “Educated mothers are more likely to ensure their children receive the best nutrients, know more about appropriate health practices and make sure their child’s nutrition needs are met.” Research has shown that when you educate a girl in Africa, she’ll be three times less likely to get HIV-Aids, earn 25% more and have a smaller, healthier family
Health Challenges: The girl child is faced with different health issues because girls are naturally prone to diseases compared to men. They are faced with different health issues ranging from their menstraul cycle to a lot of female related health problems.
In some countries in sub-Saharan Africa, adolescent girls have HIV rates up to five times higher than adolescent boys, pregnancies and childbirth-related health problems take the lives of nearly 146000 teenage girls each year.”
Confinement to Domestic Chores: Female children are confined to domestic chores; she is considered to only fit in at the kitchen and the house and she is not schooled because that is her role- a house keeper. This orientation makes her not to realize her full potential. She is not given professional job opportunities.
|Model: Deborah Amubwo Samuel|
- Causes of Girl Child Dehumanization
The evil acts on a girl child doesn’t just happen, there are certain factors responsible for the ill treatment of a girl child. Some of them are:
1. Poverty: Its true that young girls who come from poor families are most of the time forced to work to support their siblings and parents or supplement the household income when expenses are more than the parents’ earnings. It is a huge problem especially in developing countries where parents are unable to generate income due to the lack of employment opportunities or education. Under aged girls can be found hawking in the streets to earn money that is used to provide basic necessities such as food and clothing for themselves and for the family. Such a practice is a common phenomenon in poverty-stricken regions with large factories set up international companies.
- Government’s contributions to save the Girl Child
Because of how badly children are treated and shown less concern and love, the Government at both national and international level(international organization like UN) have put together laws to Save the girl child, care for children and stop the abuse of children generally. The National Assembly(Nigeria)have taken meaningful steps in protecting girl child and the government in general has introduced different policies over time to protect the girl child.
There are various laws created to guide everyone for instance the constitution of every country has fundamental human rights stipulated in it. There are also human rights laws as well as laws created for both women and children in Nigeria though they are not effective.
What UNICEF is doing:
- UNICEF in 2014 mentioned what they are doing and how they are working together with Nigerian government in Saving Children and women and this is what they said:
- “UNICEF works with the Government of Nigeria and civil society organizations to strengthen prevention and response to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of children and ensure that the Child Rights Act is operationalized.
- In particular, UNICEF supports the establishment of inter-agency coordination and response networks for child protection, strengthening social welfare services and boosting the capacity of the justice system to ensure that child victims are treated with sensitivity and that perpetrators of abuse are held accountable.
- UNICEF also undertakes social norms change initiatives to address violence against children and FGM/C.
- UNICEF monitors gross violations of the rights of children affected the insurgency, and provides them with assistance to recover, including psychosocial support services.
- UNICEF supports efforts the National Population Commission to increase birth registrations, in particular at health facilities, and to track numbers of registrations through RapidSMS – innovative technology that allows for real time monitoring.” – UNICEF2014
Model: Deborah Amubwo Samuel
- SAVING THE GIRL CHILD
Its important to note that the girl child MUST be saved because every girl is a potential mother and wife. If the destiny of a girl child is destroyed, its not different from destroying the destiny of a generation. Here are certain solutions I personally recommend in saving the girl child.
First, the girl child should be provided with pre-school enrichment programs that can give them a head start in their education. Offering training on life skills, including how she can behave herself in a community. This will go a long way in not just building the girl child but building the society. Helping the girl child to stay in school with financial assistance and supporting every action that discourages every inhuman practice no matter how small, will go a long way. I suggest there should be a way to stop the practice of prostitution and good jobs should be provided for parents so they can care for their children. I also want to say here that perpetrators of the girl child abuse, molestation and dehumanization should be arrested and punished according to existing laws.
A reporter with point Blank News in 2014 wrote an article on protecting the right of Nigeria women and girl child and in that article the reporter made some recommendations. Here are the recommendations below…
“To help protect and promote the rights of women and girl-children, I propose
Free compulsory basic education for all children under 18 to be funded state and local governments with federal support;
Public health efforts to reduce maternal mortality and child mortality rates;
The institution of welfare system state governments (with federal support) that provides some support for the aged and needy;
Improved security for schools in areas vulnerable to attack;
Public enlightenment through the mass media and community visitations volunteers, on the benefits of girl-child education;
Promotion of human rights education as part of civics classes in schools;
Encouragement of women to report and speak out about sexual violence and other violations and provision of safeguards to protect them when they do;
Government should work collaboratively with NGOs to ensure the enforcement of the Child Rights Act;
All forms of child abuse such as child labour, child marriage and child abandonment should be punishable law.”
Conclusively, all hands need to be on table to bring an end to girl child dehumanization and every form of abuse. Its important that both Government, NGOs and individuals should make effort in saving the girl child. I am certain that if we do our best, the girl child will not only be saved and protected but our society will be a better place at the end of the day.
-Deborah Amubwo Samuel
Contributing Material source: Afro voice , UNICEF2014 & Leadershipngr
|Deborah Amubwo Samuel|