11th October 2016, Nigeria joins the rest of the world to commemorate the International Day of the Girl Child (IDGC). On this ocassion, the accomplishments, potentials, opportunities and challenges of the Girl-Child are brought to bare. This year’s theme: “Girls’ Progress = Goals’ Progress: What Counts for Girls” looks into the role of advance data collection in monitoring the progress of the Girl-Child. There is a need to enhance the systems that collect, analyse & disseminate data on priorities of girls such as statistics on Gender Based Violence, Adosecent Pregnancy, Early Marriage & Reproductive Health, Informal Employment, School dropouts, Unpaid work and so forth.

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As the world seeks to monitor progress made so far, and to celebrate major milestones she has taken over years (thanks to SDG on Gender Equality) it suffices to mention that the Girl-Child has not been fully protected. She is still a victim of mental, physical and sexual abuse. As a case study, the Nigerian Girl Child, mostly in the North, is still a victim of early marriage, lack of education, & lacks access to quality medical care.

The Nigerian Girl Child needs to be protected; she is still susceptible to attacks & violence from many angle – in school, home, among groups etc. She still needs sound education; she needs to be taught her rights & privileges; she needs to gain life development skills; she needs more scholarships; she needs good legal representation; she needs medical health care. With these in place and more, she won’t be a tool, for destruction or abuse, in the hands of people.

Full participation of boys and men in standing against violence against girl child, abuse and promotion of equity and equality is a major key to achieving a better world for the girl child.

However, as a matter of fact, the Girl-Child has begun to do the world good, but, this generation can do much more. Hence, we call on everyone (Individuals, Men, Boys, Families, Religious Organizations, NGOs, INGOs, CSOs, the government) to help advance progress for girls – share ideas, implement policies, reaffirm commitments & advance investments to empower the Girl-Child and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Girls’ Protection = Nations’ Protection
Girls’ Progress = Nations’ Progress.

Amanabo, Unekwu-ojo Joy
Director of Finance,
Nigerian Youth 4 Peace Initiative; 08054151494, 07063038627