By Emmanuel Aziken
The African First Ladies Peace Mission, AFLPM, has called for equal opportunities and greater protection of the girl child from gender-based violence, and harmful practices.
The body of wives of African Heads of States and Governments made the call in a goodwill message by the Acting Chairperson and Nigerian First Lady, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, on the occasion of International Day of the Girl Child, 2020, themed “My voice, our equal future”.
In a statement signed by the Special Assistant to the President on African First Ladies Mission, AFLM, Dr. Mairo Almakura, Mrs. Buhari also urged African leaders to equip every girl child with quality education and new skills that would ultimately help them to be self-reliant as a woman.
“On this occasion of the International Day of the Girl Child, I, on behalf of my sisters, the rest of the African First Ladies, felicitate with our girls on their special day and salute their resilience in the midst of daunting challenges.
“That the African society is culturally tilted against the girl child is not in doubt. The onus is therefore on us as regional bodies, international development funders and partners, national governments and subnational governments, corporate bodies, Civil Society Organisations and Non-Governmental Organisations and indeed as parents, guardians and individuals to scale up attention and resources towards supporting them to enjoy life and actualise their potentials.
“We must heed and indeed amplify their yearnings for equal opportunity and protection from gender-based violence as well as harmful practices such as child marriage, female genital mutilation that lower their self-esteem, deem their future, and cause them physical harms and needless deaths”, Mrs. Buhari said.
The Chairperson of AFLPM equally tasked African governments and stakeholders on more attention and resources towards protecting the girl child from HIV and AIDS and encourage them to stand out as advocates for change.
“We must build and support them to tell their own stories and stand out as advocates and agents for social change. Importantly, we must make skill acquisition and affordable quality education an overriding priority across the continent”, she stated.