Int'l Day of the Girl-Child: Ohanaeze, CSACEFA, others call for collaboration
..As NGO holds summer confab for girls

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

A Non-Governmental Organisation, NGO, Daughters of Philip (D.O.P), and stakeholders have stressed the need for parents and guardians to wake up to their responsibility towards protecting the girl child.

D.O.P, committed to raising teenage girls in confidence and sexual purity, recently, held its 2021 annual summer conference in Lagos, tagged: “God’s favourite girl.”

The two-day conference which had over 500 girls between the ages of 12 and 19 in attendance provided mentorship opportunities, and guidiance and counselling, clothing drive to participants.

The event which had several life coaches shared their experiences with young and vulnerable ladies dwelled on the need for poise and etiquette as a prerequisite for healthy self-esteem for ladies.

The teenage girls were also well guided on how to deal with sexual pressure and abuse and the need to pursue academic excellence.

According to the founding couple, Mr. and Mrs. Adedokun who are passionate about seeing young girls succeed in all ramifications, Daughters of Philip was founded in 2016, and in the last 5 years, the NGO has reached out to over five thousand young ladies across Nigeria.

“The vision started in 2016. We had our first quarterly program in Ikorodu, Lagos. Ever since, we have held 15 major programs across different cities in Nigeria”, he explained.

“The vision of the DOP, being an interdenominational non-governmental organisation, is to inculcate in the girl child the spiritual, psychological and social benefits of a chaste life and to inspire her to be the best she can be regardless of her background and upbringing”, he further said.

Responding to the increasing number of young girls who are exposed to the dangers of sexual abuse, Mr. Adedokun, explained that sexual abuse hinders girls from maximizing their potentials.

According to him, it has become more important to listen, guide and counsel the girl child, as a means of protecting them. “We believe that the impact of protecting every girl child from sexual abuse is generational. The family and our world tremendously benefits from the sexual wholesomeness of the mothers of tomorrow.

“Girl child education plays a key role in their ability to speak up and make quality life decisions. We do not only teach sexual purity, and encourage chastity, with the help of some of our partners, we are able to foot the bills of young girls so they can remain in school”

“In some cases, we intervene in issues of unplanned pregnancies by ensuring she delivers safely and gets the required support to return to school.”

Providing insight to the government on how to better safeguard girls, George advised the government to work closely with NGOs working on related projects, so as to have a well-coordinated approach to protecting girl child.

He also urged the society to shun the culture of silence which is not in the interest of girls who have been abused.

Talking about the role of parents in protecting the girl child, one of the participants, Ms. Praises Olu-Philips, said ‘the society is filled with too many sleeping parents, guardians and teachers and they need to wake up pretty fast, as a lot of girls are bottling up a lot that they are unable to share with others”

Furthermore, Ms. Praises noted that participants at the Summer Conference are fortunate to have mothers who are able to share their experiences growing up.

“With the experiences shared by the renowned speakers many of my colleagues are able to pour out their heart during counseling, hence, providing a means for healing and rejuvenation”

She also advised other girls to be mindful of close relatives, friends or acquaintances who pretend to be helpers, but end up abusing young ladies.

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