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Anambra State Library And SSDO Celebrate 2019 Day of The Girl Child

By Izunna Okafor

The need for more improvement on girlchild's access to quality education has been reiterated, as stakeholders call for reduction on gender inequality and marginalization against girls.

These formed the central point of the 2019 International Day of Child as marked by the Anambra State Library Board in collaboration with the South Saharan Social Development Organization (SSDO).

Speaking at the event which took place at St. Augustine Secondary School, Umuoba Anam in Anambra East Local Government Area of Anambra State; the Director of Prof. Kenneth Dike Central E-Library Awka, Dr. Nkechi Udeze said the day was set up by the United Nations to globally celebrate girlchild to advocate more opportunities for girls and increase awareness of gender inequality faced by girls globally, because of their gender, look into problems of girlchild, educate them and encouraged them so that they can attain great heights in the society.

She disclosed that public libraries such as the Anambra State Library have gone beyond just opening doors for people to come and read, and further highlighted some of the ways in which the library contributes towards maximizing opportunities for girlchild, including serving as both traditional resource center, equipping girlchildren with digital skills, organizing other skill acquisition training to empower the girlchildren, sensitizing them on societal issues, facilitating programs that help in inculcating good reading culture and core values in them, with the aim of building a better society.

On the message she had for the girls, the Chief Librarian said "As a girl, you should believe you can do it, and be determined in whatever you want to achieve. Do not allow anybody to stop you; and you can see yourself excelling into greatness"

In their separate speeches, the Programme Officer in charge of education at the South Saharan Social Development Organization, Barr. Mrs. Mariam Aneke, and the Programme Officer in charge of good governance, Barr. Mrs. Nkem Awachie said every girl deserved to be given better opportunity to actualize her dream in life, rather than marginalizing or giving them out in early marriage, which they also say, have a lot of negative effects on the future of the girls.

They further highlighted some of the viable fields and career opportunities girls can venture into, to include being: App/Software Developer, Data Analyst, Pilot, Flight Engineer, Marine Engineer, Astronomer, Construction Engineer, among others; and urged the girls to always aspire to break boundaries and write their names in the book of achievers, by venturing into such areas as 'Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)', which is often regarded as exclusively reserved for men.

Dissecting the theme of this year's celebration —Girl Force: Unscripted and Unstoppable — an Educationist and Project Coordinator at the Development Initiative For Technology and Empowerment (DEVITEM), Mrs. Ngozi Osuchukwu reminded the girls that their abilities, what they can be in life and the extent they can go is not scripted or written for them by anyone; and hence charged them to have confidence in themselves and believe that no one can stop them from getting to the peak of whatever they choose to be, except they do so by themselves.

She further called on the girls to focus on their studies and take it very serious, even as she also advised them to acquire other relevant skills that will help them in life, in addition to their studies, by undertaking some skill acquisition trainings now they are still in secondary school, so as to enable them be self-reliant and self-sufficient in life, without being dependent on anybody, which is why most girls fall prey to male's traps and that of this wicked society.

Contributing, another facilitator at the event, Mr. Chukwuma Chukwura who is also the Executive Director, KIFDAYE Development and Youth Empowerment Initiative Awka said girls have a lot to contribute in the economic and social development of every society, and therefore called on the girls to believe in themselves as well as develop their minds, skills and thinking.

With regard to the Anambra Golden Girls who recently won the World Technovation Prize, Mr. Chukwura extolled the government of Anambra State for giving more girls opportunity to thrive, both in governance and in the educational system, while also calling on other states to emulate same, and urging those in position of authority to abolish some cultural norms and practices that hinder girls from achieving their dreams or attaining certain heights in life.

The event which drew the participation of ten secondary schools in Anambra East Local Government featured presentations by the students and a series of lectures on different topics, including one delivered on 'Managing Menstrual Hygiene And HIV/AIDS' by Nurse Geraldine Uche Ikenwa, of the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital, Awka. It was also used to recognize and award prizes to some of the outstanding students and female achievers among the participants, including Anigwe Jessica and Chinemerem, both from Stella Maris College, Umueri who developed an app for online voting.

The International Day of the Girl Child was first celebrated on 12 October, 2012, following the voting and passing the day as the inaugural International Day of Girls by the United Nations General Assembly. The resolution was sponsored by the then Canada's Minister for the Status of Women,

Rona Ambrose; a delegation of women and girls made presentations in support of the initiative at the 55th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.