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THE GIRL CANNOT WAIT

Guinea school girls. credit wikimedia.org

The situation of many girls today coupled with current diverse global challenges call for an urgent RESPONDSE to collectively invest in the girl child NOW. This Investment must be holistic, strategic and one that should trickles down to every girl. Investing in girls today is a strategic and most effective way of empowering and equipping her with skills, tools and resources to face the future and contribute effectively to national and international development today and tomorrow.

Globally, for every 100 boys out-of-school there are 122 girls. For instance, for every 100 boys out of school in Yemen there are 270 girls, in Iraq 316 girls, in India 426 girls, and in Benin 257 girls (UNESCO GMR, 2007). Recent statics from UNESCO shows that girls enrolment share in Ghana at the primary level is 47.4% and at the secondary level is 44.7% and at the tertiary level 3.3%.As a country and a generation we are doing well but we can do better. In Ghana for instance, girls’ enrolment has increased but we need to find ways to sustain girls in school and invest in them holistically.

Day after day, cultural factors, traditional norms and harsh economic challenges, diseases and current unfavorable climate change continue to compel most girls in Ghana and in developing countries to drop out of school, engage in petty trading to support families and in some cases marry early burying alive their potentials. Should this be the case?

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) which has been ratified by many nations including Ghana since 1990, The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, The Children’s ACT 560 (of Ghana) all covers the girl up to 18 years. These documents bind us legally to invest in the girl child by protecting, promoting and respecting the girls’ rights at all levels.

Again, it is an undisputable fact that girls are vital to the world as they grow up to take the mantle from women who are contributing effectively to development today. Heroines and mentor like Her Excellency Helen Sir Leaf Johnson, Hilary Clinton, Michelle Obama are all products of yesterday’s investment in their life and education.

Development researchers, scholars and expert working for and with girls - Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman, Melinda Gates, Managing Director of the World Bank- Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, all attest to the need and recognize the significance of investing in girls and supports the campaign. According to Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala "If you invest in girls, if you educate girls, if you get girls into jobs, you solve many problems, because educated girls have fewer children and they will be aware of measures to tackle climate change.”

Economically, Investing in the girl today can help tomorrow’s woman to gain economic independence. According to Girls Count, “at the macro economic level, the size and competiveness of tomorrow’s labor force will be shaped by today’s girls’ education and skills-building and by how much these girls use their education and skills in formal and informal economic activity”.

Health wise, HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other health related Diseases will slow as educated mothers take better care of their children.

What practical ways can we all invest in girls today?
The four pillars of the UNCRC –Survival, Development, Participation, and Protection encompassed in Articles 2, 6, 19 and 28 require commitments from us as individuals, families, communities, orgnaisations and Governments in investing in our girls. Investing in the girl is more than just putting the girl in school. It includes consciously and passionately investing a portion of our time, talent and treasure in

-Promoting, protecting and respecting the rights of girls
-Promoting girls’ education and sustaining girls in school
-Supporting projects and programmes targeted at the girls’ empowerment by giving our time, talent or treasure
-Supporting Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health programmes
-Teaching, mentoring, encouraging, and supporting girls morally individually.

International organizations like UNICEF, Camfed, PLAN etc continue to help in the campaign and efforts to educate girls in Ghana. Investing in girls will improve Global Economy, slow down Global warming decelerate HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases and maternal and infant mortality.

All around us there are girls-struggling to find a place and space in this world, fighting to gain feet, thirsty for encouragement, hungry for care, love and support for their education. Investing a portion of our time, talent and treasure .

Working with girls for over years on Child Rights media projects and programmes, I have no doubt in the potential of the girl when invested in.

"If investing in women is smart economics, then investing in girls ... is even smarter economics” says Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

This article is part of a writing assignment for Voices of Our Future, which is providing rigorous web 2.0 and new media training for 31 emerging women leaders. We are speaking out for social change from some of the most forgotten corners of the world. Meet Us.

Girls passionate about girls issues-CYIB

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Comments

Nusrat Ara's picture

A good job. Love

A good job.

Love

Nusrat

giftypearl.abenaab's picture

Thanks Nu

Thanks Nu.
All the best!

Gifty Pearl Abenaab
Founder
Greight Foundation
www.greightfoundation.org

Dando's picture

Great work

I like your passionate about a girl child.
Investing in a woman is the only way to economic and national growth.

Best of Luck and God bless!

Love

giftypearl.abenaab's picture

My vision and passion

Dandy dearie!
My vision is a world where "women are assertive and economically independent." i believe this can be achieved by investing in girls strategically with a holistic approach and today. It is this vision that drives me to advocate for girls and i do this passionately.

Good luck and God bless you too.

Love and hugs!

Gifty Pearl Abenaab
Founder
Greight Foundation
www.greightfoundation.org

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

Wonderful article

Gifty,

Thank you so much for this wonderful article. Our children (especially girls) are our future. We must help them to achieve their goals and to be spared all that we suffered .. Investing in children is investing in the bright tomorrow, which we must weave strings from now ..

Halima

giftypearl.abenaab's picture

Thanks Halima

Thanks Halima,
i agree that investing in Children especially girls is a right step in the right direction at this time.

Gifty Pearl Abenaab
Founder
Greight Foundation
www.greightfoundation.org

olutosin's picture

INVEST IN US YES!

Gifty Love,

This is a nice piece Dear, God Bless you. Invest in girls, we are worth the sacrifice with all the natural endowment tath can be equaled to nothing, it is truly smarter economics.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

giftypearl.abenaab's picture

Love your voice!

Olu dear,
i love to hear your voice and thoughts on this. It feels someone undertsnads the need to invest in Girls. Girls indeed vital to this world. lets advocate and act together to conribute to investing in them.

Love and hugs!
Gifty!

Gifty Pearl Abenaab
Founder
Greight Foundation
www.greightfoundation.org

sallyhedman's picture

You go, girl!

Dear Gifty,
Beautifully done. Through your clear and passionate voice, you have written a persuasive call to action. Girls and women are the strength the world needs to change for the better. Invest in girls, empower girls, listen to girls. We need girls to bring balance and equality into families, communities, countries, and eventually into the whole world. By educating girls, we plant the seeds of change.
Thank you for sharing your vision, Gifty. You are wise beyond your years.
Sally

giftypearl.abenaab's picture

You help me "push"!

Dear Sally,
There is so much strength and encouragement hearing your voice, commments and compliments. You midwives help me push my "baby"( my ideas and visions) which i am really grateful for. As i write i recall the times i wished i was in school and the times i was in school as a girl-the chanllenges, the benefits and the vision and now the way forward.

I know that a day is coming when all and sundry will take concrete steps to invest in the girl child every where.

PS:The images selected was an experience: http://worldpulse.com/node/12973 but i am glad they speak and move with the oped.

In appreciation to your voice!
Gifty

Gifty Pearl Abenaab
Founder
Greight Foundation
www.greightfoundation.org

sallyhedman's picture

P.S. Images of Girls

Gifty,
I forgot to mention the images you selected add another dimension to your op-ed. The spirits of those girls shines! Good choice on your part!
Sally

Greta's picture

Very Proud

Dearest Gifty,

I have revisited your op-ed piece today, and I am inspired by you yet again. You have done a great job on this! The combination of facts, figures, suggestions are all so relevant to the call for action to invest in the girl. Your use of the words "yesterdays investment" regarding successful women of today, really truly made me realize the importance of "today's investment". I love the photographs, it gives the piece something extra that has meaning beyond words!

Hope you are well,

In Kindness and Appreciation,

Gretchen

giftypearl.abenaab's picture

Appreciation

Dear Greta,
Every word of encouragment from you motivates and challenges me to write and act more.

Thanks.

In appreciation
Gifty

Gifty Pearl Abenaab
Founder
Greight Foundation
www.greightfoundation.org

Mandy's picture

Gifty, Thanks for your

Gifty,

Thanks for your informed and passionate article!

In the article you mentioned your work with girls in Child Rights media projects. I share your vision in helping girls play a role in the fight for their rights through media, and I wanted to pass along some interesting media projects involving girls happening here in the U.S.

The Girls Make Media blog is dedicated to highlighting media programs for girls, by girls!
http://www.girlsmakemedia.blogspot.com/

Two innovative initiatives that are mentioned on this blog site are TVbyGirls (http://blog-aauw.org/2009/07/31/project-profile-tv-by-girls/) and Girls Rock! (http://blog-aauw.org/2009/08/14/empowering-girls-through-music/). I have included the addresses to profiles I wrote about these groups to give an idea of the ways they are using media to empower girls in their communities.

All the Best,
Mandy

giftypearl.abenaab's picture

Great!

Dear Mandy,
I am grateful for your comments and the links!! i have been browsing for the last half an hour on the blogs. It is giving me new ideas as to what new media projects and programmes one can create for girls here.

Over here, we use the radio, TV and a Youth Magazine for our advocacy work. Not many young people have access to the internet but with time i know this will change.

I am thinking of how to get many girls to start blogging about issues that afffect them.

In appreciation
Gifty

Gifty Pearl Abenaab
Founder
Greight Foundation
www.greightfoundation.org

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