Campaigning for Girls in Zimbabwe to Stay in School on International Day of the Girl Child
|More than 100 students participated in WPSM's march celebrating the International Day of the Girl Child.|
In observance of the 2016 International Day of the Girl Child, WLP Zimbabwe Partner WSPM organized a successful campaign fighting child marriage and promoting girls’ access to education in Harare.
In Zimbabwe, one-third of all girls are married by age 18. Since 2001, WPSM has helped address the issues that lead to child marriage through its leadership training, capacity building, life skills development, and advocacy for women’s rights.
The campaign was coordinated in collaboration with the Women's Advocacy Project (WAP) and the province’s Ministry of Women's Affairs, Gender, and Community Development. Participants of the campaign included officials from the Ministry, more than 100 students from three local schools, teachers, heads of schools, the Zimbabwe Republic Police, and religious leaders.
The event kicked off with a 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) march in the Waterfalls area, followed by speeches, food, and presentations of papers and poems.
Below is an edited excerpt of a speech given by Joseph Boomenyo, program officer at WSPM.
We have gathered here today to celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child, which is internationally observed on the 11th of October.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child defines a child as any person below the age of 18.
WSPM believes that promoting girls’ access to education, primary health care, and basic human needs is critical for their empowerment and for the achievement of gender equity and equality.
Promoting girls’ access to education is vital because it may facilitate the achievement of a happy life and enjoyment of good things the world has to offer. It is also the key to poverty alleviation and may contribute to the achievement of sustainable development goals 1, 4 and 5.
Girls’ access to life-long education will help them to gain self-confidence, self-esteem and self-determination. Education can help girls achieve their dreams; reduce gender based violence and violence against women and girls. It may also contribute in making the world a safer and more peaceful place for all.
We all have the obligation to promote girls' access to education and other basic human needs. This can be achieved through collective cooperation and action to fight all forms of discrimination and harmful traditional practices against women and girls. We should stand with and for them in fighting and discouraging child marriages.