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International Day of the Girl Child commemorated

Story by Tapiwa Machemedze

GIRLS have made a call for the strengthening of measures that enhance their protection in society as Zimbabwe commemorated the International Day of the Girl Child this Friday.

As Zimbabwe marked the International Day of the Girl Child on Friday, girls who converged at the Major Brown farm in Mazowe called for stakeholders to step up efforts to protect the girl child’s rights, particularly in education.

“We are making a plea to the government, we want all girls from all walks of life to have the chance to get basic education,” said a girl.

Another said, “As a girl, I can uplift my family and my community but if I am deprived of the right to go to school, I can just stay at home and bear babies, whereas I could make a difference, especially in marginalised areas.”

“We know we meet many challenges in the area where we stay but we want to appeal to the Zimbabwean family to help girls to go to school, these are young girls, they are not women, their rights should be respected,” said another girl.

The country has recorded several successes to date in ensuring the well-being of the girl child through the collaboration of the government and the civil society.

Farming Community Education Trust board member, Miss Nadia Mutisi said, “We are here as organisations speaking on the importance of investing in the rights of the girl child and in particular today, we are focusing on education. How do we as facet uplift the girl child, we have the GEAR program where we bring to account all those players that are supposed to be helping young girls to get education.”

RIGE Program Officer, Miss Ruby Maensanize said, “I am happy that the girl child is being uplifted through the government’s efforts and efforts by various non-governmental organisations in different sectors of the country. All of your efforts are helping us, we will reach the destination where the girl child will get their rights.”

Mashonaland Central Provincial Education deputy director, Mr. Fidelis Taganda says the government has made great strides to ensure girls complete their academic education even after encountering pregnancy.

“The Education Amendment Act of 2019 provides for girls impregnated to continue with school, they can take maternity leave and they can return even when breastfeeding. The government also established a policy on catch-up strategies such as radio lessons and e-books for use by learners who fall pregnant,” he said.

Running under the theme, “Invest in girls’ rights, our leadership and wellbeing”, the International Day of the Girl Child that falls on the 11th of October annually comes at a time when stakeholders are fighting to mitigate child sexual exploitation, particularly in Mashonaland Central which has the highest statistical rate in the country.

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