International Day of the Girl Child – A Day for Girls
Innovation: a novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, sustainable, or just than existing solutions
The fulfillment of girls’ right to education is first and foremost an obligation and moral imperative. There is also overwhelming evidence that girls’ education, especially at the secondary level, is a powerful transformative force for societies and girls themselves: it is the one consistent positive determinant of practically every desired development outcome, from reductions in mortality and fertility, to poverty reduction and equitable growth, to social norm change and democratization.
Under the Green Belt Movement Gender Programme, Green Belt Movement supported 259 girls and 45 boys in secondary schools, selected from GBM women groups. This is a token for community groups that show greater adoption of Green Belt Movement Mission, Vision and Values. The Program also supported a secondary school namely Gititu Secondary School in Central Province, Nyeri County to establish a tree nursery kitchen garden to sell fruits and vegetables to the school’s feeding program. The school has also set up a tree nursery. The head teacher purchases vegetables from the kitchen garden and Green Belt Movement buys seedlings from the tree nursery. The school now makes an average of about $1,000 per year. The money from the sale of these vegetables and tree seedlings supplements the school’s bursary scheme to support bright and needy girls whose parents cannot afford to pay for school fees. Nine female students benefited from this kitty. This secures their future and presents them opportunity to participate in development and national related issues on girls and children.
Why a day for girls?
The Day of the Girl would definitely spark discussions throughout the world about girls' rights, how girls are impacted by policies, the challenges that girls face. We use the Day of the Girl as another way in which we bring up the issue of girls rights to our peers, in our communities and to our leaders in Africa.
Girls themselves were crucial in the global movement to establish the Day of the Girl, and through their stories, ideas and views we came to believe that a day for girls would:
- Bring global focus to the widespread denial of basic rights to girls, and the ‘invisibility’ of girls in the global development agenda; while there has long been an International Women's Day and an International Day of the Child, neither of these days recognise the unique challenges for girls as the most marginalised and discriminated group.
- Help to make girls and their rights more visible. Girls can bring about social change that benefits not only themselves, but their families, communities and entire societies as well. Ensuring girls feel respected and valued in society is the first step to breaking down discriminatory barriers.
- Help to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Gender equality must begin with girls. It is fundamental to reducing poverty and to prevent suffering in developing economies and to create a just world.
- Enable girls to gain an equal position in society; this is not only the right of girls and a moral duty, but essential to breaking poverty.
The transformative potential for girls and societies promised through girls education is yet to be realised and innovation in technology, partnerships, and policies can help to accelerate progress.
The International Day of the Girl Child 2013 will provide a platform to highlight examples such as these – and many more – of ongoing work and achievements, as well as raise awareness of the importance of innovation in advancing girls’ education and promoting learning and empowerment.
“Education, of course, creates many opportunities. In Kenya, for most people of my generation and after, a high school education or a college degree is a guaranteed ticket out of the perceived drudgery of subsistence farming or the cultivation of cash crops for little return."-Wangari Maathai Unbowed, p. 71