Guest blog by Dr Chris Ugwu.
A ONE-DAY CELEBRATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE GIRL CHILD AND FORMAL LAUNCH OF “COUNTRY PROFILE : FGM IN NIGERIA”
1.0 Background / Introduction
11th October of every year is declared the International Day of the Girl Child.
It is a day set aside by the International Community to celebrate our girls, to appreciate their virtues and to recognize that the world’s 1.1 billion girls are part of a large and vibrant global generation poised to take on the future for the improvement of our society. It is also a day to sensitize our policy makers, government institutions and the general public to the fact that the ambition for gender equality in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) highlights the preponderance of disadvantage and discrimination borne by girls everywhere, Nigeria inclusive, on a daily basis.
These disadvantages manifest in male preference in our society; denial of education and health opportunities to girls in families, perpetuation of obnoxious customary practices including Female Genital Mutilation and denial of inheritance rights among so many other discriminatory practices.
2.0 2016 Celebration of the International Day of the Girl Child and Launch of the “Country Profile: FGM in Nigeria”.
SIRP organized as part of this year’s event, celebration of the International Day of the Girl Child, the formal launch in Enugu State Nigeria of the “Country Profile: FGM in Nigeria.
In attendance at this year’s celebration were members of the 4th Estate of the Realm, the Media; Government Officials, representative of Civil Society organizations and Obollo-Afor Community members. The Chairman of the occasion was Ogbuefi Chbukwuma Ogbonna; the Managing Director of Enugu State Broadcasting Service (ESBS) Radio and Television.
2.1 International Day of the Girl Child.
The theme for this year’s International Day of the Girl Child is:
“Girls Progress = Goal’s Progress: A Global Data Movement”
Dr Ugwu submitted that it was only through explicit focus on collecting and analyzing girl- focused, girl-relevant and sex-disaggregated data, and using these in programme decisions that we can adequately measure and understand the opportunities and challenges girls face, and identify and track progress towards solutions to their most pressing problems.
He therefore used the occasion of this year’s event to call on government, NGOs and Development Partners involved in Gender Issues to invest in Global Girls Data Movement, in order to:
He enjoined all present at the event to be part of the ultimate success story of the Global Girls Data Movement; to share ideas, reaffirm commitments and advance investments in any effort at collecting, analyzing and disseminating gender data across age spectrum to improve statistics on gender based violence including FGM.
2.2 Formal Launch of “Country Profile: FGM in Nigeria” at Obollo-Afor Udenu LGA of Enugu State as part of the Celebration of the International Day of the Girl Child
Dr Ugwu, Executive Director, Society for the Improvement of Rural people (SIRP) informed guests at the Obollo-Afor celebration that the formal launch of the FGM Country profile was organized in collaboration with an UK NGO ‘28 Too Many’. The FGM Country Profile which was produced by 28 Too Many provided comprehensive information on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Nigeria, detailing current research and discussing the political, anthropological and sociological contexts in which FGM is practised in Nigeria.
Stakeholders in FGM Eradication movement, especially representatives of CSOs working on harmful, cultural practices were provided with ‘T’ shirts for the occasion and copies of the country profile (Executive Summary). Their email contact were collected; as full copies would be forwarded to their contact.
Guests and Participants in the event were asked to utilize the country Profile as a Resource/Guide to shape their policies and practices regarding the eradication of FGM particularly in the South-East of Nigeria, and in that way create a positive and sustainable change in FGM practice, especially within the context of Sustainable Development Goals 2015 – 2030.
3.0 Comments from some Guests and Participant in the event
Ogbuefi Chukwuma Ogbonna, Managing Director, ESBS Enugu (Radio/TV) .
Mr Kyrian Agbodike, the Chief of Staff of Udenu Local Government area; Enugu State.
4.0 Conclusion and Next Step(s)
The celebration of this year’s International Day of the Girl Child was very eventful as this was the first time, SIRP was celebrating it in the rural community.
It was also eventful because we had to make it a big media event; by ensuring that the Managing Director of the State’s media organization, Enugu State Broad Casting Service (ESBS Radio/TV) was the chairman of the occasion; hence elaborate coverage of the event happened in both the radio and television for 3 days in the State, 11-13 October 2016 .
This years’ event was also particularly unique because SIRP had the unique privilege of partnering with an UK based NGO – 28 Too Many to undertake a joint mission, namely to ensure the successful launch of the first ever, well documented, systematically arranged and professionally rendered, resources material for use by practitioners, researchers and policy makers in the area of Female Genital Mutilation in Nigeria and beyond . And this happened successfully!
SIRP is grateful to 28 Too Many for involving us in this Project.