Today the Forum for African Women Educationalists – Zimbabwe Chapter (FAWEZI) joined in the observance of the International Day of the Girl Child (IDCG) under the theme ‘With Her: A Skilled Girl Force’. October 11 was declared the International Day of the Girl Child by the United Nations General Assembly On December 19, 2011 with the day being set aside to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.
As we observe IDCG for FAWEZI it is not only about remembering girls’ access to education, staying in school and completing education but also about preparing them to enter the world of work inline with the 2018 IDCG theme ‘With Her: A Skilled Girl Force ‘.
Our girls today are growing up in an environment which is fraught with challenges and uncertainties. It is amid these uncertainties that they strive to access education, stay in school and complete their studies. As we remember our girls this year we urge all educational institutions to bear in mind that the fight for the education of the girl child is not a discriminatory issue. While we have reached parity in access to education, the completion rate of girls beyond the second year of secondary education is low. This is where most learners begin to think about careers and their areas of interest in terms of professions. This is where we begin to lose the participation of girls in issues of development.
It is against such a background that as an organisation we seek to advocate for and support the participation and performance of girls in the ‘21st century skills’ which include Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Arts and ICT. We are of the belief that if the barriers to their participation in these areas are broken from school level the results will be more females in the related industries which will also produce more female role models for the girls back in school. We believe that girls can achieve their opportunities if they do no not face gender based discrimination.
As Zimbabwe we have a very supportive environment and policies which encourage the education of the girl child. Partnerships and collaborations between Civil Society Organisations and the public sector to make the necessary interventions to increase girls’ access to education, staying in school and completing.
It is our desire that every girl child in Zimbabwe accesses and completes a basic education which will position her to be of meaningful contribution in her society. In relation to the IDCG2018 theme we call upon women who are in different sectors to take part in empowering the girl child through mentorship and career guidance so that we jointly create a future skilled female workforce. This however can also be achieved by tackling gender stereotypes across professions and addressing the many systemic barriers faced by girls and women.
On the IDCG we also emphasize on the need to intervene on the plight of the girls who face various socioeconomic difficulties evidenced by child marriages, forced marriages, sexual harassment, emotional abuse, child labour, human trafficking and unemployment among others.
Over and above all we call upon the government of Zimbabwe to continue the efforts of prioritising education financing and create an enabling environment for Civil Society Organisations working to support education in Zimbabwe.
FAWEZI is a non-governmental organisation established in 1998 and registered as a private voluntary organisation in 1999. Since the organisation has worked with communities, schools, civil society, non-governmental organizations and ministries to achieve gender equity and equality in education through targeted programs. Its work influences government policy, builds public awareness, demonstrates best educational practice through effective models, and encourages the adoption of these models by governments and institutions of education.