Commemorating the International Day of the Girl Child is important as it brings focus on issues affecting the girl child while also giving stakeholders an opportunity to collectively come up with strategies to empower girls, the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development has said.
In a statement delivered during an event to help commemorate the day at the National Art Gallery in Bulawayo last week, the ministry said the day should be used to lobby the Government and other stakeholders to pay greater attention to girls’ rights and gender equality.
“The day offers various stakeholders an opportunity to reaffirm their commitment to empower girls by investing in adolescent girls through equipping them with skills confidence life options through family schools, technical and vocational education and training health social and economic support systems,” the ministry said in the statement.
This year’s international celebrations were run under the global theme, “With Her: A Skilled Girl Force”.
Every year, the world celebrates International Day of a girl Child (IDGC) on October 11.
Last week’s belated commemorations were organised by Plan International Bulawayo in partnership with the National Art Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo.
Getrude Ndlovu, the Child Rights and Protection Coordinator for Plan International said they decided to partner the art gallery and showcase “the capabilities of a girl child using creative visual arts”.
“The program is called Girl Empowerment through Visual Arts, it aims to garner international attention and focus on the rights of girls through reaching mass media and inspiring action,” she said. “It is also important as a focal point for mobilisation, bringing together activists, academics, researchers, politicians, business leaders, and community organisations towards a common cause around girl issues.”
Ndlovu said the programme was planned to promote empowerment of girls while also raising awareness on the challenges they face to have their rights fulfilled.
“Plan International is responsible for the messaging which basically focuses on challenging gender inequality through building the capacity and ability of girls and boys in the creative
use of communication to express their issues as they see and experience them in their community and thereby being heard beyond their community,” she said.
The Child Rights and Protection Coordinator for Plan International said the model has a particular bias on showcasing the capabilities of the girl child and telling girl stories using creative art.
Silenkosi Moyo, the NAGZ Bulawayo Administrator, said the national gallery, as a quasi-government entity whose identity is pursuit of excellence in the visual arts in the Matabeleland region and encouragement of the artistic talents in people, partnered with Plan because of the strength of their message.
“The National Gallery Education and Public Programming department drives the project and brings the component of capacity building in different forms of art that include collage, macramé and textiles,” she said.
Girls from different schools in Bulawayo celebrated this through citing poems, painting, and collage which communicated their feelings and ideas as girls.
The event was also graced by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (MOPSE), which assisted in the identification and formation of girl clubs.
Ten Bulawayo schools attended the event including Montrose Girls High, Evelyn Girls High, Sizalendaba High, Ihlathi High, Amhlophe High , Mpopoma High, Founders, Lobengula High, Pumula High and Nketa High.
Ten students , including a child living with disability, participated from each school. They were drawn from Girl Empowerment Movement Clubs and Boy Empowerment Movement Clubs that are in the schools.