The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Dame Pauline Tallen has urged young girls to be resilient and break all barriers in the pursuit of their educational development.
Tallen made the call in Abuja at the inauguration of a book entitled: “My Covid-19 Story: Voice of Hope and Resilience”, a compilation of stories shared by African Teenage Girls across the world.
The book was compiled and published by Helpline Foundation for the Needy, Abuja under the leadership of Dr. Jumai Ahmadu, the founder.
Tallen disclosed that the ministry had embarked on advocacy visit across the country to ensure the speedy passage and full implementation of the Child Rights Act, 2003 to protect children.
Represented by the Director Child Development at the ministry, Mrs. Jummai Mohammed, the minister said that the ministry had begun national sensitisation campaign in all the six geopolitical zones.
According to her, the aim is to educate stakeholders on the need to end all forms of violence against children.
The minister added that the campaign would ensure that the girl-child returned to school after the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak.
“I am very glad to note that schools have reopened and we are recently at Government Secondary School Fiyakasa where we inaugurated distribution of educational and hygiene materials to the girl-child.
“Specifically on Oct. 8, in my determination to change the narrative of the girl-child education in Nigeria, I inaugurated the National campaign on the girl-child education and called on all stakeholders to ensure the preservation of the girl-child education.’’
Earlier, Ahmadu explained that the book was an account of experiences of the girl-child, challenges and aspirations during the Covid-19 lockdown.
He said in August, the Foundation called for entries and tasked girls to write their experiences due to the high reports of child rights abuse recorded during the COVID-19 lockdown.
“My Covid-19 story indeed represents voices of hope and resilience, because in spite of the challenges, these girls are working hard to achieve a great future.
“We understood that since the pandemic was having a negative effect on governments and families, it would also take a toll on girls.
“Also, the increase in number of domestic and sexual abuse of women and girls and in some cases boys further strengthened our resolve to create a platform through which the voices of these girls can be heard,’’ he said.
According to Ahmadu, as expected, the stories are mind-blowing as the girls have been able to tell their stories from their hearts.
“These innocent stories have great lessons and messages for everyone, including our policy makers as we will all see what some of them have been through and work toward mitigating against them in the future.’’