June 11, 2024

Central News

at the center of it

UNICEF is angry with Nigeria, calls for increased investment in adolescent girls’ rights

EVERY year on October 11, the world unites to celebrate the resilience, strength, and potential of girls, highlighting the distinct challenges they face worldwide.
The United Nations International Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) in Nigeria says it is approaching the mid-point of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) journey, the focus on the well-being and rights of all, especially girls, with “even more critical” concerns.
UNICEF says of Nigeria, “Despite the strides made, the World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report 2023 indicates a sobering 131 years before we achieve full gender parity.
“The current global landscape, marked by resistance to gender equality and multi-faceted crises, has further jeopardized the rights of adolescent girls, putting the vision of a just world for all at risk.
“Nigeria’s case is among the most-critical in the world.”
UNICEF rrpresentative in Nigeria Ms. Cristian Munduate says, “The potential of our girls is limitless, but we must first provide them with the platforms to express, learn, and thrive.
“But, there’s hope”
“Our commitment to this cause is unwavering and paramount for the nation’s progress.” And, she adds, “In a rapidly evolving world, the dreams and aspirations of our adolescent girls are the beacons that can guide our efforts towards a more inclusive, equitable future.”
In Nigeria, the stakes are high for an estimated 26 million adolescent girls (ages 10-19). To ensure Nigeria remains on course for the 2030 SDGs, the spotlight must shine brightest on its girls, especially those marginalized due to disability, poverty, or crises, and those who are pregnant, parenting, or married.
Now, UNICEF Nigeria sees a “collective responsibility extending to championing girls’ education, preventing harmful cultural practices, advancing menstrual hygiene, offering tailored health services, and meeting the nutritional requirements of these young ladies.”
Ms Munduate says that, while the terrain might be fraught with challenges, there’s hope.
“Nigeria’s adolescent girls are not passive by-standers but active agents of change, driving transformative initiatives in their communities. The time has come for their voices to echo louder in the halls of decision-making.
“Girls from UNICEF’s programme in Katsina and Sokoto, for instance, have put forth actionable demands — ranging from life skills training and accessible digital devices to the critical involvement of fathers in girls’ education.
“On this International Day of the Girl, UNICEF Nigeria calls for renewed vigor in safeguarding and fostering the rights of adolescent girls. Their boundless potential deserves nothing less than the country’s utmost commitment and investment,” is how UNICEF rates Nigeria on the global scale.