SPECIAL COVERAGE: Why girls need to be given opportunities to prosper

Tuesday October 15 2019

The Canadian High Commision to Tanzania Ms

The Canadian High Commision to Tanzania Ms Pamela O’Donnell speaks to University of Dar es Salaam student Ms Sumaiya Kimaro who “took over” as the envoy. PHOTO I HELLEN NACHILONGO  

By Hellen Nachilongo @TheCitizenTz

Last week Tanzanian girls joined more than 1000 girls worldwide to celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child (IDGC), ahead of the IDGC climax girls take over of several leadership positions.

At national level some 23 girls from different universities were selected to temporarily takeovers several positions such as Canadian High Commissioner, Plan International Country Director, and Head of Department for International Development (DFID) and BBC News Editor to jointly advocate for girls equality, power, freedom and create more opportunities for girls.

The girl’s takeover was a global initiatives cause that involved more than 1000 girls in 60 countries stepping into impressive leadership roles.

Some stakeholders that allowed girls to take over big positions in their respective organization included Standard Chartered, UK Aid, UN Women, Under the Same Sun, British High Commission, Precision Air, Empower Limited, DFID, Studio Red, BBC Media Action, Belgium to jointly advocate for girls equality, power, freedom and create more opportunities for girls.

This year International Day of Girls under the global theme, “GirlForce: Unscripted and unstoppable”, we celebrate achievements by, with and for girls, stakeholders in Tanzania and across the world worked with girls to amplify their voices and stand up for their rights.

Through this global action, they mobilized to ensure girls were visible like never before and inspire others to join the movement for girls’ rights and take action. Girls must become visible in places of power and influence more than ever before.

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Girls can lead change, but they can’t do it alone.

Canadian envoy to Tanzania Ms Pamela O’Donnell said that the 2019 International Day of the Girl commemorations is a continuation of a year-long effort to bring together partners and stakeholders to advocate, draw attention and investments to the most pressing needs and opportunities for girls and young women to be equally seen, heard and valued.

“We have seen more girls move from dreaming to achieving. Girls are breaking boundaries and barriers posed by stereotypes and exclusion, including those directed at children with disabilities and those living in marginalized communities. As entrepreneurs, innovators and initiators of global movements, girls are creating a world that is relevant for them and future generations,” he said.

She explained IDGC, was an important day to recognize the importance of investing in and empowering girls during adolescence and preventing and eliminating the various forms of violence they are experiencing.

She noted that they have seen movements organized by and for adolescent girls tackling issues like child marriage, education inequality, gender-based violence, climate change, self-esteem, and girls’ rights to enter places of worship or public spaces during menstruation. Girls are proving they are unscripted and unstoppable.

University of Dar es Salaam student Ms Ireen Christopher (21) who took over as Plan International Tanzania Country Director’s position said Girls Takeover is an opportunity to share their power, being heard and seen that we can take a leading role in the development of our society.

“Last week was truly transformational for me, and I appreciate the opportunity to take over the position of the Canadian High Commissioner. I have gained leadership and self-awareness skills which will has helped me focus on my choices that I intend to make for my career goals after completion of my university studies,” said, Sumaiya Kimaro, a second year student at University of Dar es Salaam who took over as the Canadian High Commissioner in Tanzania.

Vodacom Foundation Tanzania, head of corporate affairs foundation Ms Roselynn Mworia said they have invested in the initiatives that empowered more than 5000 girls and seek to reach more.

“Our people are witnessing a profound impact on their social, cultural and economic frameworks to name a few and the most positively affected groups are women and girls in our society.”

“Use of technology has resulted in enhanced access to key services and improved productivity and efficiency across economic sectors but, we still have to do more to allow women and girls to fully benefit from digital revolution despite their age, ethnic background, income, disability and other inhibiting societal factors.”

She noted that they have leverage technology to support vulnerable communities across Tanzania. Over the years, they have partnered with many experts and invested in initiatives whose main aim is to empower women and girls.

He said through initative programs such as Hakuna wasichoweza, Code like a girl, Tujibebe, Girls in ICT and Kua Mjanja the have reached over 5,000 girls and still aim to reach more.

Mobile technology and access to the right information puts remarkable power in a girl’s hands, power that is useful for improving a girl’s life and that of the community that surrounds her.

Through the Girls Take Over initiative, Plan International Tanzania coordinated with partners to place young girls in positions of power to empower young girls and unleash their potential. It is through these platforms that young girls are given a glimpse of what it takes to be leaders.

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