Ending child marriage by investing in a skilled “GirlForce”

Ogun State-October 11, 2018 was the 7th Annual International Day of the Girl Child. The day was set aside by the United Nations on December 2011 to highlight the challenges facing girls in the world and as the  the world celebrates International Day of the Girl on 11 October, African Girls Empowerment Network, a young feminine charity organization in Ogun State Nigeria is calling for greater investments to improve girls’ education, skills, and job prospects in Nigeria and stressed that increasing the economic productivity of girls is critical to ending child marriage.

Speaking at the event organized by the organization to mark the day, Ms. Blessing Michael, President of African Girls Empowerment Network, said that more attention needs to be given to providing girls with job-relevant skills and training to participate in the workforce or launch their own businesses.

“Poverty is a key driver of child marriage and girls from poor families more likely to become child brides than those from the richest households. If we really want to tackle poverty and end child marriage we must give girls the tools they need to invest in themselves. That means providing them with the quality education and training they need to earn an income and create a better future for themselves and their family,” Michael said.

Speaking on the barriers limiting girls from becoming economic inclusive in Nigeria, Ms. Michael said;  “However, increasing girls’ participation in the workforce will require addressing the “many barriers” to decent work they face, including child marriage, early motherhood, and gender-based violence.

“Every year, 12 million girls are married globally before the age of 18, depriving them of their rights to education, health and a life of their choosing and in Nigeria, it is estimated that  more than 25% of girls are victims of child marriage and teenage pregnancy particularly those in the hard to reach communities.

While declaring a 3-month vocational training for young women and girls in commemoration of the International Day of the Girl Child 2018, she also called on well-meaning Nigerians and government to support the effort.

“ To  commemorate this year International Day of the Girl Child  and in line with this year theme “With her: towards a skilled girl force”, we are launching a 3 three month Vocational Education & Training for young women and girls (VET4Women) an initiative that seeks to advance gender equality in young girls and empower them through vocational skills in Makeup/gele tying, Bead making, Computer training, catering, leadership training and financial literacy effective October 01, 2018. Our aim is to ensure these young girls and women become financially inclusive in Ado Odo Ota, Ogun and Alagbado, Lagos Nigeria.

“  And of course, we can not do it alone, we want  the Government and well-meaning Nigerians to join us to provide job-relevant skills for these young women and girls”

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