From Segun Babatunde in Gombe
Save Children International (SCI) in Nigeria has called for a concerted efforts by all stakeholders that will end the worrying violence perpetrated against girls and women.
The call is coming as the World Marks the International Women’s Day with the hash tag, #BreakTheBias.
Commending this year’s theme, “gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow,” Kunle Olawoyin, SCI’s Media and Communication Manager in Nigeria in a release sent to newsmen said, contribution of women and girls around the world, who are exerting exemplary effort in response to climate change, building resilient communities and a sustainable future for children, girls, men and women, has remained relevant today”.
According to Purity Oriaifo, Save the Children International Nigeria’s Girl Champion, she lamented violence against women and girls saying, “in our communities today, girls continue to suffer from gender inequality”.
She said, “in conflict, displacement and disaster situations, girls are being abducted, raped, and forced into marriage. The issues with girls extend beyond child marriage, female genital mutilation, as it affects the girls’ entire life”.
She also said, “Millions of girls were not privileged to enjoy their childhood but subjected to take responsibilities they were not prepared for. That is why women, girls and I will continue to advocate, raise awareness and fight for a gender equal Nigeria”.
This year’s celebration also focuses on one of the huge threats to “sustainable tomorrow”, which is, climate change.
It has been identified as a threat to the rights of children, girls, women and particularly those living with disabilities.
They are the first and worst affected by the impact of climate change whether by climate-related natural disasters or the impact of climate change on food production, access to water, livelihoods and basic social services.
Country Director, Save the Children International Nigeria, Mercy Gichuh said, “Protecting the environment is about preserving the planet earth for children, girls and women, to have a livable environment, “sustainable tomorrow” and a brighter future. It is about peace, survival, social and economic justice and sustainable development.”
She urged all responsible actors, including the government, private sectors, CSOs, FBOs, CBOs and communities to double and intensify efforts to achieving the global targets of strengthening resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters.
She also called for integrating climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning; and improving education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning systems, which can save the lives of many children, girls and women who are the most affected by the climate crisis.
The organization then called upon families, communities, local, state and national governments to join hands in making the society free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination against girls and women, but respect and celebrate their potential and contributions in creating “sustainable tomorrow” for all.
The release said, Save the Children will continue to campaign and advocate with, and for the rights of the most marginalized children in Nigeria to ensure that no girl child is left behind or excluded from the opportunity to access quality, safe, free, uninterrupted and inclusive education, health, nutrition and other social services in a bid to achieve the sustainable development goals.