Lusaka, 11 October 2019: In commemoration of the International Day of the Girl Child, Panos Institute Southern Africa (PSAf) celebrates girls as an unstoppable force in driving development at the family, community, national and global level.
The International Day of the Girl Child is commemorated annually on 11th October. The theme for this year’s commemoration is “GirlForce: Unscripted and Unstoppable”. The theme celebrates strides made in advancing the rights of girls, and reminds us that when we support girls to realise their rights, they become a positive force that is unstoppable.
For girls to become unstoppable and realise their full potential, they need support from allies such as the media. Panos therefore calls on the media in Southern Africa to amplify girls’ voices, and profile girls as an unstoppable positive force for development, not only as victims of injustice. We are of the view that a strong positive media profile will enable girls to break boundaries and take charge of their own future. We also encourage the media to rally stakeholders such as the media, parents, traditional leaders, governments and other stakeholders to play their part in advancing girls’ rights.
The media also has a duty to highlight the various challenges that are stopping girls from realising their rights. It is disheartening to see girls, especially in rural and peri-urban areas, being deprived of their rights because of stereotypes and traditional practices that disadvantage the girl child. These include stereotypes and social exclusion of girls, and negative practices such as child and forced marriages, sexual abuse, child labour, gender-based violence, among others. These practices take away girls’ dignity and limit their potential to contribute to society and future generations.
Panos is currently implementing a number of projects to amplify girls’ voices, supporting them to stand up for their rights and become unstoppable. We are working with the media and other stakeholders to address the barrier that are stopping girls, such as child labour, child marriage, sexual abuse and gender-based violence.
We are confident that with the right support, girls will become an unstoppable force for Southern Africa’s development.
Executive Director, Panos Institute Southern Africa (PSAf)
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