On October 11th 2011, Resolution 66/170 was adopted by the United Nations and the day officially became known as ‘International Day of the Girl Child.’ This commitment is further cemented in Global Goal number five, Gender Equality – a commitment to achieving gender equality and empowering ALL women and young girls.
The 2020 edition is themed ‘My Voice, Our equal future.’
Given the current state of the world, and a somewhat bleak post-Covid outlook, 2020 marks a significant point in human history. The importance of providing young girls and women with equal opportunity is more necessary than ever, enabling them to not only reimagine a better world, but to create one. Young girls are usually those who suffer most during times of crisis, whether through violence, results of natural disasters or poverty. Opportunities for growth, for choice and for equality, empowers young girls today and enables them to become leaders of tomorrow.
At JAM, we focus on school feeding, and monitoring of the number of young children in each feeding project. We believe that education is a vital ingredient for children and especially for young girls. Education enables children to make informed decisions as they progress towards adulthood. We believe in providing opportunities that will lead to a better, brighter future. In times of crisis, like the current COVID-19 pandemic, many girls drop out of school in order to earn an income and contribute to the family income. It is feared that the reopening of schools will see a massive drop in returnees, due to extra burden placed on families as a result of the pandemic. Child-marriages are a very real and sad reality for many such young girls, as often, this is seen as the only way out.
JAM has always had a special focus on protection of and provision for young children and mothers, ensuring that the most vulnerable are seen to. Malnourished mothers give birth to weak, malnourished children, creating an endless cycle of poverty. JAM’s programmes are not only aimed at providing good nutrition to children, but also to raise awareness of and educate mothers in terms of health, diet and preventative care.
Providing young girls with learning opportunities, like in Rwanda where JAM offers the choice of different vocational skills training opportunities at our skills training centre, enables young girls with a career of choice, be it a hairdresser, motor mechanic or a builder! Read more about this programme here
Empowering women in communities to plant and grow their own crops, provides them with an income and enables them to afford school fees, clothing and other provisions for their children – actively breaking repetitive cycles! JAM currently provides Food Security and Livelihood assistance to communities in Angola, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Rwanda and Uganda – https://jamint.com/programmes-and-campaigns/foodsecurity-and-livelihoods/.
JAM also has multiple female leaders within our organisation who lead with care, empathy and a real sense of empowerment! International Day of The Girl Child should be celebrated every day, opportunity for growth and development should not be limited to a single event but rather be an endless pledge to eliminating all forms of discrimination against young girls. We remain committed to pursuing our dream of an Africa that thrives, bringing hope and opportunity to young girls across the continent.
Global CEO and Co-founder