Maximising their Potential, to Eradicate Poverty – The Girl Child.
Life across the globe is lived with certain basic features, which are in actual sense timeless and universal. In certain instances, the way people live is determined by political, economic or social conditions of a given geographical area. This does not take away the fact that there are universal basic needs of any human being that must be in existence for one to survive. Talk of food, health care, clean water, shelter and freedom of choice. This goes ahead to lay a foundation for several human rights that we must respect and uphold. A myriad of people have found themselves living under appalling conditions, others have been forced to live under dehumanising conditions due to cultural bondages, conflict and poverty. In loose terms, if one is found to be in a condition where he or she is poor, he or she is deemed to be living in the viscous circle of poverty. The ugly head of poverty will be evident in all situations where people lack means of meeting their basic needs like clean water, food, education, shelter and healthcare. According to World Bank Group,
“Nearly 1.1 billion fewer people are living in extreme poverty than in 1990. More than half of the extreme poor live in Sub-Saharan Africa. The majority of the global poor live in rural areas, are poorly educated, employed in the agricultural sector, and under 18 years of age.”
Note that, Liberia, The Central African Republic, Burundi, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Niger, Malawi, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Madagascar and Comoros, are reported as the poorest countries in the world. With all these countries registering high levels of illiteracy, conflict tendencies and early marriages, one can see the hindering factors. Strides have been taken to eradicate poverty, but there is still a lot to be done.
In Burundi, a small land locked East African nation, conflict has contributed greatly to the high poverty levels. With conflict, women and children have become more vulnerable in the different communities, resulting in refugee situations in different neighboring countries. This has made access to markets, medical care and schools hard. Girls are forced into situations of getting into marriage earlier, as a means of getting their basic needs and feeling protected. These early marriages have led to a big and dependent young population, with the majority being girls. In a nation where the majority of the young population is forced to remain dependent and cannot access basic needs with ease, poverty will definitely rule. The Central African Republic, is not in any way different but it presents a unique scenario. Potential of different societies is limited by conflict and deeply rooted cultural ties. Rebels control certain parts of the nation. Rape is greatly used as a tool of war to disempower villages. This kind of inhuman acts only act against progress and development of the girl child – she finds herself as the victim here.
If you look critically at other Sub Saharan nations like Uganda and Rwanda that have made some progress in poverty reduction over time, You will note; that empowering females from a tender age has greatly contributed to the results. With more girls accessing free education in Uganda, more girls have successfully competed with males in the job market and more females have greatly contributed to the financial growth of their respective families. So conditions of abject poverty increase the risk of girls being subject to violence of any kind. This violence disempowers the girls and makes it so hard for them to freely express themselves in terms of developing their potential in an environment that keeps them under bondage of violence.
Factors that have kept poverty alive in certain communities like conflict have greatly contributed to fatal decisions taken by girls as they look for means of survival. Dropping out of school, early marriages and absolute control under forced marriages. In such situations girls do not develop their talents, they do not develop their skills, and they do not improve on their knowledge. Many are forced to remain dormant mothers that only wait for their spouses to provide for the home. With such a gross dependent relationship, poverty levels in a society increase tremendously. When females are constrained from reaching their full potential, their potential is lost to the whole society. With this age of wisdom, we should know, empowering the girl child is intrinsically linked to sustainable development. Girl child empowerment will definitely expose families and societies to more opportunities. How then can we empower the girl child to eradicate poverty?
Listen to them and given them a decent education. Before you make a choice to go to war, listen to the silent voice of the majority that are most vulnerable during conflict. The desire to succeed and grow is rooted deep inside every young girl. This is all covered in un-utilized abilities that are God given. When leaders and societies listen to their dreams and work to see them come alive, more opportunities will grow in our societies. Surely, educate a girl and the nation will overflow in knowledge and development. This also means, violence must be done away with. Violence against girls is aimed at silencing them, making it hard to express themselves and therefore unable to maximize their potential. In all efforts and scenarios, let us strive to listen and educate the girl child.
Train them to participate in community development. We are all human, with the ability to learn and potential to establish and recreate things that change this world for the better. Training involves passing on skills that will make them employable, able to defend themselves, able to positively express themselves and able to defend society values.
Recognize their unique challenges. In rural areas where there is a scarcity of water, leaders should never take anything for granted. This does not take away the fact that the girl child experiences natural challenges that require high standards of hygiene, access to water and sanitary pads. This in actual sense will encourage continuation with school regardless of location.
At Prince Wako foundation, empowering the girl child is rooted deep inside our soul. As human beings, we are all gifted in a certain way. When we find our voice, we definitely work to help others find their voices. Girl child empowerment is a pillar in this journey of development. We therefore call upon you to do right and do better to empower the girl child for sustainable growth and eradicating poverty.