CALLS FOR INCREASED INVESTMENT IN ADOLESCENT GIRLS’ RIGHTS

By Vincess Okushi

An estimated 26 million adolescent girls (ages 10-19) in Nigeria have been described as active agents of change and not passive bystanders

UNICEF Representative in Nigeria Cristian Munduate made the expression in a statement to commemorate the International Day of the Girl today, 11th October 2023.

Munduate while appealing to Nigeria for increased investments in adolescent wellbeing says this will enable her to meet the 2030 SDGs, thereby spotlighting the marginalized groups in the society.

Adding that the time to echo their voices louder in the halls of decision-making is now, and advocates for girls’ education to foster the rights of adolescents.

“The potential of our girls is limitless, but we must first provide them with the platforms to express, learn, and thrive. Our commitment to this cause is unwavering and paramount for the nation’s progress

In a rapidly evolving world, the dreams and aspirations of our adolescent girls are the beacons that can guide our efforts towards a more inclusive, equitable future.”

In Nigeria, the stakes are high for an estimated 26 million adolescent girls (ages 10-19). To ensure Nigeria remains on course for the 2030 SDGs, the spotlight must shine brightest on its girls, especially those marginalized due to disability, poverty, or crises, and those who are pregnant, parenting, or married. Our collective responsibility extends to championing girls’ education, preventing harmful cultural practices, advancing menstrual hygiene, offering tailored health services, and meeting the nutritional requirements of these young ladies.

Girls from UNICEF’s program in Katsina and Sokoto, for instance, have put forth actionable demands—ranging from life skills training and accessible digital devices to the critical involvement of fathers in girls’ education.

On this International Day of the Girl, UNICEF Nigeria calls for renewed vigor in safeguarding and fostering the rights of adolescent girls. Their boundless potential deserves nothing less than the country’s utmost commitment and investment, we the focus on the well-being and rights of all, especially girls, becomes even more critical.

UNICEF emphasizes that despite strides made, as the nation approaches the midpoint of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) journey, the World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report 2023 indicates a sobering 131 years before it achieves full gender parity.

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