In celebrating the International Day of the Girl Child on October 11, Tanzania joined everyone who believes that girls should experience happy childhoods, free of violence and discrimination. The message was simple: Girl Power – “Shikilia Ndoto Yako”
This year in Tanzania, the Ministry of Community Development, Gender and Children along with the United Nations declared the focus to be on ‘Girl Power’ – the power of girls to contribute to national progress and help transform our world. Gender equality is among the 17 Global Goals endorsed last month by the United Nations General Assembly as part of the Year 2030 agenda for sustainable development. The Global Goals will give Tanzania and all other United Nations member states the opportunity to commit to ending conditions of poverty, violence, exclusion and discrimination – towards realizing our vision of a world where there is dignity for all, including girls.
The day was marked both in Mainland and Zanzibar in collaboration with the Government, UN, development partners, youth organizations and partners working on health sector and girl child issues.
In the Mainland, a Girl Power festival was held at Tandale Primary school and brought hundreds of girls from different schools and organizations. It was a day for girls to share their dreams, fun, music from a renowned artist – Mwasiti and two brave girls: a former domestic worker who now fights for the rights of domestic workers in Mwanza and a girl who wrote a letter to Obama shared their inspirational words.
Speaking during the event, UNFPA Representative, Dr. Natalia Kanem said, “As a community we need to better support and encourage girls, so that they are aware of and claim their rights, and use their power to transform their future.” Dr. Kanem added, “One way is by opening the lines of communication and becoming advocates for the laws and policies that make a difference for girls and young women. Another big factor that activates ‘Girl Power’ is education. The relationship between girls’ education and a good future is well established.”
In Zanzibar, 100 girls and boys from SOS Children’s Villages, Zanzibar Children’s Council, YUNA, and ZAPHA+, aged 10 to 20 years old, took part in a ‘FunShop’ where interactive and inspiring discussion were held with five young role models girls who spoke out to inspire other young girls to follow their brave footsteps.
As well as break-out sessions on the rights of girls, the participants enjoyed an engaging and thought-provoking theatre piece by THESODE on ending violence against children, and music from two talent girl musicians from the Dhow Country Music Academy.
One of the role models, Suhaila Msham Mwarimwana, 16 years old, Young Reporters Network Zanzibar, said, “By the year 2030 I would like to see a participation at 100% of Zanzibari girls in social, political, economic and developmental issues”.
Now is the time to break the silence and talk to our daughters – to help them activate their ‘Girl Power’ and soar above the clouds.