SADC Parliamentary Forum commemorates International Girl Child Day 2023
The Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) this week joined the world in commemorating the International Day of the Girl Child.
The International Day of the Girl is observed annually on 11 October, focusing attention on the need to address issues that girls face, as well as promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.
On this day, the SADC PF recognizes the importance of empowering girl children in Africa through adequate food, shelter, health care, and education to “ensure that they become the leaders of tomorrow.”
Furthermore, the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030, which is premised in large part on gender equality, suggests that girl children must be treated equally and without discrimination in comparison to boys, who are often given better chances and opportunities in life, according to the Forum.
“In this regard, investment in programmes that support girl children is absolutely necessary to fill prevailing gender gaps and assist girl children to garner the skills and competencies that will elevate them to positions of leadership and responsibility. The Forum associates itself fully with the UNICEF-led campaign “Invest in girls’ rights: our leadership, our well-being” which calls for a significant increase in investments to support adolescent girls. Parliaments should thus work to promote legislation that protects girl children, adopt budgets that empower girl children through targeted programmes, and proceed with oversight initiatives that hold Government accountable for the need to effectively implement measures that provide education, health care, and a stable life to young girls and adolescents,” SADC-PF Secretary General Boemo Sekgoma said.
She further noted that the Forum will also continue to assist Parliaments and partners to domesticate legal norms around the protection of the girl child by advocating for the progressive incorporation of the SADC Model Law on Child Marriage and other international instruments like the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child developed by the African Union.
“The Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 and Africa Agenda 2063 will heavily depend on a future where girl children are fully empowered to become capable adults who can change the world for the better,” she added.
In conclusion, Sekgoma stated that the Forum will continue to “relentlessly” push for projects that protect girl children who are at the core of stable and inclusive societies and represent the heart of Africa’s existential future in the coming decade. “May girl children continue to prosper in Southern Africa and beyond!”