By Demissew Bizuwork
Girls, boys, teachers, education officials, parents and members of partner organizations all marched on the streets of Addis Ababa to celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child on Friday October 11, 2013. Accompanied by the rhythm of the Police marching band, the mass walk all the way from the Bureau of Education, to the Janmeda youth centre. The streets also came alive with colourful banners bearing messages such as “getting girls in school is yours, mine and everyone’s responsibility” “let’s Retain girls in school” “Innovating for Girls Education”
Following the walk, officials from the Ministry of Education, UNICEF, UNESCO and other partners reviewed progress on girls’ education in Ethiopia. The panel highlighted the challenges on girls’ education and proposed suggestions for improving access, retention and achievement of girls through primary, secondary and tertiary education. Furthermore, some strategies for retaining girls in school such as peer support programmes, additional teacher support as well as linkages among girls at primary with those in secondary, among secondary with those in tertiary were shared.
UNICEF celebrates International Day of the Girl Child
Even though gender equality is on the table for the Post-2015 discussions, girls per se have little space in the discourse. In particular, girls’ education, acknowledged as the foundational basis not only for gender equality, but for a number of development outcomes is receiving limited and diluted attention.
Today October 11, 2013 International Day of the Girl Child is celebrated by UNICEF. As the lead organization for the day, UNICEF selected the theme “Innovating for Girls’ Education”, in recognition of the need for new, creative solutions to this very old challenge. We want to highlight the many different shapes innovation can take – technology is but one. This event provides an opportunity for global leaders from the UN, civil society and the private sector to hear girls’ voices and their innovative potential, and respond on how these can be reflected in the Post 2015 agenda, especially with regard to girls’ education.
UNICEF Ethiopia Goodwill Ambassador, Hannah Godefa, will be speaking during the event at HQ. Fifteen year old Hannah involved in humanitarian activities when she visited her native land, Ethiopia, for the first time. Coming from Canada, Hannah got her inspiration when she interacted with local girls from the countryside who lack access to basic education materials. ”Even though I was happy to see my extended family, I was also very sad to see children my age that do not get much food, medicine, quality education and orphaned due to HIV and AIDS.” said Hannah.
Touched by such an impoverished situation, she became the founder of “Pencil Mountain”; a resource mobilization project on basic school supplies to support children in remote areas of Ethiopia. More about Hannah Godefa
The event will be live streamed on http://www.unicef.org/gender/gender_66021.html and you can join the discussions by following #dayofthegirl and @UNICEFEthiopia on twitter
Check out inspiring stories from children in Ethiopia