A consortium of civil society organisations (CSO) has called for the mainstreaming of the girl-child into the climate change and social justice narrative and drive across the nation.
The collective made this call during a regional summit titled “Creating a community of girl champions, raising their voices for climate change and social justice” organised by Global Glow in collaboration with Health Aid For All Initiatives (HAFAI), YiSHDA, Big Ocean, Nigeria Reads and Rotary Club International in Abuja. The group maintained the call was to enable women’s voices to be heard and help women provide solutions to the problems affecting them in climate change before planting.
In her remarks, the founder of Green Planting, Emmanuella Onyeka stressed that educating girls in planting helps to solve the problem of climate change.
“Planting can help prevent or mitigate climate change. We are talking about [getting] girls involved in climate change, show[ing] girls that they can be involved by planting and doing ‘little’ things to help the environment by reducing, reusing and recycling plastic.
“If the challenges are reduced we have more social justice and there will be equal opportunities for girls in voting, education and primary health care. Girls will be able to speak up and their voices will not just be heard but their opinions will be implemented, as well. So, at the community level and nationally, if women are a part of the decision-making process, we have so much to say,” Onyeka said.
Similarly, a mentee at Global Glow Nigeria, Keren Godwin asserted that the regional summit is for girls from different parts of the world, from HAFAI and Global Glow, to come together to network and discuss solutions to problems affecting girls.
“During dry season girls have to wake up very early and trek long distances to go get water because of water scarcity. As a result, girls go late to school and it affects their education.
“Also, we have a very alarming occurrence of gender-based violence across the country. When it comes to decision-making in communities, girls have been kicked out. We have come together to look for ways to hear girls’ and women’s voices,” she added.
Another mentee from Global Glow Nigeria, Samantha Umar said: “Girls know the issues that affect girls. We have come together to know what is going on in our community and look for a way out from these issues, network and know ourselves.
“Girls are being deprived of things that should be theirs just because they are girls. Gender-based violence is not having access to things because of your age, nationality or region. Girls are being deprived of so many things such as education. It seems it is just the woman that is being deprived.
“If we can get girls to be confident and [be] bold and speak up for themselves, they will grow up to be confident women. Girls are powerful. We have all it takes to change the world. If we are given the opportunity without limitation or barriers, Nigeria will change.”