The Inclusion Project (TIP), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), has called on the Federal Government and other levels of government in Nigeria, to take urgent action for the advancement and protection of the rights of the Girl Child in Nigeria.
The call was made by Pamela Okoroigwe, director, TIP, during the recent celebration of the International Day of the Girl Child with the theme: ‘Invest in Girls’ Rights.’
The International Observance Day for the Girl Child is celebrated to increase awareness of gender inequality faced by girls worldwide based on their gender and this inequality is largely seen in the areas of access to education, violence against women and girls, and lack of WASH facilities for girls in school, amongst other issues.
In a statement signed by Okoroigwe, a copy of which was made available to BusinessDay, she said: “Government should as a matter of urgency advance and protect the rights of the Girl Child in Nigeria.
“We also urge the Nigerian government to urgently come up with a policy that will ensure the provision of functional, safe, inclusive, and gender-responsive Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) facilities in all schools in Nigeria to ensure healthy menstrual management, protect students from the risks of open defecation, and prevent WASH-related infections due to the lack of water and hand-washing facilities in schools.”
She explained that “TIP was deeply worried that many secondary schools in Nigeria lack adequate WASH facilities and this has detrimental consequences for girls’ attendance, academic performance, and overall well-being. According to a UNICEF report, out of the 10 million Nigerian children who are currently out of school, 60percent of them are girls. The lack of WASH facilities in schools not only impact their educational progress but also perpetuates gender disparities and reinforces stereotypes that undermine the advancement of girls in our society.
“TIP firmly believes that investing in girls’ education and ensuring access to Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) facilities in schools is an affirmative action geared towards the brighter future and overall well-being of every girl child in Nigeria.”
According to the release, “TIP is presently raising awareness of menstrual hygiene management among girls in schools and communities in Imo and Kano State. Under this project, TIP has embarked on awareness campaigns and conducted advocacy visits to increase awareness of the proper menstrual hygiene management in schools to keep girls safe in schools. In this regard, TIP strongly advocates that the government at all tiers should partner with both private and public-school management authorities for the provision of mensural pads in school toilets to ensure accessibility of same to the girls, especially at a time like this when the cost of mensural pads is getting very expensive and unaffordable to these girls.”
The group said it celebrated alongside girls at Ideal Crystal School, Debby, and Ruby Schools in Lagos State and Premium International Secondary School, Imo State during the International Day of the Girl Child.
“TIP organised a debate for the girls and educated them on their fundamental rights. The girls made a clarion call to the government to provide menstrual hygiene facilities to all girls in schools to support learning and ensure they do not miss classes because of period shame,” the director said.