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Plan International celebrates International Day of the Girl

By Alie Sonta Kamara 

Plan International Sierra Leone joined countries the world over to celebrate the International Day of the Girl 2015 at a well attended ceremony hosted at the Family Kingdom, Aberdeen Beach last Saturday to ponder this year’s celebration theme ‘The Power of the Adolescent Girl for vision 2030’.

The occasion brought together distinguished ladies from high places, government officials, celebrities, UN agencies, civil society activists, school pupils, musicians and the media to celebrate and highlight the challenges faced by the girl child.

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Chairing a three-hour long speech making and deliberation, Lawyer Yasmin Jusu- Sherriff, said the global celebration is held each year to recognize girls as possible leaders and sustainers of our society. “All women were once girls. So we should give our time and energy to support activities of the girl child,” she told the gathering.

Youth Minister Hon. Alimammy Koroma said they believe in upholding the right of the girl child and that girls should be educated and protected.

The Deputy Minister of the Gender Ministry Mustapha Bai Attila revealed that Plan International was the first organization to advocate for the setting aside of an international recognized day of the girl child. “Girls have the potential to change the world,” he said.

Alhaji Dr. Mohamed Kamara, Chief Education Officer at the Ministry of Education Science and Technology, stressed on the maxim that educating a girl means educating a nation. He pointed out how the increase in teenage pregnancy is alarming. “The protection of the girls should be the business of every sector. Being a girl is a fundamental stage to being a woman. We are committed to the fight of seeing that girls reach their full potential,” he maintained, adding that they want to elevate the gender disparity of boys against girls in senior secondary school.

Plan International Country Director, Casely Ato Coleman, said Plan was formed in 1927 and it is present in eighty countries around the globe. He disclosed that the organization has invested over ten million dollars in gender-based issues over the years. “We are working with the Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs to harmonize the child marriage act. Our focus is to develop children and promote girl child activities,” he said, launching a report on the girl child.

 

Delivering the keynote address, Her Excellency the first Lady of Sierra Leone, Sia Nyama Koroma, congratulated Plan warmly for the laudable strides to promote the rights of the girl child. “This day is observed in different ways as girls assume different roles in society. We should reduce the challenges adolescent girls face since they have the potential to change the world if supported during their adolescence,” she said, calling on NGOs to put girls at the forefront of their activities.

The awarding of women, girls, celebrities, writers and organizations that have championed the activities of the girl child formed a significant part of the celebration ceremony.

The staging of a short skit by Girls Power and a performance of by Millicent Rose climaxed the three-hour long celebration and speech making.

 

 

 

 

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