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NGO organizes ‘Glow with grace summit 2019’ to celebrate girl child

Members of Graced for Active Progress Empowerment Initiative (GAP) celebrates the girl child in grand style i Kaduna

By Emma Onotevure, Senior Correspondent, Kaduna


Globally, 11th October is celebrated annually as the International Day for the Girl Child. It originated about 25 years ago at the Fourth World Conference on Women with the aim to recognize the rights of girls/women and create a comprehensive agenda for women empowerment.



In keeping with tradition, a Non-Governmental Organization; Graced for Active Progress Empowerment Initiative in Nigeria has continued to celebrate this auspicious date with women and young girls, especially those in secondary schools and tertiary institutions with the aim of creating a strong awareness and sensitization campaign.



GAP Empowerment Initiative in Nigeria which is founded by Dr. Grace A. John-Ugwuanya, in commemoration of the global event, has recently organized the “Glow With Grace Summit 2019” which seeks to enlighten and empower young girls and women with the aim of providing a stronger platform that will enable them develop their full potentials


Speaking with news men at the event which was held at the Kaduna state University, KASU, she disclosed that the purpose of the event is to create a platform that will bring together, girls and women from different cadre in Kaduna State.



According to Dr. Grace, “Our vision is to raise and empower a new generation of girls/ladies that have a drive towards excellence as they navigate in different aspects of their lives”.



“The impact of this is reflected in the increased number of successful women who are outstanding in their various fields. We are beginning to observe a decline in early marriage, improvement in skills acquisition, more attention in reproductive and sexual health and even a gradual increase in number of women represented in politics”, she stated.



Reacting to the recognition accorded to women in the Kaduna state Government under the el-Rufai administration, Dr. John-Ugwuanya has this to say:



“We won’t forget to appreciate the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasiru Ahmed el-Rufai for having a good representation of women in his cabinet”.



Revealing further, the GAP Empowerment Initiative in Nigeria founder said “the theme for the International Day for the Girl Child 2019 is Girl Force: Unscripted and Unstoppable. We desire that in Kaduna State and Nigeria as a whole, there will be a new crop of girls and women who will break out beyond the status quo and become a force to reckon with”.



“We are pressing for a fast decline in child marriage because it stagnates the girl-child from pursuing her education while her male counterpart is progressing. In the long run, she doesn’t develop her mental capacity; seek relevance in the society, not to mention the associated health risks with child-marriage”.



“Let us not forget about low self-esteem that has plagued many girls due to gender-based violence and other unpleasant circumstances that they may have been exposed to. Remember, a girl who does not believe in herself and has no confidence in her abilities, will transit into a woman who believes that she does not deserve the best”, she stated.



“That is not the new crop of girls and women that we want to raise in this technology-driven era. We need women who are skilled in software engineering, aviation, medical research, artificial intelligence and relevant soft skills that will enable them to be integrated fully in today’s digital society”, she said.



Enlightening the gathering further, Dr. Grace A. John-Ugwuanya noted that one topic that has flooded the media recently is the issue of rape, sexual abuse, sexual molestation and exploitation.



“Previously, we talked about those who live a promiscuous lifestyle; but how do you explain a one-month old baby who is being raped by a 50 years old man? What about the serial killing of girls who are raped, killed and dumped? She asked. We are quick to say: “she is a runs-girl”; but we have also had innocent girls who have been kidnapped, raped and killed”.

“Those who survived often live with the stigma and unpleasant thoughts about the experience”, she stressed.

“This is where we need the cooperation and support of parents and guardians because some of these girls cannot even confide in anyone out of fear of being judged or discriminated”, she appealed.



Tasked on what she hopes to achieve with her foundation as it pertains to developing the girl-child and women generally, Dr. Grace said; “How far a woman excels in life depends on her mental state of your wholeness. We seek to raise whole women and it begins from today. The Glow With Grace Summit will also put in place a mentorship platform that will transcend beyond today as we seek to instill the principles that will be like a guidepost in the course of our unique journey”.



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