WHEN women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 % of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 % for a man, studies have shown.
On December 19, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to declare October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child, establishing a day to recognise girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.
This international day will promote equal treatment and opportunities for girls around the world in areas such as law, nutrition, health care, education, training, and freedom from violence and abuse. It will promote girls’ rights, highlight gender inequalities that remain between girls and boys and address the various forms of discrimination and abuse suffered by girls around the globe.
The International Day of the Girl Child gives people and organisations the opportunity to raise public awareness of the different types of discrimination, abuse and challenges that many girls around the world still suffer from. This day will make a difference in the lives of girls and young women as citizens and as powerful voices of change in their families, their communities and their nations.
g Why pay attention to girls?
Commemorating the International Day of the Girl Child is not only about girls, but is about boys; moms and dads; villages and towns; and countries. Whilst there has been very little research done to understand how investments in girls impact economic growth, health and well-being of communities, existing research suggests that their impact can reach much further than expected.
Young people, even those living in poverty, are uniquely capable of creating a better future, but when a girl reaches adolescence, she comes to crossroads – things can go one of two ways for her and for everyone around her. If she gets a chance to access education; she stays healthy and prevents herself from HIV, get married when she chooses and raises a healthy family, and has the opportunity to raise the standard of living of herself and her family. If none of these things happens, chances are, she stays illiterate; she is married off, isolated, gets pregnant, vulnerable to HIV and AIDS and gets her family stuck in a cycle of poverty.
g Some global facts & statistics
The ripple effect
When a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children.
An extra year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10 to 20 %. An extra year of secondary school by 15 to 25 %.
g Health & the girl child
Medical complications from pregnancy are the leading cause of death among girls aged 15 to 19 worldwide. Compared with women ages 20 to 24, girls ages 10 to 14 are five times more likely to die from childbirth, and girls 15 to 19 are up to twice as likely, worldwide.
75% of 15- to 24-year-olds living with HIV in Africa are females, up from 62 % in 2001.
g Education Gaps
Approximately one-quarter of girls in developing countries are not in school. Out of the world’s 130 million out-of-school youth, 70 % are girls.
g Child marriage & early child birth
One girl in seven in developing countries marries before age 15.
38 % marry before age 18.
One-quarter to half of girls in developing countries become mothers before age 18; 14 million girls aged 15 to 19 give birth in developing countries each year.
A survey in India found that girls who married before age 18 were twice as likely to report being beaten, slapped, or threatened by their husbands as were girls who married later.
Save the children hails King on Children’s Bill
SAVE the Children Swaziland has hailed His Majesty King Mswati III for signing the Children’s Protection and Welfare Bill 2010 into an Act.
In a statement, Save the Children Communications and Marketing Officer Senelile Khumalo said this has shown that in the heart of His Majesty the welfare and protection of Swazi children was of paramount importance.
“Save the Children Swaziland is humbly gratified by the assenting of the Children’s Protection and Welfare Bill 2010 into an Act by His Majesty King Mswati III. The King has assented to the Bill into an Act at a time when we have been witnessing the escalating numbers of children who are being abused in different ways,” she said.
Khunalo said the country would now be reclassified as child friendly because of the protective legislative environment it has provided to its children, adding that this was definitely a remarkable year for children and it would bring smiles to their faces.
“As an organisation that also has the best interest of the child in heart we are thrilled by his Majesty’s action since through this law our work in child protection will be turned into reality. This is a reality considering the maximum protection that the law provides for children and also considering that it has been a culmination of over six years of extensive discussions and consultations, lobbying, advocacy since civil society organisations has been engaged in the process,” she said.
Deputy Prime Minister, Themba Masuku during the official opening of the Swaziland International Trade Fair 2012 last week, said the King, by signing the Bill into law, has protected a future generation that currently counts for 49.2% of the country’s population. “Thank you, thank you, thank you again Your Majesty,” the DPM said.
He also lauded His Majesty for establishing the Youth Enterprise Revolving Fund, with a capital standing at E10 million in February 2006. He said the money has been disbursed in accordance with regulations that government put into place.
He stated that by the end of next month, a total of 800 young people would have benefited from the fund and in the process created more than 1 000 job opportunities, thus reducing the unemployment rate among the young people of Swaziland.
... launches SWADRIP
SAVE the Children Swaziland, in partnership with Christoffel Blinden Mission Deutschland (CBM-Germany) have committed to the implementation of Swaziland Disability Rights and Inclusion Project (SWADRIP) supported by the European Union (EU).
The project was launched on Wednesday at Mountain Inn. Senator Tom Mndzebele was guest speaker. The two year project endeavours to provide a platform upon which an improvement in the quality of lives of people with disabilities is realised through enjoyment of fundamental rights, inclusion in socio-economic, cultural and decision making at all levels.
Save the Children Communications and Marketing Officer, Senelile Khumalo explained that the project, which is a two-year initiative, was aimed at strengthening the role of Disabled Persons Organisations (DPO) to effectively advocate, promote and defend the rights of people with disabilities in Swaziland.