Girls take the floor in Niamey

from UN Children's Fund
Published on 13 Oct 2019 View Original

Young girl leaders are proving they are unscripted and unstoppable

By Juan Haro

For the first time in the country’s history, 100 girl leaders from all the regions of Niger got together to promote girl’s rights during the 1st National Forum of Young Girls Leaders under the theme: "Women's Leadership Ensures Sustainable Development and Peacebuilding".

The room was packed with young girls. Young talents ready to claim their rights as girls. A whole movement of girls leaders with the aim to share their arguments and reclaim their place in the Nigerien society. True changemakers committed to contributing to the future of their country.

UNICEF joined forces with the Government of Niger, the local NGO New Challenge, and UNFPA to make sure that young women leaders are at the forefront of the advocacy, the peacebuilding process and the sustainable development of Niger.

‘’Several actions have been already taken to defend the rights of young girls in Niger. Today we add an important one. The creation of platforms like this one allows young leaders to become essential actors for the peace and the development of our country’’ said the Minister for the Promotion of Women and Child Protection.

During 3 days of participative activities in Niamey the participants worked together to identify effective initiatives to strengthen the role and duty of young girls leaders in the socio-economic development of the country.

"When we open opportunities for girls, we not only expand the boundaries of their dreams, but we also expand the perspectives of their families and communities.’’

‘’When a girl succeeds, her entire community wins. For us, you are champions and you have proved that you do not need superpowers to do extraordinary things" said Ilaria Carnevali, Deputy Representative of UNICEF in Niger during her intervention.

The participants mission have the duty to became young advocates and ambassadors of the most vulnerable girls across the country. They have the mission to spread out their voices, demands, concerns,to shed light on the reality of those highly affected by inequality and foster changes within their respective communities.

With this initiative, UNICEF seeks to create new platforms of discussion, exchange, freedom of expression based on focus groups that will serve as a reference framework for young girls leaders of Niger. The forum will provide recommendations to the authorities, non-governmental organizations, and the concerned development actors on the role of girls in the promotion and consolidation of peace in Niger and to influence policy decision-making.

This initiative has been possible thanks to the financial support the UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage. The Global Programme promotes the rights of adolescent girls to avert marriage and pregnancy, and enables them to achieve their aspirations through education and alternative pathways.

The Global Programme is generously supported by the Governments of Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom and the European Union, as well as Zonta International.