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How active data collection can help alleviate plight of the girl child

By Oludare Richards, Abuja   |   18 October 2016   |   12:45 am

PHOTOS: AP Photo/Sunday Alamba

PHOTOS: AP Photo/Sunday Alamba

Data collection and analysis has been described as necessary tool required in identifying and addressing challenges and plight of the girl-child especially in hard to reach communities absent of basic infrastructure and facilities.

A non-governmental organisation (NGO) with UN ECOSCOC consultative status, Tabitha Cumi Foundation (TCF), launched its Data Movement initiative in its bid to contribute to resolving challenges of data collection on girls especially in rural communities.

A thematic approach into the focus of the United Nations endorsed International Day of the Girl-Child explains that for progress to be made in alleviating issues being faced by girls in hard-to-reach and suburban areas, set goals could only be adequately addressed from research-based information and statistics.

The Data Movement by TCF was derived as sequel to its Girl’s Safety Initiative scheme, launched with the support of the Australian Aid, last year. It is a follow-up to initiative aimed at promoting security awareness, peace building, conflict resolution, life building skills, mentorship and addressing some of the multiplicity of challenges facing girls education and widening access to education for girls.

Violence against girls, child abuse, child marriage and maternal mortality were also among issues outlined as ongoing challenges being face by girls.The minister of Women Affairs, represented by Mrs. Florence Ose of the ministry’s Child development department, at the Tabitha Cumi event, said men can also do a lot for women and they have a pivotal role to play in protection of the girl child0.

“Girls are being violated and abused and all hands must be on deck to help girls in the area of abuse. These girls need empowerment, encouragement and mentoring,” she said.

Representatives of over 50 young girls from five local communities around the FCT, including Dei Dei, Durumi, Dutse with Mashafa and Jikoko in Mpape, who attended the International Day of the Girl Child celebration organized by Tabitha Cumi at Millennium Park in Abuja, yesterday, identified at least four of the issues as challenges that exist in their communities.

According to the TCF director, Mrs. TayoErinle, “the aim of the data collection project is to give girls in hard to reach communities of the FCT the opportunity to speak out on areas of marginalization and the need to actively participate in the global girl data collection movement to drive policy decisions.

Mrs. Erinle said the importance of data collected cannot be over emphasised because if proper data collection is done, a figure or estimate of girls with access to education in rural areas can be known.

“There are communities where the nearest school is at a great distance and there are situations where some girls are not allowed to proceed beyond the primary school level.

“We also have issues of maternal mortality, though it is reducing, we still have women dying from childbirth. Also is domestic violence against women and girls.“If these things are properly documented and analysed, they can be used to support facilities to put things in place and help them in future,” Erinle said.

The #BringBackOurGirls have expressed sadness to have to commemorate the International Day of the Girl Child without 218 girls who were abducted by Boko Haram from a secondary school in Chibok, Nigeria on April 14, 2014.

The group said that since their abduction, the day observed by members of the United Nations has had an even greater significance for the Chibok community, concerned Nigerians and the world because the themes are poignant reminders of how much the abductions highlights the long road to removing the barriers that continue to face girls around the world.

The 2016 theme for the fifth International Day of the Girl Child, “Girls’ Progress = Goals’ Progress: What Counts for Girls,” focusses on the impact of girls’ progress on their own development, their families’, communities’, and nations’.

The group reminded that the Chibok girls went to school to take advantage of the opportunity for a better life for themselves, their parents, family and community.

In a statement signed by ObyEzekwesili and Aisha Yesufu, the BBOG said it shares the frustration of the United Nations and the world in its efforts to closing existing gaps in data on girls and young women, lack of systematic analysis, and limited use of existing data which significantly limits the ability to monitor and communicate the wellbeing and progress of half of humanit

The statement read that the paucity of data is not limited to girls, but also boys, and is a nation-wide problem, particularly when it comes to vulnerable people and humanitarian issues.

“Behind every data though is a human soul. Girls that we capture in numbers and are unable to have the opportunities of life, to be the best that they could become, delay our achievement of global goals.

The group explained this as reason for the formation of a partnership with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), in June 2015, to establish a Missing Persons’ database.

“We believe that every Nigerian life matters and that any one lost, killed, or injured, must be accounted for”.The group promised in the statement that it will continue demanding for the rescue of the Chibok girls, even 30 months after their abduction.

“Every other young woman who is physically, mentally, socially, economically or even politically shut away from freedom to aspire, must become an inspiration to make all numbers of the global girls become global goals,” the statement further read.

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