Youth and Women

Child marriages stall girls productivity: MAYO

The International Day of the African Child is commemorated annually

By Nyasha Mutena

Marvel Act Youth Organization (MAYO) Zimbabwe Trust has joined the world in celebration of the International Day of Girl Child 2021.

This year’s commemoration were held under theme ‘Digital generation’. Digital inclusion and literacy create many opportunities and open new avenues to learning, earning and leading for girls, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the pandemic has also deepened the gender divide around connectivity and online safety, with girls facing economic and social barriers to internet and device access.

MAYO Director Abel Mavura encouraged the world to consider the education of the girl child in order to avoid early marriages and for them to have productive lives. He also argued that through education they earn higher incomes, participate in the decisions that most affect them, and build better futures for themselves and their families. Girls’ education strengthens economies and reduces inequality.

“As an organization we continue to advocate for the uplifting and empowerment of the girl child, we also advocate for meaningful and effective participation and involvement in matters pertaining their development. In most cases the girl children especially those living in poor communities are left out or they lag behind on education due to poor infrastructure and support systems that enable them them better learning. Governments should invest more to bridging that gap” he said.

Women and girls represent half of the world’s population and it is crucial to accelerate their development. The world needs to pledge to empower young girls and women and give them proper healthcare, skill-based learning facilities and equal opportunities and a world free from gender-based violence and discrimination.

MAYO is a youth and women organization and its main thrust is to promote youth and women participation in leadership, governance and reproductive healthy lifestyles, empower young women and foster youth development and empowerment in Mutoko, Mudzi, and other surrounding districts in Mash East, Harare and Mash central provinces.

The International Day of the Girl Child (Oct. 11) is a global observance declared by the United Nations to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights. The Day of the Girl also focuses attention on the challenges girls face, like violence, education inequality and child marriage. It is celebrated for empowering and amplifying the voices of young girls around the world.

The reason behind the celebration of International Day of the Girl Child is to give proper education, healthcare, learning, opportunities to young girls and women. They should be safe from gender-biased violence and discrimination. According to the United Nations, girls are more likely to be cut off, pointing to a gender divide within the digital divide. It was also stated that girls are less likely than boys to be given devices, which affects their numbers in tech-related skills and jobs.’.