Young girls hold the future if protected: UNFPA

06 Nov 2016 18:10pm
WINDHOEK, 06 NOV (NAMPA) – Close to 48 000 girls aged 10 around the world are at the risk of early and forced marriage.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) provided this shocking statistic during the launch of the State of the World Population 2016 report here in Namibia on Friday.
Speaking at the launch, UNFPA Representative in Namibia, Dennia Gayle said the document is aimed at exposing how the future depends on girls at the decisive age of 10.
Gayle said in some parts of the world when a girl is aged 10, it is a time to explore and expand horizons and possibilities, while in other parts of the world, 47 700 girls of that age during puberty are regarded as a commodity that is traded and trafficked for marriage, childbearing, free labour and sexual exploitation.
“With child marriage often comes pregnancies, health risks and a curtailed education, which undermines a girl’s prospect for jobs and self sufficiency.”
For millions of girls, the arrival of puberty marks the beginning of a lifetime of poverty, powerlessness and missed opportunities.
The report, she said, aims to sensitise that when a girl child enjoys her rights, is able to stay in school, be healthy and is protected from child marriages and early pregnancies, she can reach her full potential by the time she reaches adulthood.
Gayle said over the next 15 years, developing countries together stand to gain at least N.dollars 21 billion, depending on whether they invest in the well-being, education and independence of their 10-year-old girls.
“The State of the World Population 2016 shows that our collective future depends on how we support today’s 60 million 10-year-old girls as they start their journey from adolescence to adulthood.”
Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare Deputy Permanent Secretary, Martha Mbombo said with the launch of the report, the ministry will take stock of the successes and challenges the girl child experiences at the age of 10 in Namibia.
Mbombo noted that some girls in Namibia experience challenges raging from sexual harassment and rape to burden of household chores and gender-based violence (GBV).
She said Government will need to come together to address this plight.
“We should recognise that in order to realise the full potential of a girl-child, different sectors including non-governmental organisations and the private sector need to play their complementing roles in areas such as health, education, justice and poverty. We need to promote women’s rights,” Mbombo said.