Plan International Ghana on Wednesday launched the “Girls Get Equal” Campaign in Accra to empower young women to develop and be interested in assuming leadership positions to promote national development.
The campaign on the theme: “No-One Gets Equal Until Girls Get Equal” was launched at the West and Central Africa Forum organised by Plan International for 14 African Countries in Accra.
The theme was to attract national leaders and policy makers to give girls and women, both able and with disability, adequate representation in all decision-making processes and developmental gatherings organised from the local level to the international level.
It was also to empower girls to resist being forced into practices they were unhappy with such as child marriage and child prostitution.
Participating countries were Ghana, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Guinea, Liberia, Niger, and Nigeria.
Others are Sierra Leone, Mali, Cameroon, Guinea-Bissau, Benin, Senegal, and Chad.
Mrs Cynthia Morrison, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, addressing the participants, said it was unfortunate how many girls were unaware of their rights and therefore surrendered to ill treatments meted out to them in the society.
“That is why some girls are not able to resist bad practices meted out to them like the Female Genital Mutilation,” she said.
She advised girls and boys to be selective in the kind of people they mingled with as it could negatively impact on their lives and mislead them into immoral practices.
“I always tell my children that your parents pay your school fees but only your name would appear on your certificate. So if you mingle with bad people, you are destroying your own reputation,” she said.
Mrs Morrison, who launched the campaign, commended Plan International for including males in the advocacy campaign.
She said: “If we train only the females to be advocates and not the males, we may find our beautiful and well-educated girls in the hands of such men who may underrate and maltreat them since they have no knowledge about it.”
The Minister gave the assurance that she would embark on the advocacy campaign with the Ghanaian participants of the forum to save young people on the streets to fight for equality and gender balance.
Mr Rotimy Djossaya, the Regional Director of Plan International, West and Central Africa, said the forum would enlighten the youth, especially young ladies on the power they have to change the world.
He said some parts of Africa were struggling to respect women and girls’ rights, therefore, the campaign would advocate for girls and women to be outspoken and confident to fight for their rights as well as the ability to express their minds on all issues of national interest.
He urged participants of the forum to make their advocacy actions impact-driven ones for the world to know the essence of the campaign in order to give it the necessary support.
Mr Solomon Tesfamariam, the Country Director of Plan International Ghana, urged all to join the campaign to fight for equality and balance for women and girls as they were key contributors to national development.
He said recommendations made from the summit would be submitted to relevant government institutions for consideration.