How our Global Youth Ambassadors celebrated Day of the African Child
Children with disabilities, Girls' education, Global Youth Ambassadors, Health and education convergence, Right to education
Helping girls to stay in school, highlighting the challenges of disabled children and meeting the winner of Nigeria's Big Brother TV show were among the activities.
Day of the African Child is marked each year on June 16 by events and awareness programmes.
Our Global Youth Ambassadors network is a group of over 900 young people across 85 countries advocating and campaigning for education change around the world.
Here some of them tell what they did to celebrate Day of the African Child.
Enock Nkulanga (Uganda)
On Day of the African Child, myself and the team at African Children’s Mission put together an event where we brought together about 60 young girls from our sponsorship programme to receive Days for Girls kits.
These kits contain six reusable sanitary pads and they should last between two and four years. You can see more information here.
These kits are an innovative and sustainable solution that help shatter stigmas and limitations for women and girls.
Before being given the kits, the girls were trained on how to use and maintain the sanitary towels.
It is so important for women and girls to receive this help and support, as currently millions of girls around the world still miss school because of a lack of sanitary products.
Through our experience of working daily with young girls on various programmes, we have found that many challenges are facing girls going to school such as school fees, illness and lack of materials.
We want to stop a girl’s menstrual cycle being an additional barrier to her education.
In Uganda, at least 20% of young girls report they have missed school at least once during their menstrual cycle. Studies have shown that when 10% more girls go to and stay in school, their country’s GDP increases on average by 3%. Therefore, we need to be encouraging girls to go, and stay, in school.
We are also grateful to Days for Girls who chose to work with us and kindly donated the sanitary pads to the girls.
We are very happy these girls can now stay in school for the next two to three years without their menstrual cycle interrupting or stopping them from being in school.
Raji Oluwatobi (Nigeria)
On Day of the African Child, my organisation Hope For Us Charity collaborated with a community-based organisation called Ipaja Community Link to host an event on sensitising local people to the importance of education.
We wanted to highlight the importance of education to parents, guardians and children in the area.
Our target was to reach out to vulnerable children living in rural communities, to preach the effect of quality education and the power it can give to children to escape the cycle of violence, rape, child marriage, child labour and more.
The event was graced by child advocates, parents, children, teachers, NGOs and concerned citizens working for children’s rights.
Also some international organisations such as the Rotary Club showed interest in giving their support towards achieving this shared goal.
During the event we were able to gather details of a few vulnerable children who are not currently in school. With their details we are able to follow up and hopefully get them into school.
Sarah Mwikali (Kenya)
To celebrate Day of the African Child, I organised two events. The first was a live Twitter chat with the theme “Leave No Child with Disability Behind for Africa’s Development”. The hashtag for this event was #InclusivedevelopmentKE.
Many of the guests in the chat were from Kenya and Nigeria. People from various organisations joined in and contributed to topics such as best practices and challenges African children are experiencing.
We are now working on a report which we will use to influence policy-making in Kenya. The main aim of this chat was to create discussion around the diverse challenges facing children with disabilities.
For the second event my organisation, in collaboration with local schools and organisations, prepared a leadership, mentorship and fun day for over 500 class eight boys (10-14 years old) from 10 different schools.
This forum targeted not only the boys but also the teachers. We not only mentored the children but we also played sports with them, as well as hosting a talent show to appreciate the different talents these children have and the need to nurture them.
We organised this event because, for a long time now, the boy child in Kenya is said to have been left behind and the girl child given more attention – which is losing our boys to gambling and other illegal activities.
Also, their academic performance has been deteriorating year on year so we need to step in and intervene. This mentorship will continue to help them to stay in school, as well as grow into responsible men.
We want to support inclusive development for boys and girls across the whole of Kenya.
Isaac Success Omoyele (Nigeria)
Big Brother Naija 2018 is a reality TV show that has gained considerable popularity in Nigeria. The winner of the latest season, Miracle Igbokwe, was the surprise guest on Day of the African Child at our Dreams from the Slumcentre in an Araromi community of Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government Area.
Surprised at how his popularity has soared in the ghetto, the Big Brother Naija winner said he never believed children would recognise him.
“It’s great to know that these kids call my name with such popular attitude. I am excited,” he said.
According to Miracle: “Today, on the 16th of June, we join the world in commemoration of the 1976 student uprising in Soweto, South Africa.
“We celebrate with the community coming together to raise awareness for the rights of a child to quality education. Let us all make great efforts to leave no child behind for Africa’s development.”
I identified three children from our organisation who wanted to become pilots, just like Miracle. “You can do better than me, if only you put your hearts to it,” Miracle said to the children.
The soft-spoken winner, who claimed his journey was not particularly rosy, said he was happy to struggle his way to become a pilot because he believed he can do it.
He filled the children with enthusiasm and encouraged them to continue to believe in their dreams. They were delighted to be in the presence of an A-list celebrity in Ajegunle and it was a really positive experience for everyone.