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HomeFeatureInvestment in the girl child crucial to the country’s development

Investment in the girl child crucial to the country’s development

UN Women

Investment in the girl child crucial to the country’s development

By Allan Mbotshwa

Investment in the girl child is essential to the development and growth of nations across the globe, as they are pillars of society, this group is also the most affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic and it is paramount to offer a stepping stone to their success.

Adolescents and youth are the most affected by the pandemic as they are exposed to dangerous situations at a tender age due to various factors namely poverty, lack of knowledge, and poor incomes.

The crucial role played by adolescent girls and young women in the country’s development is significant.

Calls for continued investment in their education, and economic and social empowerment should be intensified across the continent and beyond.

In line with the Zimbabwe Constitution and under the theme of “leaving no one and no place behind”, the National Development Strategy (NDS-1) prioritizes gender equality and women empowerment.

In this context, Zimbabwe has seen the attention for girls growing, including for gender-based violence.

The country recently adopted Statutory Instrument 2 of 2024 the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) (Criminal Laws (Protection of Children and Young Persons)) Regulations 2024 which forbids the marriage of children under the age of 18, and the Government has rolled out the successful Spotlight Initiative programme to protect girls and young women against sexual abuse and exploitation, with the support of the European Union and the UN system.

The growing attention for adolescent girls and their empowerment goes beyond their rights to protection against violence and also includes access to education and skills development and to adequate health care services, including for HIV/Aids.

Girls and women rights activist, Miss Grace Kahwemba noted that there is a need for more to be done to offer equality and equity between men and women in the country through education and empowerment programmes.

“Women and girls are at the core of any country, community, society and family hence they must be accorded equal opportunities to be to contribute immensely as their male counterparts,” she said.

The challenges girls in Zimbabwe face remain important, including the risk of becoming pregnant or married at an early age. Adolescent pregnancies and child marriage are widespread in Zimbabwe.

One woman out of three is married before the age of 18. Child marriage has a devastating impact on the lives of adolescent girls. It disrupts childhood and often leads to early pregnancies with health complications, and school drop-out, preventing girls from developing their full potential.

This year in March which is known as Women’s Month more needs to be done to raise awareness of the need to empower women and girls across the country for them to have financial freedom.

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