Speech by Kudzai Taranhike the Junior Mayoress of the Bulawayo Junior City Council for the Day of the Girl

The principle of “All children, all rights is still much too far to be a reality”, these words were said by the United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan in the year 2000 and yet this has still proven to be true.

A pleasant day to you all, I am the Junior Mayoress of the City of Bulawayo Kudzai Taranhike. It is an honor to be standing in your presence as it is a day declared to celebrate the existence of the girl child.

Ladies and gentlemen today, the world has chosen to focus on girls like me and I’m happy that we’ve come together to commemorate this very important day. I’m however pained by the numerous challenges that we as girls face each and every day of our lives. More than 110 million children women worldwide are currently not going to school, and surprisingly enough 60% of these are girls and my question is why? Even worse, research has shown that in some Sub-Saharan countries, adolescent girls have HIV infection rates of up to five times higher than adolescent boys. Ladies and gentlemen I would like to pose a question to you right now. Why is it that girls are facing such painful situations in their lives?

The key reason to girls facing all these problems is because of their vulnerability as compared to the opposite sex. We as girls are exposed to danger and various forms of abuse like child labor because we are unable to defend ourselves. This is something that I believe should come to an end.

Find the full speech here

Tomorrow is the International Day of the Girl, running under the theme "Innovating for Girls Education". This is the second ever commemoration of the International Day of the Girl after last year's commemoration which focused on ending child marriage.

Recognizing the need for fresh and creative perspectives to propel girls’ education forward, the 2013 International Day of the Girl Child will address the importance of new technology, but also innovation in partnerships, policies, resource utilization, community mobilization, and most of all, the engagement of young people themselves.

All UN agencies, Member States, civil society organizations, and private sector actors have potential tools to innovate for and with girls to advance their education. Examples of possible steps include:

  • Improved public and private means of transportation for girls to get to school—from roads, buses, mopeds, bicycles to boats and canoes;
  • Collaboration between school systems and the banking industry to facilitate secure and convenient pay delivery to female teachers and scholarship delivery to girls;
  • Provision of science and technology courses targeted at girls in schools, universities and vocational education programs;
  • Corporate mentorship programs to help girls acquire critical work and leadership skills and facilitate their transition from school to work;
  • Revisions of school curricula to integrate positive messages on gender norms related to violence, child marriage, sexual and reproductive health, and male and female family roles;
  • Deploying mobile technology for teaching and learning to reach girls, especially in remote areas.

This day is a call to young people to come up with new ideas to address the educational challenges facing girls today. Youth must rise to remove barriers to girls education which include harmful cultural practices like child marriage and gender inequalities fueling boy-child preference and exclusion of girls. New approaches must be adopted to increase funds to enable girls education, including through the availing of scholarships and bursaries for underprivileged children.

The Bulawayo Youth Development Organization recently launched a scholarship fund for young leaders which will benefit young women and men in the city of Bulawayo and the country as a whole. 60% of the scholarships will go toward female youth leaders, in a move aimed at support a culture of active citizenry in young women and men in their communities.

Join us as we raise funds for the program by liking our Facebook Page and joining activities we'll post on the platform.