Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Her Excellency Dr. Josephine Ojiambo says leaders should be in touch with the reality of girls rights.
This was during the launch of the Justina Mutale Foundation scholarship which was graced by Zambia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom H.E Mr. Muyeba Chikonde, Permanent Representative of the African Union to the European Union and ACP secretariat, Brussels H.E Ambassador Ajay K. Bramdeo, founder and president of the European School of Economics Professor Elio D’Anna, and Professor Chris O. Imafidon, at Zambia House in London recently.
Dr. Ojiambo commended the Zambian Government for its commitment to preventing and eliminating child early and forced marriages nationally as well as internationally.
Highlighting several conversations, she has had with heads of states, Dr Ojiambo said her recent meeting with His Excellency President Edgar Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia was the most engaging on girl’s issues.
She said while many would begin with statements like the ones on peace and security, defence, strengthening of borders, economies and even Agriculture, President Lungu talked about the plight of girls.
“I have had several conversation with Heads of States but the most engaging was the one that I had with President Lungu, I was honoured to have President Lungu not too long ago and why, because many Heads of States will begin with a statement like peace and security, about the defence and strength of their national boarders, they will speak about economics, they will probably speak about agriculture, and then they will talk about international politics, but when you sit with President Lungu, he speaks to you about the girls in the villages of Zambia and he tells you the reality of their lives, of their daily chores, what time they wake up in the morning, what time they go to school, and how they go to school, and it is important as leaders that you are able to be in touch with reality of girls in Africa,” Dr Ojiambo said. “I really want to commend the leadership of Zambia on this commitment but it’s not him alone, he has a cabinet and I have engaged with them, they want to be the front runners of the issues of a girl child.”
Zambia has been a campion on preventing and eliminating child early and forced marriages and in 2015 Zambia hosted the the First African Girls’ summit on Ending Child marriages in Africa. Zambia also made a presentation on ending child early and forced marriages at the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) summit in Malta last year.
And Dr. Ojiambo said a girl child should not only be educated but should also have a health life, adding that women’s rights were human rights and everyone had the right to education.
“Quality secondary education is predictive of, delayed marriage, the longer we have our girls out there getting an education, starting to work, learning to sustain themselves, support their communities and families the better it is. We must inculcate the socialisation process not only with education as a value but social values that allow our girls to go through life morally upright and able to sustain themselves,” She said.
Dr Ojiambo added that quality education predicted delayed and fewer pregnancies, as this was important for girls to take care of their reproductive healthy and be able to determine when they would have children, and how many to have.
“Quality education also predicts higher earnings, as education increases within the individual there will be higher earnings, it also predicts freedom of movement,” said Dr Ojiambo.
At the same occasion Zambia’s female boxing icon Catherine Phiri and 24 other academically talented underprivileged young Zambian women and girls were offered scholarships to study business and leadership courses in different parts of the world.
The Justina Mutale Foundation has partnered with the European School of Economics (ESE) to offer Business and Leadership Scholarships while the Rai University of India will offer Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Scholarships to the women and girls.
LONDON, Tuesday, 14 June, 2016