On the 9th of October 2015, Educate a Child in Africa (ECA) partnered with Girls Excel and Leaders of Tomorrow International (LOTI) to commemorate the fourth edition of the International day of the Girl Child in Government Secondary School Techu Kedjom – Ketinguh, North West Region of Cameroon. The event was commemorated under the theme “The Power of Adolescent Girls: Vision for 2030”.
The event brought together over 150 students through a writing and drawing competition where girls and boys shared their perspectives on the different challenges affecting girls in their communities. Educate a Child in Africa and partners dedicated time to listen to the students’ daily realities. Adopting a creative community based approach, the students were engaged in a drawing and writing competition involving 10 participants (9 girls and 1 boy). The participants were given the opportunity to share their personal experiences on how their lives are affected by different issues in their community.
The students raised diverse issues on their presentation which were all centered on the lack of access to quality education, sexual and reproductive health services, early marriage and pregnancy. (Most of the girls in the community are married off as early as 15 years old.)
Educate a Child in Africa and its partners used the opportunity to encourage the students to voice their aspirations regarding the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). All the participants received sanitation kits. Textbooks were also donated by Educate a Child in Africa and partners to equip the school library that is currently non-functional.
Despite the global mobilization for girls, the International day of the Girl Child still goes unnoticed in many rural communities in Cameroon. In many such communities, girls are unaware of the existence of this symbolic day and its potential impact on their daily struggles.
The challenges faced by adolescent girls in Techu Kedjom-Ketinguh are the same as those faced by girls in other rural communities of Cameroon. Lack of access to quality education, sexual and reproductive health, early marriage, and pregnancy are the fundamental stumbling blocks to the progress of young girls in rural Cameroon. Fortunately, the majority of adolescent girls in these communities react positively to programs that are geared towards changing their mindset.