The European Union Delegation to Zimbabwe and UNICEF Zimbabwe have called for continued investment in the education and empowerment of adolescent girls.
Zimbabwe joins the world in commemorating The Day of the Girl amid heightened calls for increased attention to matters that affect girls.
“In the last 10 years, there has been increased attention worldwide amongst governments, policymakers and the public on issues that matter to girls, and more opportunities were created for girls to have their voices heard. Yet, investments in the rights of adolescent girls remain limited at the global level. Girls continue to confront a myriad of challenges to fulfil their full potential,” reads a joint statement by the EU and UNICEF.
As girls around the world continue to face unprecedented challenges to their education, their physical and mental wellness, their participation in decision-making processes is more important than ever, the statement reads.
The recently adopted Marriages Act which forbids the marriage of children under the age of 18 has been lauded as a step in the right direction in protection the girl child child.
The government of Zimbabwe has also 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,” further reads the statement.
Adolescent girls face early marriages, with 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.”