As Nigerians joined the rest of the world to celebrate “The International Day of the Girl-Child,” the wife of Delta Governor, Dame Edith Okowa, on Monday, urged the girl-child in the state to leverage on digital technology to enhance their socio-economic status.
Dame Okowa gave the advice during a ceremony marking the 2021 International Day of the Girl-Child held at Unity Hall, Government House, Asaba, which was organised by the office of the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Special Duties (Girl-Child Empowerment).
She disclosed that digital technology was an enabler and the way forward, adding that they should use it in positive ways to carve a remarkable niche for themselves in the ever competitive global economy.
“This generation is very lucky so much that a day has been set aside to celebrate the girl-child globally. That is to say that the girl-child is making waves internationally.
“In the time of my grandmother and my mother, girls were not seen or heard. Your generation is very lucky. So, don’t take the opportunity you have for granted.
“Today, we are talking about ‘Digital Generation, Our Generation’. Some of us did not know what computer is when we were in school. Thank God for your own generation as we now have digital technology.
“As much as it is your generation, please use digital technology in positive ways. Technology is the way forward, it is an enabler. Sit down in your room and control your world positively,” the governor’s wife said.
According to her, times are changing very fast, adding that women are doing great exploits in different fields of human endeavours.
Dame Okowa who is the Chairperson of the 05 Initiative, implored the girl-child to be courageous, focused and dedicated to their dreams, pointing out that they should strive to excel anywhere they found themselves in life.
While applauding the Office of the Girl-Child Empowerment for making positive waves in the society on issues relating to girl-child, she noted that God has given women supernatural strength, adding that they should utilise the strength positively.
“God has given us a supernatural strength, please utilise that strength positively and above it all, you should be of good character, present yourselves with dignity as a lady, walk like a lady, speak like a lady and l tell you, you will be respected. The best that can take you to places is your character,” she added.
Earlier in her remarks, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Special Duties (Girl-Child Empowerment), Mrs. Marilyn Daramola gave a historical background of how October 11 of every year was adopted by the United Nations as the International Day of the Girl-Child, to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.
She noted that since 2012, the International Day of the Girl-Child has focused its attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights.
According to her, as the world entered the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, digital platforms for learning, earning and connecting accelerated, yet, statistics from the United Nations indicate that some 2.2 billion people below the age of 25 still do not have internet access at home.
“However, the gender digital divide is about more than connectivity. Girls are also less likely than boys to use and own devices and gain access to tech-related skills and jobs.
“This is why in the pilot phase of the Girls Entrepreneurship and Skills Training Programme, we trained 27 girls across Delta State with ICT skills and empowered them with computers and other electronic devices to start up their businesses.
“This year, as a result of the increase in the number of beneficiaries, I am proud to say that the International Day of the Girl-Child 2021 theme — “Digital Generation; Our Generation” — couldn’t have come at a better time, because, we have also upscaled the number of ICT beneficiaries currently undergoing training under the #ProjectGEST2021 cycle across the state to 42,” she said.
During the ceremony that was attended by female secondary school students, a panel of experts in digital technology made up of Anna Ekeledo, Oladiwura Oladepo, Modupe Durosinmi-Etti and Adaeze Emenike counseled the students on the importance of digital technology as well as career choice.
The ceremony featured talk show competition on the topic “COVID-19 Challenges in Your Community and Digital Solutions to these Challenges” which was geared towards encouraging and promoting young girls in tech where four schools made it to the finals.
At the end of the competition, Moorefield School, Ekpan; Our Lady of Fatima School, Ughelli; Martin College, Issele-Uku and St. Brigid’s Girls Grammar School, Asaba, took the first, second, third and fourth positions respectively and prizes were presented to the each student that represented the schools.