This is a day where we celebrate the girls of today – inspiring, innovating and taking charge of their own future!
“This is a critical time for the girls of our world.” Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women.
FACT: By the age of 6 girls already consider boys the better, smarter and stronger sex.
Girls around the world, in both developed and developing countries are hindered purely by their sex to get access to education, training and into the work place; especially when compared to their male counterparts.
FACT: A quarter of young people, mostly girls, are neither employed, getting an education or training.
So, what better day than International Day of the Girl to highlight the new initiatives being carried out by Kicking Off.org, the charity I am a proud Trustee off.
It is Kicking Off’s mission to align ourselves with the UN’s 17 global sustainable development goals including no poverty, gender equality, zero hunger, clean water and sanitation, good health and well being.
As well as football tournaments in Ghana and other parts of the world, which encourage children and young people from deprived and often remote communities to join in with an amazing day of fun and football, Kicking Off earlier this year launched a netball tournament where hundreds of girls and young ladies took part. By attending they all receive a medical check, a hot meal, clean water and a goody bag containing basic educational and health supplies. We then work closely with other local NGO’s who support ongoing education and the promotion of gender equality.
FACT: 12 million girls under 18 will be married.
We have been working closely with the Helen Hodgkins Trust to bring clean water and sanitation to villages – not only a basic human right, but also a vital hygiene necessity for women, as well as running joint initiatives and tournaments with local NGO Akwaaba Volunteers (co-founded by a strong and inspiring young woman, Jordan Palmer) that bring girls out from their villages and districts to enjoy organised and safe activities, focusing on sport and education.
FACT: 21 million girls aged 15 – 19 will become pregnant in developing regions.
During the last few years, girls have been very involved in Kicking Off football tournaments, participating in their own dedicated matches and competitions – proving that sport is for all, and not just the boys of the community.
All of these children are given clean water, a decent meal and essential medical checks. We have diagnosed and treated more than 20 children with malaria and have started a dialogue and built trust within their neighbourhoods and villages to help make improvements to their communities.
This year Kicking Off also launched its first tournament in Moria Refugee Camp in Greece, one of the most challenging places in Europe, giving aid, medical help, some basic support an and a day of fun to hundreds of children living in the most difficult of conditions.
I’m proud to say that this incredible charity is run solely by volunteers, each and every one of us dedicating our time, fundraising tirelessly and coming up with new ideas to help more and more children and young people. You too can help us; please donate £10pm– around the same cost of a good bottle of wine – simply text KICK to 70577. Every penny of your money goes to help girls and boys who need it the most.
Together we can make a difference for our daughters, and that’s what’s so important about International Day of the Girl. Sky’s the limit for them – look what we’ve achieved over the years, we can vote, we’ve become Prime Ministers, surgeons, astronauts, engineers, scientists, even finance brokers !... Nothing should stop these girls, least of all their gender.
The future’s bright. The future’s female.
Facts c/o UN Women.org.