International day of the Girl Child: OWED stands Guard against Rape

Young Girls Commune with OWED, pledge to stand against rape

Some 24 adolescent girls in the Bamenda II municipality have been sensitized against rape, one of the most common phenomenon affecting girls. The sensitization was done by the Organisation for Women's Empowerment and Development, OWED, as one of their activities to commemorate the International Day of the Girl Child celebrated world wide every October 11. 

With the theme of this year's celebration being "My Voice, Our Equal Future", the organization aimed at cautioning teenage girls to be outspoken. Looking at rape as a point of focus girls voices need to be heard when such a thing is experienced. Fear and suppression should not hinder a victim from expressing herself. 

Mrs Ndzerem Mildred, CEO OWED

While giving a talk, Mrs Ndzerem Mildred, CEO of OWED highlighted ways through which girls voices can be heard including education, Freedom of speech, Good health to be able to carry out an activity, Right to leadership and most importantly saying No to gender based violence focusing on rape due to the current situation of the country. 

"This day is celebrated world wide, giving recognition to the girls to let them Strive. Let their rights be respected and to be given equal opportunities particularly because they are the vulnerable sex", she highlighted.

To effectively incorporate these girls, the organization has drafted some future plans like offering of scholarships to girls to pursue their education, offering vocational training, continuous sensitization against Gender Based Violence, and sensitizing parents not to force their children into early marriages. 

Being a young organization with great objectives, certain factors are against its progress according to the CEO.
"Financial difficulty is the first worry OWED faces. We don't have any sponsor yet, so all our activities and gift distribution are from personal pockets and contribution of members. The anglophone crisis too is not left out because we have envisaged girls and women in interior and abandoned areas but because of the crisis, access to these areas is difficult. Some of our members have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Anglophone crisis and cannot fully contribute financially. Most at times girls shy away from such sensitization activities but we haven't relented our efforts to sensitization." Mrs Ndzerem Mildred opined.

Cross section of participants

OWED is a young organization which stands for Organization for Women Empowerment and Development. The idea of the organization was conceived on the 14th of July 2019 and went into effect on July 17, 2019. It has as main objective to work  with women and girls to improve the status of Cameroon women and girls. It also fights against Gender Based Violence, Menstrual hygiene management and offers vocational trainings. 

The participants in attendance expressed their joy for the message and knowledge gotten and promised to be outspoken in case of any incidence and to take proper care of themselves to avoid calling attention. 

The International Day of the Girl Child focuses attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights.

The International Day of the Girl Child was unanimously adopted in 1995 at the World Conference on Women in Beijing in a declaration known as the  Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action – the most progressive blueprint ever for advancing the rights of not only women but girls. The Beijing Declaration is the first to specifically call out girls’ rights.
On December 19, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 to declare October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child, to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.


Anye Nde Nsoh

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