It’s Now O’clock; arise and shine, Women Movement challenges girls, women

An online session where participants followed through and make their contributions while commemoration the International Civility of the Girl Child Day. PHOTO/WWWA.
An online session where participants followed through and made their contributions while commemorating the International Civility of the Girl Child Day. PHOTO/WWWA.

It is time for us to create programs that will embrace her and create strategies to guide her to make milestone decisions

Dr. Louisa Akaiso, Founder, WWWA.

On October 13, 2022, the world celebrated International Civility for the Girl Child Day, an independent yet momentous day celebrated after the International Day of The Girl Child on October 11th.

To commemorate the day, the Women Who Win Africa, a women’s movement, had a virtual roundtable discussion featuring speakers of diverse thoughts and extraction.

This year’s event went by the theme It’s Now O’clock, indicating the urgency with which matters touching on women and girls are calling for address and that the time for women and girls to find their voice and use it is at the door.

The Day

Hosted by Dr. Louisa Akaiso, a Nigerian-Canadian Women Development advocate and Founder of Women Who Win Africa (WWWA), alongside other partners, the forum sought to lay bare the challenges faced by women and girls around Africa and globally through the voices of humanitarians, founders, coaches and leaders of diverse organizations and initiatives.

“This day was built on the concept of civility and leadership, image and the golden rule,” she said on her welcome note, reminding the world that girls should be allowed liberty to make their own decisions and mistakes and then learn from them, just like their male counterparts.

It lies against the backdrop of Sustainable Goal Five of the United Nations Women, which seeks to achieve gender equality, empower girls and women, and end all forms of discrimination and violence against girls and women.

A lurking problem

For generations past, the girl child’s life has always been routinely; she’s taught how to think about herself and is confined within limitations and borders. Girls are not allowed to raise their voices on what they need but are told what is good for them.

Dr. Louisa Akaiso, the founder of WWWA. She founded the International Civility for the Girl Child Day in 2020. It was approved in the United States as a National Day and is based on SDG #5 of UN Women. PHOTO/Courtesy.
Dr. Louisa Akaiso, the founder of WWWA. She founded the International Civility for the Girl Child Day in 2020. It was approved in the United States as a National Day and is based on SDG #5 of UN Women. PHOTO/Courtesy.

She underlined the need to ask the girl child what she needs, what she can do, and how she feels, letting her be, fully.

WWWA also hosts and conducts diverse programs to place women and the girl child on solid ground. Such include the ongoing online Find Your Voice Bootcamp, jointly hosted by Women Palava Network (WOPAN) and WWWA, and an upcoming Masterclass training focusing on Self-esteem and etiquette, sexual abuse, or education.

According to Dr. Akaiso, these programs aim to help the girl child find her voice, embrace her flows and develop the capacity to lead others unapologetically with her girl power.

The power of empowerment on the girl child is the genius stroke to strengthen her, open her eyes and make her wings light for the flight to self-realization, opportunities, learning from mistakes, and becoming her best version.

“It is time for us to create programs that will embrace her and create strategies to guide her to make milestone decisions,” narrowing the responsibility to individual initiative, she invited the members to action.

The women’s development advocate urged parents not to chaperon children towards becoming what they themselves are, but allow them to follow their passion, work on their strengths and become ‘themselves’, strong and empowered.

Acknowledging the times of confusion during and post-covid, she urged individuals and organizations to channel part of their proceeds to help the girl child, without waiting for her to beg for it.


Create free incentives: Consider involving a lady or several in organizations where they can learn from the staff and feel included. Instead of asking for years of experience, provide training on what she should deliver.

Create mentorship: Guide them on what to do at certain times and how to wade through confusing seasons of life. That would strengthen her and keep her prepared, psychologically and otherwise.

Provide scholarships: Identifying the girls’ strengths and sending them to experts in that field would give them leeway to earn vital skills and develop themselves.“Sponsor these girls and give them the exposure they need,” she urged.

Offer resources: Create programs but not projects. Projects run for some time, but programs are sustainable and able to offer skills with immediacy. “Teach them how to be alone and independent,” exhorted Dr. Akaiso.

Give donations: Organizations and individuals can assist those working for the welfare of the girl child, be they individuals, organizations, or civil society.

An e-poster of the upcoming Masterclass event to address girl’s self-esteem, etiquette and the pertinent issue of sexual abuse. IMAGE/WWWA.
An e-poster of the upcoming Masterclass event to address girls’ self-esteem, etiquette and the pertinent issue of sexual abuse. IMAGE/WWWA.

“We must be responsible and step up for the girl child,” she called.

Commenting on the situation, Enifome Ogbimi, the event moderator, observed, “The people around the girl child have a direct mantle to pass to her. For instance, it is what a mother knows that she should teach her girl.”

She rejoins that while young, she learned to learn from her mistakes, a strategy that has helped her and made her more robust and ambitious.

A word to the younger self

If you were to seize the chance, reader, what would you tell your younger self? The speakers admitted that at some point in their younger life, they lost their voice and were carried by the negative wave of the society.

They emphasized the need for girls to realize and appreciate their beauty, strength, and self-worth, be self-esteemed and get light for the flight.

Ikalone Udo, a communications coach, underlined the need for mothers to open up to their girls and tell them how they went head-on against some confusing life issues.

“Mothers have not been able to confide in their children, and share their childhood mistakes with them. The youngsters repeat the same mistakes because no one told them that it is not the right path to take,” she observed.

On upbringing, she advised the young girls to “Learn to go and sit down at the feet of your predecessors and enquire of how they coped with various pressures of life.”

“I would have told myself that I am worthy and unique, an achiever whose background does not matter. I would have told myself to invest more in myself and expect less from people, not to fear but to learn more, ask more, seek more and knock more,” counseled Edinah Kangwana, a Gender and Youth advocate in Kenya, focusing on inclusivity and diversity of young people.

She is also a Governance and Leadership expert and immediate former county executive at Kisii County Government.

Self-love and being proactive are of the essence during one’s tender age, according to Dr. Naike Moshi from Tanzania. “If you love yourself, love will come your way. If you want people to find worth in you, see it in yourself first. It starts with you,” Dr. Moshi reminded the participants.

She advocated for self-realization, appreciating what God has put in your hands, and then shining, as life’s stepping stones.

Dr. Moshi is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Women In Management Africa (WIMA) initiative, which seeks to improve gender balance in leadership spaces.

Idongesit Peter, a life coach, was firm on the resolution that young girls should learn that adults are not always right. The girls should identify their inner voice and follow it, not to mean they should not listen to the adults.

A flier of the ongoing online training on the art of Storytelling, titled Find Your Voice, which is a vital 21st-Century skill. IMAGE/WWWA.
A flier of the ongoing online training on the art of Storytelling, a vital 21st-Century skill, by helping Girls and Women find their voice and use it because it matters. IMAGE/WWWA.

Past mistakes and advice

Dr. Lucille Wairimu highlighted the importance of having someone to talk to and get help.

Deducing from the spring of her own experiences, where she got pregnant at nineteen and needed assistance which she didn’t get, she says, “I would advise young girls to take the process, listen to advice from seniors and make a choice of what you want in life. I had no choice because I had no one to talk to.”

She is currently a humanitarian and founder of One Touch One Life Initiative Organization in Nairobi, Kenya, which deals with women, widows, and less fortunate children.

She urges young girls that a mistake is not the end of life.

“Pick yourself up, know who you are and your value, despite the challenges and know that you can make it,” she exhorts the girl child.

In the words of Dr. Moshi, ignoring a warning sign and wallowing in the idea that you can change people and put things to order for the society is self-deceit. She reminds them that the only person they can change is themselves.

“Don’t ignore the signs. Put all the shades to ensure that you see things for what they really are and then determine if you can manage the situation or you need to move aside,” she advises.

Sierra Leone’s Dr. Adama Kaloko, a champion of women empowerment, urged young girls and women to take time and think through issues without rushing.

She highlights the essence of meditation and sobriety concerning love, relationships, marriage, and general life.

“As a young girl, I never acknowledged anything good about myself,” admits Ikalone Udo, who later appreciated her energy and beauty and worked on her self-esteem through visualization.

She says to the girls and women, “Let us appreciate the little wings we have and be more mindful and visualize them to build our confidence.” Udo helps young women find and use their voices and know that it matters.

It’s time girls raised their self-esteem and stopped shrinking from the society, bowing to its expectations.

Dr. Anana Phifer reminded girls and women that shrinking and living in fear is not the path to take.

“Shine your light and don’t fear bruising the ego of the bystanders,” she counseled, in the spirit of WWWA urging girls that “It’s time. Stop shrinking; the time is now.”

Edinah Kangwana, the trailblazer touching young lives in Kenya through Gender and Youth advocacy for equality and diversity for youths. PHOTO/Courtesy.
Ms. Edinah Kangwana, a trailblazer touching young lives in Kenya through Gender and Youth advocacy for equality and diversity for youths. PHOTO/Courtesy.

Ms. Kangwana emphasized that one should do what they love doing early, build strong blocks in their friendships, get a mentor and be consistent.

“It is okay to fear; it is part of human beings. You just fear and do it anyway,” she encouraged.

Way forward

Intentional capacity-building on the girls, where they can be trained as leaders and resource mobilizers and have their challenges addressed, stands essential, according to Ms. Kangwana.

“In those groups, they would become leaders at a young age. They will be part of the journey, gaining confidence and public speaking skills. They can then help their colleagues. We can guide and monitor them but allow them to lead the initiative,” she suggests, giving the example of Kenya girl guides and scouts.

Drawing from real-life examples, Coach Idongesit urged women to protect themselves, value themselves and comport themselves with dignity.

“It is now O’clock for you as a girl to stand up and tell yourself ‘I am valuable and honorable and I refuse to get into situations which devalue me’,” she calls.

Resisting parents’ past paths and mistakes should be on every girl’s list of strategies to change the ugly narrative.

“Advocacy with actions, without the mediocrity which has been rampant is what girls and women need. Spend time with yourself, join programs aiming at self-realization and get your voice,” encouraged Dr. Akaiso.

RELATED STORY: How parents can raise empowered, thriving children

She urged girls to reach out for assistance, get involved and learn from the programs being put in place for them so that they can be their own advocates and ambassadors of their own issues.

Engaging the young ladies, especially graduates, in mentorship schemes in schools and other institutions would make them active and diversely skilled, according to Dr. Wairimu.

“Do not forget that the girl child is dealing with a lot of post-crisis, has never experienced the war as today and is in neutrality. Every day, think of ways you can be of help to them,” she invited.

Indeed, it is now O’clock!

An e-poster of the main participants. IMAGE/WWWA.
An e-poster of the main participants. IMAGE/WWWA.
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Mr. Makau holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Linguistics, Media & Communication from Moi University, Kenya. He is a Columnist and Editor with Scholar Media Africa, with a keen interest in Education, Health, Climate Change, and Literature.



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