By Maria Macharia in Nairobi, Kenya
Nairobi — KENYA has launched a yearlong effort to bring together stakeholders to champion attention and investments to most pressing needs and opportunities for girls in emergencies and development settings. The launch coincides with the International Day of the Girl, celebrated yearly on October 11. In Kenya, under the leadership of the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs, the national theme for 2017 is: “Empower girls: Emergency response and resilience planning”. This theme is focused on the fact that girls are affected and bear the brunt of conflict, violence and natural disasters. This reflects the weak protective mechanisms within families and communities, increasing vulnerability of girls to violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect. This year’s celebration was held at the Samburu Girls Foundation Centre in the northern Samburu County. As part of activities to commemorate this year’s International Day of the Girl Child, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is partnering with Health Games which offers a social gaming platform to improve health literacy and awareness. Dr Ademola Olajide, UNFPA country representative, said adolescent girls in the developing world were a huge, untapped resource but discrimination, gender roles and reproductive health problems limited their dreams for the future. “They need special attention in order to live up to their full potential,” she said. Partners in the scheme include government, Gina Din Group, European Union, Huawei and Safaricom. “We applaud the Government of Kenya and our partners UNFPA and Safaricom Foundation for their leadership and support in helping Kenya’s young people, in particular adolescent girls, to realize their full potential,” said Adam Lane, Huawei Senior Director of Public Affairs.
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