A campaign by tribal and traditional leaders dubbed ‘Dikgosi di Xadile’ has been initiated to address the social ills faced by the girl child, and advocating for empowerment and protection of their rights.
This surfaced during the International Day of the Girl Child commemoration held in Maun on this week under the theme ‘Our time is now, our rights our future’.
Batawana Regent, Kgosi Kealetile Moremi said that they have been outraged by the challenges that girls face which include moral degeneration, gender based violence, rape, teenage pregnancies and child marriages that lead to some of them dropping out of school. She explained that the campaign will motivate girls and reprimand the bad behavior in the youth days.
“Girls should grow in circumstances where they can express themselves without fear of judgment or violence, let us give them wings to fly instead of reasons to weep,” she pleaded.
Meanwhile, girls are said to lack access to information on basic needs such as education, health care, business and employment as they are lagging behind in the digital technological space.
The Lead Girl Digital Centre program by Love Botswana Outreach Mission and Queen Esther was launched for women and girls from rural areas in and around Maun to access the use of digital technologies. Orange Botswana donated ICT gadgets to the Lead Girl Digital Centre to empower women and girls with digital skills.
The Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs of Orange Botswana Lepata-Mafa Nthomola said that they understand the challenges faced by the girl children which is what motivated them to donate 20 tablets, 10 laptops, a printer, projector and a server to them.
She noted that they envisage a future of independent women who are able to use digital platforms to access services, citing the payment of bills, online business transactions and even studying on line.
“By teaching a woman, you are teaching the whole community, therefore we are hoping to see more girl leaders in the ICT space,” Nthomola hoped.
For her part, the Queen Esther Coordinator, Vehae Tjiriange explained that the LGDC program will ensure that women are awarded equal opportunities in the area of digital technology.
She noted that girls with disabilities face additional barriers accessing education indicating that the project will dismantle those barriers and help them reap the benefits of technology.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Country Director Dr Anne Dix said that digitalisation is key to the everyday life but encouraged young girls use the internet with caution as it has the potential to destroy them. She further warned girls against cyber-bullying.
Dix further encouraged young girls to be strong and take up leadership by embracing who they are and not bend to the stereotypes of what they are expected to be.