Africa’s Girl Child and the Struggle for Health, Education and Agency Conference, South Africa

Girls across the African continent continue to face challenges that impede their success such as overall wellbeing, poverty, illiteracy, ill-health, child trafficking among others. This cannot continue unaddressed.

Against this backdrop and to facilitate capacity building in protecting the girl child, Good Governance Africa collaborated with Telkom Foundation and Boston City Campus on an Interactive Conference which was held on 11th October 2022, which was also the ‘International Day of the Girl Child.’

AGA-Africa Programme was invited to participate in the interactive Conference that brought together participants from the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Oliver & Adelide Tambo Foundation, WITS School of Education, United Nations officials across Africa, the public, as well as subject matter experts from Kenya, Malawi and Zambia. The conference was aimed at raising awareness of the situation of the girl child in Africa and exchanging tools, strategies and information of what needs to be done to persuade Governments to enforce laws protecting young girls.

The workshop was officially opened and moderated by Linda Vilakazi, Coordinator, African Women in Dialogue and Development Consultant with opening remarks from Kim Robinson, AGA-Africa Programme Country Coordinator for South Africa and Chukukere Unamba-Oparah, AGA-Africa Programme Programme Director and Country Coordinator for Kenya and Lebogang Romafoko, Executive Director, Oxfam.

The first session of the highly interactive conference was facilitated by Sarah Mthintso, Chief Executive Officer, Telkom Foundation. The panellists were Toni Ramatswi, Programme Manager, Telkom Foundation, Busisipho Siyobi, Lead Researcher, Good Governance Africa and Dr. Rachel Sibande, Senior Director, Country Outreach Africa-DIAL at the United Nations Foundation.

The second session was facilitated by Candice Chirwa, Minister of Menstruation, Making Cents International. The panellists were Habiba Osman, Executive Secretary, Human Rights Commission of Malawi, Nokuthula Prusent, Adolescents Development Specialst, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), South Africa, Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, Deputy Minister of Social Development, South Africa and Beryl Opiyo from Kisumu Feminist Society.

The third session was facilitated by Christina Dube, Head of Department, Good Governance Africa. The panellists were Dr. Linda Nkomo, Chief Executive Officer, LoveLife, Engwase Mwale, Chief Executive Officer, Zambian Financial Sector Deepening Limited, Bafana Khumalo, Executive Director, Sonke Gender Justice and Mashudu Nefale, Senior Clinical Psychologist, University of Pretoria.

Dr. Jane Viljoen, Academic Planning and Development Manager, Boston City Campus delivered the closing remarks of the conference, thanking all the participants for attending virtually and in person.