The wife of former Governor of Cross River State, Mrs. Onari Duke has stressed the need for schools across the country to embrace girl guiding to further protect the rights of the girl-child.
Delivering the keynote address at the centenary celebration of the Nigerian Girl Guides Association (NGGA) in Lagos with the theme ‘100 Years of Inspiring Girls’, she said activities of the Girl Guides remain a sure way of equipping girls with the requisite knowledge, morals, skills, confidence and leadership needed to take the country to its desired height.
The association started in Nigeria on September 16, 1919 and became a full member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) in 1966.
According to Duke, “the fact is, in today’s world, beyond acquiring formal education, there is the need to stand out because the field is already saturated.
“To distinguish yourself, you need to inculcate a culture of service and excellence in your sphere of influence,” she said, adding that there is therefore the need for citizens to contribute their quota to national development by inspiring and mentoring the younger generation with sincerity of purpose and to serve genuinely.
“True service will impact lives greatly and to impart excellence in service, we must set high standards and strive to keep them.”
Duke urged girls to always strive to acquire skills that would give them the edge over others, make them strong and reliable leaders, as well as successful and effective entrepreneurs.
She also emphasised the need for the girls to acquire planning skills that would tie their vision to practical steps that their chosen endeavours could take to realise that vision.
“This in itself is a skill and a very important one because without it, your growth will be stagnated.”
The former governor’s wife further stressed the need for girls and young women to be innovative and acquire communication skills, which would be evident in all their entrepreneurial activities, adding that professional advancement is usually enhanced by innovation.
The Chairperson, Africa Region of WAGGGS, Mrs. Larissa Cataria, from the Republic of Benin, said there is more to be done in the area of advocacy on the right and welfare of the girl-child in Africa.
“So as a guide, my take will be encouraging associations around the continent to keep sensitising our people in Africa, beginning from Nigeria
“I believe the girl-child has the power to take up leadership positions, to be the voice of Africa and to be the change agent we all desire in our dear continent.
“These leadership qualities start from the home through to the larger society and therefore these girls must also be given the same opportunity as the boys, given that they do have the potential.
“It is not about going to school alone, but also being exposed to the same opportunity as the boys. We need to support them. They need to be supported in order to perform better in school and outside school.
“The major challenge facing the development of the girl-child in Africa has always been the issues of the mind-set and as parents the issue is how we see the girl-child matters in determining how far we want them to go.
She added: So once we change our perception about them, once we understand the importance of sending them to school, I think it will help get the change that we want to see.”
The Chief Commissioner of the NGGA, Mrs. Maria Goretti Sule said the association has contributed towards nation building through its numerous guiding and mentoring activities of the girl-child in the country over the years and still standing strong.
She said the association’s non-formal training programmes are thriving, adding that girls in the country are becoming bold advocates of their rights wherever they find themselves.
“We therefore wish to call on the federal government and state governments and the national and state assemblies to assist us in coming up with laws that will liberate the girl-child and women generally to fulfil their potential.
“We also want to appeal to them to assist us in completing our training centre in Abuja designed for the development and well-being of the girl-child,” Sule said.