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Girl Child In Africa

ACCYN 2013 Gathering bemoans the plight of the African girl child
“I am shocked at the plight of the girl child in Africa…these things I have seen them on television and have never thought it to be real. Now I know and am disappointed.” said the sullen 14-year old Courtney Mukombachoto attending the 2013 ACCYN (Africa Central Conference Youth Network) gathering in Zimbabwe, who could not believe reports of early marriages, school drop-outs, and preference by both parents and society of schooling the boys and not finding value in educating the girls.

“It is unfair…” fumed Courtney, “…because I cannot imagine myself getting married anytime soon before completing my education and even so starting my own business.” she added.
For Courtney there is no need for the uneven playing field because according to her, girls hold many talents as boys and she believes in equality. “…we are all made in the same way – the image of God and we must get equal rights and treatment. Girls must be given an opportunity to show their talents even in science subjects”.
The young people showed utter disappointment at the continued gender segregation in Africa, while their leaders turn a blind eye to this time bomb.
There is however some significant progress in some countries in Africa. Zimbabwe have balanced out the issues of equity in their new constitution and Mozambique has a free education system in place but some believe more has to be done at the social or community level in order to curtail this social imbalance.
The presenters at the gathering encouraged the young people to take a stand and be relevant “lest people will despise your youth” said Rev. Alan Masimba Gurupira the Zimbabwe Episcopal Area Deputy Administrative Assistant to the Bishop. “We must deal with the problem of early marriages by transforming our cultures. The cycle can only be broken by us who are saved and help the world see all as equal human beings in God’s face.”
The group of young Africans and directors had an opportunity to worship at Africa University and a blessed coincidence occurred. The university hosted the Honourable Vice President of Zimbabwe, Joyce Mujuru on their official launch of the “Girl Child Scholarship Fund” on the 19th of April 2013. The same was a major talking point at the Africa Central Conference Young People’s Gathering, organised by the Regional Missionary Initiative under the auspices of United Methodist Women
The Zimbabwe Vice President of Zimbabwe donated US$15 000 towards the launch of the Girl Child Scholarship Fund
“We were discussing about the plight of the girl child at our ACCYP Gathering in Harare and we come here to find the University doing the same.” said Edson Julio the ACCYN Chairperson and an alumni of Africa University, as he handed over a gift of US$220.00 on behalf of the young people.
In response to the gesture from the youthful visitors, the Africa University Chaplin Dr. P. T. Chikafu said, “…we would not want to overemphasize the plight of the girl child. We humbly receive your gift as a warm gesture. May God bless you the young people of the Africa Central Conference.”
Malawi is one of the most affected countries, according to the country reports presented. The young people in Malawi have been granted resources to start an Information technology Centre through funds from United Methodist Women, formerly the Women’s Division.
“For Malawi this is going to be one of the positive developments in the lives of young people, as we have heard that they have the problem of early marriages and this initiative will occupy them and further help connect with the rest of other countries and share experiences” said Finda Quiwa or “Mama Fifi” as she is affectionately known by the young people.
The plight of the girl child remains as a talking point for future ACCYN Gatherings and Young women’s meeting.

Story By:
Pastor Taurai Emmanuel Maforo
(Zimbabwe Episcopal Area Communicator and News Reporter at the 2013 ACCYN gathering)


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