ICI-GWODEF Visits Lagos First Lady, Inducts Her as Girl-Child Ambassador

Barrister (Mrs.) Helen Nchedo Ibeji and the first lady, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, flanked by members of ICI-GWODEF

ICI-GWODEF Visits Lagos First Lady, Inducts her  as Girl-Child Ambassador

The term ‘girl-child’ refers to a female between the ages of 6-18 years. The National Child Welfare Policy in 1989 defines the girl-child as a female below 14 years of age. In 2009, defines it as a biological female offspring from birth to 18 years of age. This period is made up of infancy, childhood, early and late adolescence stages of development. The girl-child is seen as a young female person who would eventually grow into a woman and marry.

Barrister (Mrs.) Helen Nchedo Ibeji and the first lady, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, flanked by members of ICI-GWODEF

The gender apartheid places the girl-child in a disadvantaged position, where her potentials are suppressed and self-actualization is not achieved. She therefore, becomes a victim of a pre-existing socio-cultural male chauvinism.

Furthermore, on the account of gender, girl-children and women are subjected to all multiple forms of oppression, exploitation and discrimination.

Recently, a non-governmental organization known as the International Charitable Initiative for Girl Child and Woman Development Foundation (ICI-GWODEF), also known as Girl Child and Woman Foundation paid a courtesy visit to the wife of the Governor of Lagos State – Dr. Mrs. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu.

The visit was to solidify a relationship with ramifications for the welfare and security of the girl-child and her prospects in life. The team was led by the President and CEO of the organization, Barrister (Mrs.) Helen Nchedo Ibeji. She was accompanied by other members of the team, namely, Barrister (Mrs.) Ify Uzokwe;  Pastor Mrs. Peace Emeka Idih; Mrs. Atu Owobi Maria; and Mrs. Francisca Chioma Generius

One of the highlights of the courtesy visit was the formal induction of the First Lady, Dr. Mrs. Sanwo-Olu as the Ambassador of the Girl-Child, and tasked with lending her stature to the organization in its efforts to spread its influence from Lagos State (the proverbial Jerusalem) to every state in Nigeria and indeed to the uttermost parts of the globe.

According to the NGO’s leadership, the 2019 International Day of the Girl Child celebration comprised of an award presentation during which very important people who had contributed to the development of Nigeria – especially in the life of the girl child and woman.

Mrs. Ibeji said, one of the focus of the foundation is to examine the living conditions and survival of girl children in Nigeria and the preferential treatment of boy children.

She said, “Girls are discriminated against in Nigeria in access to educational opportunity, food, and nutrition. Girls carry a heavy burden of farm work and house work. Girls are married off at early ages, which interferes with their education or acquisition of skills needed for survival.

“Beliefs must be changed about the value of girl children. Rapid economic development is dependent upon elimination of gender bias,” Ibeji emphasized.

Responding, the first lady of Lagos State, Her Excellency, Dr. Mrs. Sanwo-Olu promised to collaborate with the organization in promoting the interests of the girl child and woman.

She said, “Women and children are a very important part of our society and no society can thrive without making enduring policies concerning them in its programme. The Lagos State government recognises it, and this explains why the welfare of women and children is one of the critical policy focus of our administration.

“Our administration will continue to take actions and support all programmes, policies and initiatives meant to enhance gender parity, put an end to all forms of discrimination against the girl-child and women and ultimately guarantee their rights and privileges in Lagos State.”

She said, “As a mother and Medical Doctor, I understand the momentous mileage we stand to gain from this strategic intervention, and I fully align myself with this all-important initiative championed by the Girl Child and Woman Foundation  (ICI-GWODEF).

She said, “Women’s groups have an important role to play in focusing attention on various problems confronting girl children and women in our society.”

“Anything we do for our children today will definitely play a key role in the adults they grow to become in future, and this Project is specially targeted at building a critical mass of healthy, intelligent and responsible children and adults in the State and the country at large.”

Mrs. Sanwo-Olu said: “The Government of Lagos recognises the prime place of children in the survival of humanity. She graciously offered to collaborate with International Charitable Initiative for Girl Child and Woman Development Foundation.”

The President and CEO of the organization, Barrister (Mrs.) Helen Nchedo Ibeji, praised the First Lady and the State government for their support and intervention in the projects of the girl-child, stressing that it was an investment the state would benefit in the near future.



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