A university don, Dr. Aishatu Abdulkadir of the Geography Department, Federal University of Technology, Minna, has decried the situation whereby, in some parts of Nigeria, the input of the girl-child into the family income is so high saying that it becomes culturally unwise and hinders girl-child development as it denies her the right to be educated.
She stated this as guest speaker, at the #SheLeads Conference was organised recently by DEAN Initiative Abuja, in collaboration with National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) Minna State Office.
The conference was planned to discuss and correct the notion in the global scene that Africa and her people are known to engage in cultural practices that undermine and discourages the development and empowerment of women, starting from their childhood.
In a paper titled, “The Role of Culture in Girl-Child Development”, Dr. Aishatu Abdulkadir defined culture as complex whole, which involves knowledge, beliefs, arts, morals, customs and any other capabilities acquired by man as a member of the society; adding that it is the sum total of a given society’s way of life moulded and shaped by prevailing circumstances and environment.
She said that the girl-child, as defined by the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), is a female human being below the age of 18; and during this period, the young girl is totally under the care of the adult, who may be the parents, guardians or elder siblings.
In her presentation, the guest speaker also charged the government and the traditionalists to put an end to all forms of cultural practices capable of posing limitations on anyone irrespective of their gender status.
Concluding, Dr. Abdulkadir said culture educates the girl-child both in mind and moral as well as helps develop distinctive values, such as, kindness, cooperativeness, obedience, courage, generosity, honesty, and reliability, among others, which are attitudes deserved by all for unity, peaceful co-existence and sustainable development.
Another speaker at the conference, Mrs. Binta Shehu Bamalli, CEO of Safe Transition, who is also one of the implementing partners of the initiative, reiterated the need for social integration through safe transition in our society, warning that no one should be left behind or ignored if genuine development is desired.
The highpoint of the conference was the #TeachHerTechSession facilitated by a team consisting developers and digital trainers, who took the girls round digital skills development sessions for potential maximization in today’s technologically driven world; and all the the girls are by this #TeachHerTechSession Google certified.
The conference also witnessed different cultural dances, spoken words and dance drama presentations by Gwape Troupe, Hill Top Academy and others, just as the Hajia Dr. Amina Sani Abukakar, First Lady of Niger State was decorated as the 1st #SheLeads Global Ambassador.
The conference also featured debate by students of Galaxy International School and Hilltop Model School, Minna, on the topic “Does Culture affect Girl-Child Development?”
The conference reached its climax with goodwill messages by the Honourable Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Niger State, represented by the Director, Social Welfare Service, Mallam Ladan Danjuma, and the Honourable Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Niger State, Mr. Jonathan Vatsa, represented by the Director, Culture, Mallam Ibrahim Alkali.
They all commended the organizers of the conference, especially NICO Minna, for such a wonderful idea and creativity, and urged the participants to learn more about their culture.
Schools also participated in dance drama, cultural dances and playlets and certificates of participation and gifts were presented to the schools.
It was therefore joy all over for Mr. Semiye Michael, the Team Leader and Project Coordinator of DEAN Initiative, who conceptualised and ran #SheLeads Project to give the closing remarks and vote of thanks.
Gabriel Kubaks & Saidu Ibrahim Musa
NICO, Minna State Office