11th October marks the International Day of the Girl Child declared by the United Nations. This day is observed annually since 2012, to address and emphasize the challenges faced by the girls, as well as to empower them and promote their human rights.
To mark this year’s day of the girl child, Advocating the Rights of Children (ARC) in partnership with the Embassy of the United Kingdom, released the child friendly version of Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), in Dhivehi Language. CEDAW adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1979, is an important international instrument to combat discrimination against women. However, children are mostly unaware of the rights guaranteed by the convention, generally due to lack of translated documents in local languages and the lack in the use of child friendly terms.
Speaking at the ceremony to launch the child-friendly version, Minister of Gender and Family Zenysha Shaheed Zaki stressed the importance of creating awareness on the gaps and challenges to the empowerment of the girl child in the Maldives and how to address them. She also emphasized the
importance of targeted awareness for children, for the empowerment of the girl child. Identifying violence against children as one of the most serious challenges to the girl child in the Maldives, Minister also stated that Ministry is in the process of strengthening reporting mechanism, capacity-building and strengthening psychosocial support available for victims,
The CEDAW booklet as part of ARC’s GRACE Campaign that helps “Girls build Resilience, Aspirations, Capabilities and Empowerment”, will help educate children on the rights of the girl child and provide information of the convention in age appropriate terms.
Advocating the Rights of Children (ARC), through its GRACE campaign, remains committed to empowering and addressing the challenges that women and girls face every day. Following its commencement in 2015, GRACE has conducted awareness sessions for 930 parents and 2401 students across 8 atolls in the Maldives. The GRACE Campaign sessions are inclusive of boys, and ARC hopes that the CEDAW booklet in Dhivehi language will help raise more awareness amongst boys and girls, so that every child feels educated on the rights and roles of girls, and contribute towards the empowerment of the girl child in the Maldive