The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by world leaders in 2015 embody a roadmap for progress that is sustainable and leaves no one behind.
Today, education is at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals, as set by the United Nations. Education is a human right, a public good, and a public responsibility. Through various initiatives, the InnerCity Mission (ICM), under the umbrella of Chris Oyakhilome Foundation International (COFI), and a network of partners and volunteers are reaching out to hundreds of thousands of children in needy communities all around the world, to try and provide essential educational materials to enhance learning at home and promote literacy skills, making it easier, more interactive and convenient whilst awaiting the resumption of school.
Chris Oyakhilome Foundation International (COFI) strives to make an impact on the lives of those who the world forgets. Working in partnership with local organizations in both the public and private sector COFI works to eradicate poverty. The many different NGOs that make up COFI not only work to counter the effects of poverty but to build a sustainable future. One of the biggest contributors to ending poverty is ensuring children have an education. For any child, education can open doors to the future that would otherwise be locked tight.
This year, the theme for International Day of the Girl Child is: “My Voice, our Equal Future”. Today’s more than 1.1 billion girls are poised to take on the future. Every day, girls are breaking boundaries and barriers, tackling issues like child marriage, education inequality, violence, climate justice, and inequitable access to healthcare. Girls are proving they are unstoppable.
The International Day of the Girl Child focuses attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.
Education can be the catalyst needed to pull families and communities out of the cycle of poverty. Knowledge gives children the power to dream of a better future and the confidence needed to pursue a full education, which in turn will help generations to come. Education is that building block that helps to build a sustainable society.
Primary education provides children with the foundation for a lifetime of learning, while secondary education equips them with the knowledge and skills needed to become empowered and engaged adults.
An estimated 40 percent of the poorest countries failed to support learners at risk during the COVID-19 crisis, and past experiences show that both education and gender inequalities tend to be neglected in response to disease outbreaks. Domestic chores, especially for girls, and the work required to run households or farms, can also prevent children from getting sufficient learning time. As with previous pandemics, COVID-19 has shown that education institution closures represent an increased risk for women and girls, as they are more vulnerable to multiple types of abuse, such as domestic violence, transactional sex, and early and forced marriages.
A recent study highlights that women are bearing the greater share of additional time spent on childcare and household tasks. Coupled with the present economic disruption, this will likely contribute to higher earning gaps, thus widening gender inequality. Girls have the same right to education as boys do. Educated girls can make informed choices, build stronger families, communities, and economies. An educated female population increases a country’s productivity and fuels economic growth.
Achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment is integral to each of the 17 goals. Only by ensuring the rights of women and girls across all the goals will we get to justice and inclusion, economies that work for all, and sustaining our shared environment now and for future generations.
Girls are breaking boundaries and barriers posed by stereotypes and exclusion, including those directed at children with disabilities and those living in marginalized communities. As entrepreneurs, innovators and initiators of global movements, girls are creating a world that is relevant for them and future generations.