Every October The Girls Legacy celebrates International Day of the Girls Child in form of a National Girls Symposium. The theme of Symposium runs with the International theme set by the United Nations.
The 2016 National Girls Symposium.
Our theme for the symposium was Our Voice, Our Power. As the girls, we are excited to present to you the proceedings of the 2016 symposium. It shares our learning experiences and the voices which came out of the symposium. We are hoping that this will inform stakeholders such as government, Gender Commission, NGOs and other interested actors to protect and provision for the lives of girls from an informed perspective. More so, the voices coming out the Symposium are critical for future planning and ensuring that as girls; we live dignified lives free from abuse, poverty, child marriage and other struggles which are affecting girls in Zimbabwe. We therefore present an account of the proceedings of the symposium.
Background to the Symposium
Girls all over the world are facing pertinent challenges in their day to day lives. They face the threat to their future because they are discriminated against due to their sex and their age. In this regard, a lot of the girls across the globe have been subjected to abuse and their full potential is undermined because they do not have sustainable ways of fighting the challenges which they face.
From a young age, the question of girls living dignified lives is never a reality since they are largely discriminated against whether they are coming from a place of privilege or not. As girls, we struggle to have our voices heard in all spheres of our lives. Thus, the symposium was a one such space in which we were able to express and interrogate some of the hindrances which derail us from living dignified lives which ensure that we reach our full potential. The responsibility of shaping our progressive futures lies not within the sore responsibility of governments only. Therefore, with the efforts of organisations such as The Girls Legacy we are able to develop platforms which spur us and build our capacity to determine successful futures for ourselves such as the symposium.
The symposium was therefore a great space not only for learning but it was also a motivational space for us to realise that as girls we should value and love ourselves. Therefore, the symposium brought in the energy which we need to excel in our different locations.
We participated as girls from different parts of Zimbabwe drawn from Tshlolotsho, Kwekwe, Murehwa, Mutoko, Domboshawa, Glen View and Chitungwiza. The exciting part about the attendance was that our different locational backgrounds allowed us to interface with diversity. As girls sometimes we do not have much exposure to other cultures since we are mostly socialised to live private lives. This was therefore a great opportunity for us to interact with other girls form different cultural and social backgrounds. This interaction is key for us to understand how as girls we should always be considerate of the power of unity in of spite our differences. This diversity in attendance was a learning curve for us to stretch our influence to the different experiences we encounter. The total number of girls who attended the symposium was 284.
The symposium employed age appropriate activities for the girls who attended the symposium. There was lots of music and dance which made us learn that girls can create their own safe space for having fun. In addition to this, we were able to have comprehensive discussions on issues relating to the lived realities in the lives of girls.
These were discussed under the following themes: -
• College Campus
• I can Roar
• My Internal Campus
• Beauty Business
• What stresses girls out
These sessions were facilitated by our older sisters who helped us with important conversations which helped us deal with issues that affect us in our personal lives. The highlight of our activities was tag rugby which was a great activity which made us realise that sport has great benefits on building our confidence.