Led by UNFPA and the Government of Mozambique, it will include mentorship in girls’ safe spaces, involvement from community health workers, and community dialogues with parents, men and boys, all designed to help whole communities collectively embrace the importance of girls’ education and rights.
I want to be a part of the change in my community – and also to break the silence on the harms happening to adolescent girls next door. - Nilza Armando, 19
The programme was launched on 15 August in Nampula City, and was attended by 830 girl mentors, who were carefully selected and trained to guide other girls in lessons on numeracy, literacy, life skills and human rights. The mentors all live in the communities they serve, making them more effective role models and counsellors.
“I want to be a part of the change in my community – and also to break the silence on the harms happening to adolescent girls next door,” said Nilza Armando, a 19-year-old mentor, at the launch event.
Reaching 1 million girls
The programme will be rolled out in Zambezia and Nampula provinces, which have some of the highest rates of adolescent pregnancy, according to the 2015 government survey.
Each mentor will reach 30 girls a year through the safe spaces, and more mentors will be trained to reach girls through radio and television. The campaign will be rapidly expanded in these two high-risk provinces, with the target of reaching 1 million girls.
The programme is a significant milestone towards the empowerment of Mozambique’s most vulnerable adolescent girls. - Bettina Maas, UNFPA Mozambique Representative
Forums will also be created at the local, provincial and national level, enabling girls to advocate on issues affecting them.
“The programme is a significant milestone towards more collective efforts towards the empowerment of Mozambique’s most vulnerable adolescent girls,” said Bettina Maas, UNFPA’s Representative in the country.
“I want to demonstrate to the most vulnerable adolescent girls in my community that a different path exists,” said Idris Jamal, a 13-year-old member of Mozambique’s Children’s Parliament. She will be a mentor to younger girls, spreading her message of girls’ empowerment on the radio.
“Adolescent girls can be in school, pursue dreams, engage in sports, dance or play an instrument instead of marrying when still a child or becoming young mothers,” she said.
By Alvo Ofumane