I am Berryl from Kenya. I am currently a student in secondary school and I am the chairperson of the Girl Child Advocacy Group in my school.
Girls at my school face many challenges, and as there are few female teachers, they find it hard to speak out about their problems. I became a girl advocate to help ALL girls have a voice and make their problems heard so that they can be helped.
In my school there are a lot of girls who experience sexual exploitation and violence and this results in them performing poorly or droping out completely. As girl advocates, we decided to do something about this.
I became a girl advocate to help ALL girls have a voice and make their problems heard so that they can be helped
One of the ways we used to tackle the sexual exploitation challenge in our school is through "Speak Out" boxes. They are located outside of the Deputy Principal’s office and students can write their suggestions, concerns and problems anonymously and put them in the box. Every week the box is unsealed by a student representative in the presence of the patron teacher, the girl advocates, other teachers and students. All of the problems are read out by the patron teacher and everyone discusses the solutions together.
We have achieved a lot with this tool. Our proudest moment was when a teacher who was exploiting one of our classmate got expelled. Other girl advocates and I were aware of the situation, and decided to take care of it by denouncing him through the Speak Out box and talking to the principal of our school.
Working in partnership
In our project we work closely with the different adults in our school and it is important that we work together through hard work and active participation. I think that adults can act as role models to inspire girls to engage in political matters. My role model is my mother who is a head teacher and decision-maker in my community.
Girls should be supported to form advocacy groups that give them a platform to engage in politics. I also think that mentorship programmes for girls are important to help guide and support them in their campaigns. Hearing from guest speakers would help inspire us to do even bigger and better in our work. This week at CSW I have really enjoyed hearing from lots of other girls about the work they are doing in their community and it has inspired me to do even more when I get home.
I think bringing girls and young women to the table during the discussions about the SDGs is important because girls are the experts in their own lives. Girls and young women in the communities should be taught about the SDGs and how they affect their lives so they can monitor the implementation and how well the governments are doing.
I think bringing girls and young women to the table during the discussions about the SDGs is important because girls are the experts in their own lives
My recommandations to world leaders:
- Give better support to girl advocates by providing resources and encouragement.
- Governments need to allocate budget for implementation of the SDGs, especially Goal 5 and Goal 16.
- Invest in girls and their access to education.
An educated, empowered girl is not only good for her family but also for the community, country and the world.