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Girl-child is not a “suicide bomber”, a big challenge in achieving gender equality in Africa

UntitledOttawa, 28 March 2018- The use of women and children as suicide bombs by militant group, Boko Haram, has increased tremendously over the last decade. Boko Haram activity has been occurring mainly in the areas of Northeast, Northwest, and Central Nigeria and parts of Cameroon.

The amount of young girls used as suicide bombers for Boko Haram quadrupled in 2017. 83 children were used in 2017, which is four times the amount recorded for 2016. 55 of that 83 were young girls, mostly under the age of fifteen. 72% of Boko Haram’s suicide bomber army with an identified gender was women. Since 2011 they have used 244 women out of 434 bombers.

Boko Haram has normalized the use of children, children as young as seven years old. It’s a big challenge for the international community to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. Also girls-child faces other challenges. According to Mrs Tope Awe, Executive Director of A Non-Governmental Organization, Girl-Child Rights Awareness Initiative in Africa: “ the challenges facing the girl-child in the Northern part of the country is enormous to the extent that any other one like the present suicide bombing can be catastrophic”.

She explained that young girls in northern Nigeria over time had battled the menace of child-marriage and illiteracy, and now had to live as potential suicide bombers. “The latest challenge facing the girl-child in the north eastern part of the country is worrisome and disheartening, the innocency of our girls is being destroyed” she said.

Vision GRAM-International, among many other organizations, advocates for such a change in countries like Nigeria and Cameroon.

Vision GRAM- International denounces the murder and enslavement of innocent women and children by Boko Haram. Its clear that the international community faces challenges in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls.

For Vision GRAM-International, there is way to work together, because we have to contribute to the follow-up to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development so as to accelerate the realization of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

Read the full report Girl_Child

                                                                        Vision GRAM-International