“Continue Supporting Girls’ Education”, that is my message”, Shukri shared in a meeting with White Ribbon staff last week, where we discussed ways to engage men and boys in supporting girls’ education.
Today is the International Day of the girl child and we, at White Ribbon, would like to take this opportunity to echo the need to strengthen global efforts to empower girls and ensure their human rights. In line with this year’s theme, With Her: A Skilled GirlForce, we are sharing Shukri’s success story: a story that can inspire refugee girls’ journey to a better future.
boys can do more to ensure that girls feel comfortable at schools. In addition, she stated the importance of community and block leaders embracing solidarity, as well as introducing daycare facilities to support child-headed households to go to school. While giving us these great inputs, Shukri remembered a story.
In Hagadera Refugee Camp, she liaised with the father of a 15-year-old girl, who planned for his daughter to be married to a man in the United States. The father made a living off collecting firewood outside the camp and selling it inside. It was however not enough to provide for his 15-year-old daughter and her younger siblings. The way out for him meant sending his daughter away to marry.
Shukri and another male community mobilizer had a conversation with the father to convince him that marriage was not the only way. They showed him their own example: as recipients of scholarships from WUSC they were given the opportunity to better their own future and that of their families. The same chance for his daughter would benefit not only her well-being but also the entire family as opposed to dowries which are only of short-term help, adding that investing in girls’ education will also contribute to the community at large. Shukri wished to emphasize this:
Since the inception of the project in 2014, White Ribbon has delivered a number of training initiatives in Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps together with community mobilizers to engage men and boys to support girls’ education. The goal is to contribute to a positive change in communities’ attitudes and enable supportive behaviours towards girls’ education.