In line with the theme of the 2016 State of World Population Report: "10: How our common future depends on a girl at this pivotal age", UNFPA in collaboration with UNESCO and the Government of Zambia through the Ministry of General Education launched a multi-dimensional competition of painting, essay, and poem for 10 year old girls and boys in selected Government and community schools in Lusaka.
The childrens competition - which ran from 10th to 29th October - as well as the official launch of the 2016 State of World Population Report reflected Zambia's increasing call for investments in the health and development of younger adolescents, especially girls. It also made the case and sent a clear message that investing in 10-year-old girls today can yield significant returns towards inclusive economic growth, poverty eradication, as well as improved health and well-being for all by 2030 in Zambia.
The engagement of 10 year old girls and boys as well as the launch also attracted significant support and partnerships from the private sector - including Standard Chartered Bank; Ecobank and United Bank of United Bank for Africa; and UN Agencies in Zambia.
Speaking at the competition grand finale and official launch of the report, Minister of Gender Hon. Victoria Kalima highlighted that "the current generation of young people in Zambia is approaching adulthood at a time when the world has made significant strides in development strategies to ensure every young person’s human rights are fulfilled. But sadly, this is the same generation of young people that is facing the greatest health and development challenges in history. The Government of the Republic of Zambia is committed to support young people and national partners, to ensure that every young person has access to the health, social and economic opportunities that will enable them realize their future potential. We know that this will indeed accelerate progress towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in Zambia" Ms. Kalima said.
Also speaking at the event, UNFPA Zambia Representaive Dr. Mary Otieno congratulated all the seventy-two 10 year old girls and boys who participated in the “10 Year Olds Have Talent” competition.
"During this competition, you have shown that children like you have a “voice” and can contribute to the development of Zambia. Your active participation in this event has not only shown us your talent in art, poetry and public speaking, but has also shown us “How Zambia’s future depends on a girl at the age of 10”. You are surely the driving force behind Zambia’s development because you are both the present and the future. Our hope is that 15 years from now, when you have grown up to be young adults, you will be healthy, hard-working, and able set a good example for other young people in the future". Dr. Otieno said.
Dr. Otieno also thanked the Government of Zambia through the Ministries of Development Planning, the Ministry of Gender, and the Ministry of General Education, for its continued leadership in meeting the needs of young people in Zambia. She further thanked other key partners that supported the successful launch of the report and the “10 Year Olds Have Talent” competition - including EcoBank, UBA and Standard Chartered Bank who provided educational materials and prizes for the participating girls and boys - noting that investing in young people is critical for Zambia’s sustainable development.
The highlight of the competition grand finale and launch included speeches from 10 year old girls, who among other issues indicated their desire to acquire quality education and support from parents, communities and Governemnt to ensure that thier future aspirateions are fulfilled. “When I grow up, I want to become a nurse & help people with disabilities who cannot easily access health care" said a 10-year-old and physically challenged merit award winner; who was happy to receive a gift voucher worth of education materials from Standard Chartered Bank and a Zedu-Pad from Ecobank.