Officials from the Department of Gender and Family Affairs, Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development, were among those from across the government sector, non-governmental organizations and the private sector that joined the Office of the Spouse of the Prime Minister, October 9, 2019 in celebrating the launch of the Women and Girls Mentoring Coalition (WGMC). Held at Government House, Mount Fitzwilliam, the launch took place two days before the global observance of International Day of the Girl Child. The Coalition is under the remit of the Office of the Spouse of the Prime Minister. The launch was attended by Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Cornelius A. Smith, O.N., and Mrs. Patricia Minnis, wife of Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert A. Minnis. Mrs. Minnis is the Founder of the Women and Girls Mentoring Coalition.
October 11 has annually been observed as the International Day of the Girl Child by Member States of the United Nations since 2011. The day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights. This year it will be commemorated globally under the theme: “GirlForce: Unscripted and Unstoppable” in celebration of the achievements by, with and for girls. The Bahamas will use the catchphrase: “Take the Limits Off.”
The time will be used to celebrate all of the achievements by, with and for girls since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in 1995 at the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing, China. The WGMC is comprised of individuals and organizations that share a common interest and the core values of revitalizing, inspiring and encouraging others. It is comprised of 25 registered Girl Clubs and Mentorship Programmes in New Providence, Grand Bahama, Abaco and Eleuthera. It is intended that the Coalition be expanded to include all Girl Clubs and Mentorship Programmes throughout the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
“The Coalition will endeavour to promote awareness relative to the social, economic and health issues faced by women and girls. Further, the Coalition will seek funding and additional training for mentorship programmes in an effort to meet the needs of the community,” Mrs. Minnis added. Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell, who — along with Mrs. Minnis — met with the Governor-General prior to the launch, commended the Office of the Spouse of the Prime Minister on the initiative.
“We are pleased to have the support of the Office of the First Spouse. It’s always good when you are attempting to inspire young persons to present them with someone who would have traveled the road that they are now on, and someone who can inspire them to the realization that they too, someday have the potential to reach such high heights,” Minister Campbell said. “The Coalition of the Government and the Office of the First Spouse as a non-governmental organization, is indeed a powerful one. The partnership provides us with an opportunity to tap into human resources and network with persons, businesses and/or organizations in a non-partisan way that augurs well for development and maximizing all of our potential.”
Minister Campbell said: “The commemoration of the International Day of the Girl Child is important to us in The Bahamas and to the rest of the world where girls and women are respected and celebrated; where girls and women are empowered and reassured that they are both equal and equitable to our men and boys. We take this opportunity to highlight the achievements of women individually and collectively. We use the opportunity to remind our girls of their importance, of their value, of the potential contributions they can make towards the socio-economic development of our sovereign nation. “And so as we celebrate the day annually on October 11, we host activities, programmes and projects throughout the year in furtherance of that philosophy,” Minister Campbell stated.