International Day of the Girl Child | Western Cape Government

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International Day of the Girl Child

11 October 2021

Today, Monday 11 October 2021, the Western Cape Department of Social Development (DSD) commemorates the International Day of the Girl Child and its theme, "Digital generation. Our generation."

UNICEF notes that whilst the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital platforms for learning, earning and connecting, some 2.2 billion people below the age of 25 still do not have internet access at home. The organisation further notes that girl children are more likely to be cut off from the internet and other digital platforms (UNICEF, 2021).

"By investing in a girl child's social and economic empowerment and skills development, huge strides can be made towards achieving gender equity, poverty alleviation, and inclusive economic growth.

We are continuing to create opportunities for young women to improve their career prospects, and develop the skills required to work in an increasingly digitised world," said the Western Cape Minister for Social Development, Sharna Fernandez. 

The Department remains aware of the many challenges hindering young women from becoming economically productive citizens. To mitigate these factors, Youth Development Programmes are being implemented that builds on their strengths by developing their skills through leadership training, mentoring, and helping them transition through the challenges and problems that they may experience in their daily lives.

With the support of its NPO partners, the Department offers a wide array of services and initiatives for young people living in the Western Cape. One particular initiative is the establishment of Youth Café’s. Youth Cafés focus on empowering young women residing in both urban and rural areas, mainly through entrepreneurship, job creation, and skills development, with a particular focus on working with the latest technology needed to operate in an increasingly digitised world. To date, the Department has established 12 Youth Cafés in the Province.

For the current financial year, R14.974 million has been budgeted towards ensuring that young people in the Province are provided with opportunities to access skills and personal development programmes. The provincial DSD currently funds 27 Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs) to provide opportunities for training and development, with a particular focus on those youth who are Not in Education, Employment and Training (NEETs) across the Province. 

The Department’s Youth Development programme targets the most vulnerable girl children amongst others, with a focus on the following:

· Life and personal skills development;

· Work skills development;

· Leadership development;

· Mentoring;

· Internships through the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) and;

· Informal skills development.

"We understand the value of our girl children, who are the future of our country. We have a vision we want to realise, and that is to help every young woman in the Western Cape to be inspired, educated, responsible and independent with positive personal, family and social relations," concluded Minister Fernandez.

The public can access our services by visiting any local DSD office or contacting the DSD hotline on 0800 220 250 for information to access help.

For more information about our other services, please refer to the Western Cape Department's Website below:

Media Enquiries: 

Joshua Covenant Chigome

Spokesperson for the Minister of Social Development, Minister Sharna Fernandez

Tel: 021 483 9217

Cell: 083 661 4949