PAS N’Djamena held an early commemoration of the International Day of the Girl (IDG) to encourage female empowerment with a panel discussion on girls’ rights, bringing together 100 teen girls and their female teachers from various high schools and English clubs throughout N’Djamena. Ambassador James Knight opened the program in the Residence garden by welcoming the participants and expressing the USG’s full support of the International Day of the Girl. He stated the importance of investing in girls to break the cycle of poverty, violence, exclusion, and discrimination against them for the betterment of their society. He encouraged the participants to use the opportunity to come up with a vision to overcome the numerous challenges facing Chadian girls.
The various panels featured the Embassy’s Political/Econ chief, Medical Attache, and a Chadian employee of the Embassy. Outside panelists were alumnae from various U.S. Government exchange programs. During the 90-minute program moderated by the Public Affairs Officer, panelists shared their knowledge and personal experiences with the very attentive audience. They explained to the girls their legal, health, and financial rights, as well as the importance of volunteerism. They stressed the importance of getting a good education, remaining healthy, avoiding early marriage/early motherhood, being financially independent, and helping their communities. The girls also received advice on how to deal with gender-based violence, where to get educational loans, how to open a bank account, and how to start a business. Most importantly, panelist repeatedly told the girls to be bold, persistent and stand up for themselves and their rights. The girls – and their teachers – were so interested that the question & answer session could have lasted for hours had it not been for the waning light.