The Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria, Carl Michael Gräns, on Wednesday, decried the alarming levels of intimidation and bullying girls and women face online.
“This issue is a global problem that requires urgent attention. The shaming of and harassment of girls online needs to be addressed immediately,” he stated at an event held in Abuja to commemorate the 2021 International Day of the Girl Child.
The Swedish Embassy in partnership with PLAN International and TechHerNG organised the event titled: “Girl Takes Over at the Embassy of Sweden in Nigeria.”
The event hosted a 15-year old female student of OakBridge Foundation School, Mercy Chrimon, who spent the day accompanying the Swedish Ambassador.
Selected as one of the students from TechHer’s School Tour Network, she spent the day chaperoned by her school principal, Angela Ejeme, and discussed the girl child’s needs and ways to improve the digital rights of women and girls in the country.
In his remarks, the Policy, Research and Influencing Manager for PLAN International Nigeria, Tunde Aremu, hailed Sweden’s efforts to partner with PLAN and other stakeholders to uphold girls’ rights online.
He also lauded the Ambassador’s efforts to collaborate on defending the rights of the girl child, especially during the #FreeToBeOnline campaign.
The “Ambassador of the Day,” Miss Chrimon was given a tour of the Embassy.
In her conversation with Ambassador Gräns, she called on the Nigerian government to increase its investment in digital literacy for women and girls.
She also spoke of her sadness at realising other girls were denied access to digital literacy and, much worse, other fundamental human rights.
She called for deliberate efforts to equip girls and children with the digital literacy skills to navigate false information online and prevent its spread.
TechHer’s Programme Assistant, Gloria Simon, equally lauded the Embassy of Sweden for its investment in the girl child and the opportunities for collaboration.
“The embassy has done well to bring awareness to this issue and for promoting the digital rights of women – a primary focus of TechHer’s engagements,” she said.
“We are pleased to see that efforts are being stepped up to reduce the gaps in access to tech and similar opportunities between boys and girls in Nigeria,” she added