Colors fly on behalf of girls

girls day

By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press - OCT 2016
To the uninitiated or unaware, the scene in the early morning of hours of Pohnpei might have looked as if nearly a thousand rioters had taken over the city as what looked like plumes of smoke enveloped a huge crowd of people. In many ways it was a protest of sorts but it was a well-organized and peaceful one as hundreds of people walked or ran through the streets of Pohnpei for the plight of girls around the world. For one extraordinary morning, the participants and observers were thinking seriously about the issues that girls face.
The International Day of the Girl Child is an international observance day declared by the United Nations; it is also called the Day of the Girl and the International Day of the Girl. October 11, 2012 was the first Day of the Girl.

girls day 02The first ever “Color Run” was the culmination of the US Embassy’s extraordinary efforts to promote the issues that girls from around the world face. For several weeks the US Embassy has been posting short Facebook interviews with notable fathers of girls in Pohnpei, including one with Governor Marcelo Peterson.
Camille Movick-Inatio spoke to the huge crowd gathered at Palm Terrace before the runners and walkers took their mark. Her speech was refreshingly transparent and emotional as she spoke of her own situation of having been a teen mother and the challenges that presented to her, challenges that she was able to overcome through her own determination, the help of her parents, and support from the community.
“The world’s 1.1 billion girls are part of a large and vibrant global generation poised to take on the future. Yet the ambition for gender equality in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) highlights the preponderance of disadvantage and discrimination borne by girls everywhere on a daily basis,” the UN’s website says. “Only through explicit focus on collecting and analyzing girl-focused, girl-relevant and sex-disaggregated data, and using these data to inform key policy and program decisions, can we adequately measure and understand the opportunities and challenges girls face, and identify and track progress towards solutions to their most pressing problems.”
“Every day, girls around the world are victims of discrimination and violence. They are subjected to genital mutilation and sexual abuse. They are denied education and forced into child marriage. Early marriage often results in early pregnancies, which is also the leading cause of death among girls and young women,” wrote Begonia Randhav, a 23 year old One Young World Ambassador from Sweden.
A spokesperson at the US Embassy said that they had brought 600 registration forms and T-Shirts but those all ran out very early on the morning of the color run and participants kept coming and kept coming. People on the street that morning said it was the largest Fun Run they’d ever seen in Pohnpei. The number of participants was estimated to be between 900 and 1000 people.
There were also several dozen volunteers who helped to throw the colored chalk dust and covering some of the details on the morning of the run.
The US Embassy’s Facebook page gave thanks to the National Olympic Committee, Pacific Missionary Fellowship Youth Group, Pohnpei Track & Field Team, Pohnpei Swimming Team, Pohnpei Sports, and Palm Terrace.