1.3m Girls In Nigeria Benefit From UNICEF Initiative

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, UNICEF says it’s Girls Education Plan 3 (GEP3) intervention initiative has contributed to the enrollment and completion of education of 1.3 million girls in Northern Nigeria.

UNICEF Chief Field Officer, Mr. Rahama Farah stated this in Kano, during a media dialogue on Girls Education funded by Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, FCDO and implemented by UNICEF, in collaboration with Kano State Qur’anic and Islamiyya Schools Management Board (KSQISMB)

The GEP3 programme is being implemented in six (6) states in northern Nigeria, which includes: Niger, Sokoto, Katsina, Zamfara, Bauchi and Kano.

More Support and Collaboration

He said with more support and collaborations, the GEP3 is bound to make inroad into Girls education in Nigeria.

“This support has expanded access to education for girls, resulting in no fewer than 1.3 million girls having access to education in northern Nigeria.

“With more of similar support, and working together with government and development partners, parents, communities, traditional and religious leaders, we can achieve more by enrolling more girls in schools, and ensuring they complete their full education,” Mr Farah explained.

He however disclosed that there are 18.5 million out of school children in Nigeria out of which 60 percent are girls.

“Most importantly you will need to know that the majority of these out of school children are actually from northern Nigeria,” he said.

Mr Farah said Girls education was considered important in the society because as it is often said “when you educate a girl, you educate a nation”

Response Plans

He stressed that School emergency preparedness and response plans have been put in place to mitigate the impact of potential and actual threats in schools.

According to him, the UN agency for children, UNICEF collaborates with the government, partners and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to help children survive, thrive and attain their full potentials.

Mr. Farah said the media plays critical role in helping UNICEF fulfil its mandate, hence the Media Dialogue.

In a Presentation titled ‘why educating girls is important’ Education Specialist, UNICEF Country Office, Abuja, Ms Azuka Menkiti explained that, girls education especially O’level has greatly reduced the number of child and maternal mortality rates.

Barriers to Girl Child Education

Ms Menkiti identified poverty, poor infrastructure, cultural norms and practices as some of the barriers to girl child education.

She said;“Girls education goes beyond getting girls to school but ensuring that they complete each level of education

“This will impact positively on economy, health, social, livelihood of the family including child and maternal health, hygiene among others,” she emphasised.

Manager, UNICEF Field Office, Kano, Micheal Bands while speaking on “Supporting Girls’ Education in northern Nigeria through GEP3 Interventions, said the Cash Transfer component of the programme has tremendously increased Girls school enrollment in many families.

He said;“The money, which is transfered through their mothers have been effectively utilized in funding the Girls’ Education resulting in the increased enrolment, learning and completion.’’

Partnering with Stakeholders

Assistant Director Monitoring and evaluation, UNICEF focal person, Kano State Qur’anic and Islamiyya Schools Management Board (KSQISMB), Malam Kamaludeen Abdulhadi, reaffirmed the state government’s commitment to partner with relevant stakeholders in uplifting the standard of education in the state, especially Girls education.

“Girl education has received support in the last 15 years in Kano state by the successive administration’s of ex- Gov Kwankwaso and presently Governor Ganduje,” he stated.

The three day Workshop tagged ‘Media Dialogue on girls education’ attracted over 41 media practitioners to brain storm and proffer lasting solutions to problems bedeviling girls education in Nigeria and the world at large.

Source: Voice of Nigeria