Sultan, UNICEF Urge Northern Governors To Promote Girl-child Education

International Day of the Girl Child.The Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar and the United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) have urged Governors of the 19 northern Nigerian states and parents to encourage girl-child education and eradicate the Almajiri syndrome.

They are of the opinion that the move will eradicate illiteracy and poverty in the region.

The Sultan and UNICEF Country Representatives made the call on Sunday in Kaduna at a one-day advocacy meeting with the Commissioners of Education and traditional rulers from the 19 northern states.

The meeting was organised by the Sultan Foundation For Peace and Development to mobilise advocacy and support for the programme.

In his speech, Mr Abubakar while urging the Governors of the northern states to work out a deliberate plan to promote girl-child education in the region, also explained that Almajiri and all forms of begging in the region were against the teachings of Islam.

He expressed worry that the alarming rate of young girls dropping out of school, if not addressed as soon as possible, would continue to militate against the socio-economic development of the region in particular and the country in general.

In her remarks, the UNICEF Country Representative in Nigeria, Jean Gough, noted that education remained the cornerstone of any development, which without it, no nation could achieve any meaningful development.

While she called on leaders of northern Nigeria to commit and take action to reduce the gap in girls’ enrollment and completion of basic education, she was optimistic that the meeting would also help to find solutions to challenges militating against equal access to education by the girl-child especially in the northeast where many children are out of school due to Boko Haram attacks.

The 2013 DHS education survey revealed that educational marginalisation in northern Nigeria is particularly pronounced among women.

According to the survey, about 69. 4 per cent of women in the north have no access to education at all when compared with the 5.5 per cent in the southern region.

Participants at the meeting believed that what was needed now was for the various State Governments in the region to develop a strategy of prioritising education, as an important way to tackle education deprivation for the girls.

Rights Activists Seek Needed Prominence For The Girl Child

International Day of the Girl Child.Rights activists on Saturday walked through major streets in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital to mark the 2014 International Day of the Girl Child and to push for more attention to be given to the girl child.

According to them, the Nigerian state has not accorded the girl child the needed prominence she deserved in the society.

The International Day of the Girl Child was set aside by the United Nations in 2011 to increase awareness of the inequalities faced globally by the girl child.

October 11 every year was adopted by a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly in 2011 to mark the International Day of the Girl Child.

The theme for this year’s celebration is; ‘Empowering Adolescent Girls: Ending the Cycle of Violence’.

According the the UN, about 120 million girls between the ages of 15 and 19 globally are victims of physical abuse.

In Nigeria, such abuses include rape, kidnapping, societal discrimination which often lead to lack of education for the girl child, practices that Nwaruruahu Shield Tolulope Lawal, two of the activists, condemned.

While commending the Nigerian government for including women in its administration, activists say more opportunities should be given to the girl child.

Three years after this day was set aside, many people are beginning to see the importance of a girl child in the society.

It is hoped that with this kind of awareness created every year, the girl child would be recognised the same way her male counterparts were respected around the world.


Women Group Seeks Girl Child Empowerment

school girlsSome Nigerian women have, in a summit held in Oyo State, on Sunday, sought concrete ways of empowering the girl child in the face of the 21st century challenges.

Women from all walks of life across the country converged on Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, for deliberations that would create a better future for the girl child.

At the summit, organised by the wife of the Oyo State governor, Mrs Florence Ajimobi, participants emphasised that more efforts should be made to provide the girl child with needed support and environment that would make her thrive rather than leaving majority of them to the mercy of the society.

The Oyo State governor, Abiola Ajimobi,  in his address to the various women groups, mentors and leaders at the three-day summit pointed out that “a nation that does not empower its girl child has enough recipe for disaster and unimaginable under development and poverty”.

The women also made renewed call to the presidency and all security agencies in the country to find the missing schoolgirls abducted from their school dormitory in Chibok, Borno State in April by members of the Boko Haram sect , as they still have hope that they would be found.

Katsina State, UNICEF Increase Girl Child’s Access To Education

girl-child-educationKatsina State and the UNICEF are increasing the girl child access to education through the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme.

Over 10,000 girls under the ages of 7 to 15 years in Katsina State, in northwest Nigeria, have no access to formal education.

The State government has spent over 900 million Naira since 2009 to encourage girl child education, increasing the number of enrolment to about 80% in 20014.

At the state’s Conditional Cash Transfer Programme report on Wednesday, 5,427 families were selected for the pilot programme made up of 9,059 beneficiaries drown from 160 rural primary schools.

In September 2009, the UNICEF introduced the program in some states across northern Nigeria.

The aim is to encourage the girl child in the north to get educated, with UNICEF providing technical assistance, while the Millennium Development Goals in collaboration with the participating state provide 100% funding.

Although the programme has not recorded much success in Kano and Bauchi States, Katsina State has continued to invest more in the lives of the girl child.

Conditional Cash 

However, Being the leading state in northern Nigeria when it comes to formal education, Katsina State suffers set back on the development of the girl child education, as authorities are having a hard time to convince most parents to prioritise.

In order to encourage the girl child education, the government is targeting girls from poor homes within the age bracket of 7 to 15 who are currently attending grades 1, 4, 5 and 6 and those who have dropped out or had never attended school.

A conditional cash of 5,000 Naira is given to mothers on quarterly basis depending on the number of their children attending the said grades.

The Special Assistant to the State governor on the Girl Child Education, Bilkisu Kaikai, said that the programme was designed to increase the level of enrolment of the girl child in schools and their retention until graduation.

“Each participant is expected to have at least 80% attendant before collecting the cash,” she said.

For three years now, the authorities say the number of girls enrolment into primary schools in Katsina State has increase to about 80% as mothers say the program has changed their perception from early marriage to a better education for the girl child.

Although the State government says there is an effort to scale up the program, some challenges the program is likely to face are the issue of continuity and active monitoring mechanism that will ensure proper utilisation of the resources by the mothers.