Girls for Girls (G4G) Initiative of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has successfully enrolled about 15,303 girls in 300 schools across 18 local government in 3 Northern part of the country.
G4G Initiative is a component of the girls education project phase 3 being implemented in Northern Nigeria to help support girls to remain in school and improve their learning achievement.
Mrs. Azuka Menkiti, UNICEF Education specialist made this known during a two-day Media Dialogue on Girls for Girls Initiative in Gusau, Zamfara State on Monday.
She explained that the programme, which was introduced in August 2017 after series of consultation, is centred on developing girls interest in education, life skills, health as well as building their self confidence.
She said, “About 15,303 girls have been successfully enrolled in 813 G4G Initiative in 300 schools across 18 LGAs in 300 pilot schools in three Northern States.
” The 3 States are Bauchi with a total number of 5,284 students, Katsina 5,620 and Zamfara 4,399 pupils”.
The Executive Director, Life Helpers Initiative, Mr Tayo Fatinukun, had earlier in his address, said that about 4,099 girls enrollment were spread to 100 selected schools in six Local Government Areas of Anka, Talatu-Mafara, Shinkafi, Kaura-Namoda, Bugudu and Tsafe.
He added that each of the schools had three mentors who were trained to relate with the girls on their challenges.
He also said that out of the 4,099 girls, 960 among them were trained on social, vocational and health based issues.
According to him, the initiative is a school-based safe space, extra curriculum activities established in support of the enrolled girls, especially in the Local Government Areas (LGAs).
He said, “Zamfara is one of the educationally disadvantaged states of the federation with very poor and low enrollment, retention level and strong disparity between boys and girls enrollment.
“Our targets are the children, women of reproductive age, youth and the community structures.
“For this project, since its inception in August 2017, we have been able to enroll a total of 4,099 girls spread across six LGAs of the state.
On the challenges faced in the project, Fatinukun said insecurity in some communities and LGAs had hindered the educational progress of some girls.
He said, “Some communities are very volatile and so there is need for the government to provide security for schools in the area.
“Low infrastructure development is another threat to the education of the girl child and so there is need to provide conducive learning facilities for the girls.”
He, however, called for private donor’s involvement to support the programme so that the results could have greater impact.
On his part, the Minster of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said that the initiative had helped to support girls to remain in school while also improving their learning achievement.
Represented by Zira Nagga, Principal Information Officer, Federal Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, Lai Mohammed said there was need to empower the girls through education as they are very important part of the society.
According to him, the position of girls in the society buttressed the need to ensure they were empowered, especially through education.
He said that they also formed a high percentage of success in developmental processes in any society.
“We all know that the G4G initiative is a component of the Girls Education Project Phase 3 being implemented in Northern Nigeria to help support girls to remain in school and improve their learning achievement.
The minister said, “At this point, there is need to appreciate that some progress has been made in this bid, but a lot still needs to be done considering the fact that a large number of girl-children are yet to be captured in the programme.”
Mohammed, however, commended UNICEF and other partners for creating visibility for development issues relating to the girl child education in the country.
Also speaking, Geoffrey Njoku, Communication Specialist, UNICEF, said the initiative was apt because Zamfara State has a higher percentage of out-of-school girls and even out of school boys than any part of the country.
Njoku noted that the initiative was one out of the many used in bringing girls back to school.
He said, “This project focuses on education of the girl child and not only that; it also entails educating the mothers.
“When you educate a mother, the likelihood of her own children going to school is much higher than an uneducated parent. In essence, it is more important that the girl is educated.
“The success of the initiative is that it has improved enrolment and retention level of the children.”