*G4G targets over 8,000 Primary, Qur’anic schools by 2019.
UNITED Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has decried the rising numbers of girls out of schools in Nigeria, urging the 36 states of the federation, including FCT, to key into the Girls for Girls (G4G) initiative.
The UNICEF Communication, Strategy and Advocacy Officer, Lagos Office, Mrs Blessing Ejiofor, in a statement made available to The Polity News in Akure yesterday, said G4G was launched to commemorate the Day of the African Child.
It is a component of the Girls’ Education Project Phase 3 being implemented in northern Nigeria through a collaboration between UNICEF Nigeria and the Federal Government of Nigeria with funding from the United Kingdom Department of International Development (DFID).
According to her, UNICEF partnered with the Federal Ministry of Education and the State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEB) in Bauchi, Niger, Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara states to proffer lasting solutions to the menace through G4G initiative.
The international organisation, in its vision, affirmed that G4G would establish more than 8,000 Primary and Qur’anic schools by 2019, declaring that girl’s education was key to empowerment and equal opportunity.
Ejiofor added that G4G focused on empowerment and equal opportunity for the African child, saying the launch is timely especially for the girl child whose fortunes are not nearly as bright as her male counterparts.
“The primary goal of G4G is to empower girls with knowledge, skills and confidence needed to enroll and remain in school, completing the full course of education so they can be role model to other girls in their communities.
“The G4G empowers girls with information and knowledge to help build their capacity to stand up for themselves. It aims at creating equal opportunities for girls to access education.
“Working with members of the Mothers Association as mentors, girls will initiate and lead a range of activities to identify barriers to the education of girls in their communities and work to remove such barriers so girls will enroll and remain in school,” Ejiofor said.
The UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Mr. Mohamed Fall, lamented that despite numerous education gains in recent decades, Nigeria still has the largest number of girls not in school.
Fall explained that when girls entered school, a vast majority of them do not complete primary school education, revealing that the average girl stays in school only through age nine.
“Less than one-third of girls in Nigeria enrol in the lower secondary school, and, in northern Nigeria, less than one in 10 girls generally complete secondary education.”
The UNICEF boss, who said that the focus states have the highest number of girls who do not attend school in Nigeria, however, noted that the G4G initiative is a commitment to improve the quality of girls and ultimately women’s lives by empowering them through education.
He added that the Girls Education Project seeks to help put one million girls in school, support them to remain in school and improve their learning achievement.
“By educating girls, practices such as early marriage will be uprooted and girls will be empowered to contribute to the development of their communities, states and Nigeria.”