Written by Godfrey AKON

FG seeks girls empowerment in education, lauds UNICEF

The Federal Government has stressed the need to empower girls through education in view of the important place they occupy in the home and special role in the society.

Minister of Information and culture, Lai Mohammed, stated this in Gusau, Zamfara state, at a media dialogue on “Girls For Girls, G4G, initiative jointly organized by the Child rights Information Bureau, CRIB, of the Ministry and the united Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF.

Mohammed said a high percentage of success in developmental processes in any society could be associated to girls because of the peculiar place they occupy in the homes, and the roles they play in the society at large.

Represented by a Principal Information Officer of the Ministry, Mr. Zira Zakka, the minister praised UNICEF, and other partners for collaborating with government at all levels to bring basic education to girls in northern Nigeria.

The Girls for Girls initiative was designed by UNICEF to support girls to remain in schools and improve their learning achievements and transition from primary to junior secondary schools.

The programme which is currently implemented in Zamfara, Bauchi and Katsina States is a component of the third phase of the United Kingdom Department for International Development’s Girls Education Project, GEP3, and funded by the United Kingdom Agency for International Development, UKaid.

UNICEF is working with members of Mothers Association in the three pilot states and mentors who are female professionals in their fields of endeavor, to give necessary support to the girls to remain in school.

According to Azuka Menkiti, UNICEF Education Specialist, the G4G programme is making significant impact as about 15,303 girls have enlisted to be mentored and develop the confidence to succeed in their academic endeavours.

Azuka said the target of UNUICEF is to ensure that over 1 million girls are mentored through the programme to successfully complete primary school and transit to junior secondary schools.

Reports presented by implementing partners from the states however indicated hindrances top the G4G programme.

Although the Executive Director of Life Helpers Initiative, Tayo Fatinikun, said there was a silent revolution for girl child education taking place in Zamfara, he cited security challenges as a major setback for the initiative to have a holistic impact on the state, stating that some communities were no longer accessible due to incessant invasion by bandits.

Fatinikun called on the government to provide security in the schools as some of the girls do not come to school 

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