The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has recruited and trained 125 youths from the 26 council areas of Niger State to propagate education of the girl child and gender equality in the state
Speaking at the training on Saturday in Minna, a Consultant with UNICEF, Mrs Marian Usman, said the training was to equip the participants with skills to sensitise their various communities on importance of educating the girl child, gender equality and their rights.
She said that though the Sustainable Development Goals had 17 goals, but UNICEF had chosen to prioritise the fourth and fifth goals which focuses on education and gender equality.
“Here in the North, some people do not believe in the girl child education hence this training to get more girls back to school.
“We have begun intervention in six local government areas in Agaie, Mashegu, Mariga, Rafi, Munya and Gbako.
” Under my output we have intervention called G for G that is girls for girls intervention, youth advocates and high level women advocates” she said.
Usman said that G for G has intervened in 200 school in six LGAs where UNICEF has trained 400 girls in leadership and skills acquisition.
The UNICEF consultant said that the advocacy training would assist the participants when they get back to their respective communities to propagate the girl child education and gender equality.
Edited by Bayo Sekoni
The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, has urged the Federal Government to provide free and compulsory education from primary to secondary school for every girl child in the country and stop early marriage.
She made the call in the one million girls match for free and compulsory quality education for all girls in commemoration of the international day of girl child on Friday in Abuja.
Tallen condemned all forms of violence against women, early marriage, and appealed to all Nigerians to support the girl child to achieve their potential.
She said that the government is fully committed under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari to protect the rights of every girl child.
Tallen also appealed to all religious and traditional leaders, parents and community leaders among other stakeholders to support this great campaign to ensure that the girl child is educated and protected.
The minister said within the inter-ministerial committees they are trying to get different strategies to encourage the girl child to access education.
According to her, the ministries of education and sports are fully involved in the project and are committed.
Ms. Comfort Lamptey, UN Country Representative to Nigeria, said UN is doing a lot and here in Nigeria with the spotlight initiatives on how to address issue of early marriage and harmful traditional practices.
“For a country to realise its full development potential, we have to invest in the girl and we are supporting the ministry and Nigeria in general through the spotlight initiatives.
“That programme enables us to work with leaders, work with traditional leaders and we are seeing changes happening not just in Nigeria but across Africa,” she said.
Lamptey said for the country to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it must give priority to education of the girl child.
“When these girls grow up to be mothers, they will also bring up healthier children,” she said.
She said that educating girl child is good at all levels and it is her right; as country is part of the community of nations that signed all international agreements to ensure that we give equal opportunities to boys and girls.
“International day for girl child is an opportunity for us to remind ourselves of what we are committing to and make sure that we contribute in our own small ways,” she said.
Lamptey advised the country to invest in the girl child, so that they can build a better future for the country.
Dr Mairo Mandara, the organiser of Keeping Girl in School Initiative (KGIS), said relevant market skills should be taught and introduced in schools.
She said it would make the girl child employable after secondary school because not all of them will go to tertiary institution.
Mandara said that the girls are asking for free and compulsory secondary school education, they are tired of anything else other than being students until they finished secondary school.
She commended the president, minister, UN and other stakeholders for helping the girl child.
Mandara said that the campaign was happening in twelve other states: Kaduna, Kebbi, Sokoto, Bauchi, Maiduguri, Adamawa and among others. (NAN)
Edited by Felix Ajide
As the world marks the International Day for the Girl Child, the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), on Friday, decried the alarming number of out of school girls in Nigeria.
Mrs Mary Izam, the chairperson of FIDA, Plateau chapter, in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency to mark the day, called for deliberate efforts to bridge the gap.
NAN reports that the theme for the International Day of the girl-child is, “Girl Force: Unscripted and Unstoppable’’.
Izam expressed worry that many girls were hawking instead of going to school, saying that they should also be sent to school like the boys.
“The girl child is mostly made right from childhood by the family to prepare for marriage, and there are many cases of forced marriages.
“Non-compliance with forced marriages by girls results in their being maltreated by parents and other family members.
“We have many cases of forced marriages to the extent that girls of less than 18years are being forced into child marriage against their will.
“Neither Islam nor Christianity permits forceful marriage without the girl’s consent, but it happens to the point that if the girl refuses, she will be maltreated by family members’’.
Izam stressed that the girl child had equal rights with the male child under the Nigerian constitution, adding that the constitution was the norm and girls’ rights must be protected and respected by all.
According to her, Section 42 of the constitution states that no citizen shall be discriminated against either by sex, religion, etc.
She, therfore, enjoined all citizens to treat both gender equally and comply with the constitutional provisions on the child right.
NAN reports that the day is celebrated annually to amplify the voices of the girl child in a bid to improve on their quality of lives and rights. (NAN)
Editing by Oluyinka Fadare/Yemi Idris-Aduloju
A forum of stakeholders in the education sector on Friday advocated for the promotion and protection of the rights of girl child against gender discrimination.
The stakeholders made the call at a programme organised by the Civil Society Action Coalition on Education For All (CSACEFA) in conjunction with the Federation of Muslim Women Associations in Nigeria (FOMWAN) in Ilorin.
The Nigeria News Agency (NAN), reports that the event was organised to commemorate the 2019 International Day of the girl child.
The guest speaker of the occasion, Mrs Fasilat Balogun blamed the society for encouraging gender discrimination, saying empowerment of girl child was never an option for a modern society.
Balogun, who spoke on the theme: “Empowering of Girls for a Brighter Tomorrow”, explained that it was a responsibility and a priority of every stakeholder to empower the girl child.
“Society says girls are not inferior to boys, but what are they getting from the society?
“The undeniable truth though is that a lot of girls never get what they deserve.
“Gender bias, cultural malpractice, human trafficking, child marriage, poor health and sanitation are some of the numerous problems that continue to cause troubles for girls.
“It is apt to say that every girl child is entitled to enjoy the best attainable state of physical, mental and spiritual health,” she said.
Balogun, a legal practitioner, asserted that to empower girl child, inequality and gender gap would need to be reduced, thereby paving the way for the emergence of strong women in very nearest future.
According to her, empowering of a girl child means empowerment in all aspect of their identity, therefore, it is important to arm them with rights and privildges.
She urged stakeholders to provide counseling support for girl child and the hope they needed to provide a ticket for a better life.
The guest speaker also urged them to give voice to those girls that had long be ignored.
Mrs Salamat Jimoh, a Deputy Director in the state Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development, stressed the need for girls to be empowered in skills acquisition towards ensuring a better tomorrow.
Jimoh, who represented the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Hajiya Aminat Garba said that the state government would do everything possible to protect the rights of girls.
NAN reports that other stakeholders such as the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), traditional and religious leaders corroborated the stance of the guest speaker.
Earlier in his address, the coordinator of CSACEFA in Kwara, Hajiya Nimat Labaika said that the partnership with the FOMWAN was to ensure a world free of discriminations against the girl child.
Labaika noted that inequality about girl child was a vast problem which included many areas like in education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care, protection, honour and child marriage among others.
The coordinator described girl child as an asset needed to be empowered to become a role model and make positive impact in the society.
In her remark, Hajiya Memunat Shehu, the state Amira of FOMWAN said that the partnership for campaign against gender discrimination was in line with the principles of the federation.
According to her, if girls are empowered, they would become good women for better society. (NAN)
Edited by Abiodun Esan/Felix Ajide
Mrs Emily Agada, a Social Health Worker, based in Abuja, has called on parents to properly guide and protect their girl child to attain and realise full potential.
Agada, also the founder of ‘Girls Not Sex-Slave,’ an Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), made the call in an interview with Nigeria News Agency (NAN), on Thursday in Abuja.
The NGO is committed to ending child marriage and enabling girls to fulfill their potentials.
She was speaking against the backdrop of International Day of the Girl Child scheduled for Oct. 11, an annual event put in place by the United Nation Women.
The 2019 theme is “Empowering Girls for a Brighter Tomorrow’’.
NAN reports the day aims to draw attention to the challenges girls faced and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.
It also helps to increase awareness of gender inequality faced by girls and inequality in different fields like education, nutrition, legal and medical care.
Agada stressed the need to reduce violence against women and the girl child, as well as child marriage.
The social health worker said that in spite of the interventions by various bodies, the girl-child still suffered gender based violence, female genital mutilation and teenage pregnancy.
She said that the 2019 theme emphasised the need to address control of girls’ and women’s sexuality and other underlying norms of practice.
She added that it would also promote adolescent girls’ rights through community level programming, evidence generation and building multi-level advocacy.
According to Agada, there is need for multi-pronged approach to shift norms and facilitate empowerment rests on Nigerians’ biases, beliefs and attitudes toward issues like adolescent sexuality.
“This will not only make us as Nigerians to act against girl child marriage more thoughtfully but also more credibly.
“Every year, 12 million girls are married before they turn 18; some as young as 8 years. That is one girl married every three seconds,” she said.
Agada urged the government to intensify awareness by organising programmes and actions like campaigns, seminars, conferences and displays to be conducted across the 36 states of the federation to spread the message.
She said that, though taboo subjects like adolescent sexuality were difficult to discuss, shame-free dialogue and community led actions were possible using gender transformative approaches.
She noted that addressing the patriarchal control of girls’ and women’s sexuality was not by simply wresting the power away from those who seek to do them harm.
“We must challenge ourselves and those around us whether it is simply saying the word “sex” instead of a euphemism, resisting state-sanctioned mechanisms to regulate sexuality in all its forms.
“Asking why honour and purity are so forcefully esteemed, it is important that we acknowledge the presence of power, coercion, and control in women and girls’ lives,’’ she explained.
NAN recalls that the United Nations General Assembly on Dec. 19, 2011 declared Oct. 11, as the International Day of the Girl Child.
It was first observed in 2012 with the theme: ‘Ending Child Marriage.’(NAN)
Edited by Cecilia Odey/Felix Ajide
The new Commissioner of Women Affairs and Social Development in Plateau , Mrs Rebecca Sambo, has pledged to improve girl child education and work with organisations to empower women through skill acquisition programmes.
Sambo made the pledge on Wednesday in Jos while taking over the affairs of the ministry.
” The girl child is our future, we should have great concern to empower them through education.Failure to do that threatens our future, “she said.
She also said that she would operate an open door policy through which suggestions and constructive criticisms to achieve the mandate of Gov.Simon Lalong for the development of the state would be accepted.
Mrs Hassana Ayika, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, said that more than half of the people of the state were women, and that most of them were vulnerable and required interventions in order to become self reliant.
Ayika said the staff of the ministry would cooperate with the new commissioner in the discharge of her duties.
Nigeria News Agency (NAN), reports that Gov Simon Lalong had on Monday inaugurated 23 Commissioners, when he urged them to help to implement the policy thrust of his administration.
The thrust hinges on peace, security and good governance, physical infrastructure development and economic rebirth.(NAN)
Edited by Abdullahi Yusuf
SDGs: NGO advocates inclusion of girl-child education
Photo Caption: Mrs Brenda Ataga, Founder, True Foundation, an NGO
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Menstrual Hygiene Day is commemorated yearly on May 28.
The seminar was organised by Heal for Africa Initiative, an NGO, in collaboration with True Foundation, One Aim Care Services, Miss Globe 2018 and GAMAAC.
Ataga explained that by nature women are strengthened as multitask in nature with home making, home shaping to economic advantage, adding that such business and skills have made women to be primarily the building blocks of communities.
She said girl-child and women multi-skills would help in poverty reduction, adding that an empowered woman create economics for her family and aware of how to take care of herself in and out of pregnancy.
“An empowered girl-child will reduce the unnecessary birth rate at the moment and will also reduce the unnecessary child mortality rate bedeviling the nation as well as reduce the infertility rate.
“An enlighten girl-child also help with the awareness of social communicable diseases like HIV and transmission of other sexual diseases which is at an unprecedented rate right now in the country.
“Once they are aware of the implications of these things through education, most of our social issues are resolved with the girl-child.
“Therefore, girl-child education and empowerment is critical to us because it allows them to be self aware, exposes their minds to the potentials of their future, what the future holds for them and their responsibilities to the future,” Ataga said.
The founder however advised female students to be persistent in whatever they are doing undermining the challenges, develop personal character and build their value system.
She specifically urged them to develop their emotional skills and values along with their theoretical skills in the process of their educational careers.
“Your (girl-child) education is more than just getting a certificate, more than just coming to school because everybody has come to school.
“An enlightened girl is an empowered girl, an enlighten girl has the ability to face and deploy skills on different levels that results in a lot of our social issues today, from infertility, child mortality to even your prosperity issues,” Ataga said.
She specifically noted that when a girl-child is empowered she has the ability at different levels of the society to make the best of it and excel.
“You must know who you are in terms of your character, you must know your value system quickly because you are in a system where value system is eroded by what people see just on Instagram alone.
“There are incidences everyday; you must understand your value system, create that and live by it and beyond that let your value state be something that is greater than you not by many or someone you see,” Ataga said.
Hajiya Maryam Bagel (APC-Dass Constituency) Bauchi State House of Assembly, has called for special intervention programmes to boost girl-child education in the country.
Bagel, the only female member in the assembly, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Abuja.
The lawmaker fielded questions ahead of the national children’s day celebration scheduled for May 27.
She said introduction of more empowerment programmes for grassroots would alleviate poverty and improve general wellbeing.
“Empowering grassroots people does not necessarily mean one must be a politician. I was engaged by some organisations as a role model where I go to communities in my local government to encourage some parents to send their daughters to school.
“I once gave out intervention to students of higher institution who were writing their final exams in Diploma, NECO and Degree programmes.
“I targeted 300 students from my constituency and I gave them N20,000 each which supported them in their projects and most of the beneficiaries were girls,’’ Bagel said.
She underscored the importance of girl-child education to the growth of national development.
According to her, girl-child education especially in the Northern communities needs to be encouraged more, noting that education of good quality is one of the most powerful tools to decrease poverty and inequality in a society.
“As part of efforts to promote girl-child education, I helped about five primary schools to have secondary schools in my local government through the Ministry of Education and this was to help bring schools closer to girls.
“Most of the girls in my community, I found out that most of these girls could not go to other communities to school due to the distance and they have to be at home, that is why I did that,” she said.
Bagel urged women in leadership positions to serve as role models to the young ones and create forums where they can share their experiences for proper mentorship.
“Girl-child education has impact in the Nigerian society and any other society for that matter; it is a serious issue that should not be treated lightly.
“Its impact in the society is numerous. Girl-child education has a proven impact on the goals related to children and reproductive health,” the lawmaker said.
She said due to the intervention programmes felt by the people in Dass local government area, women had made their names and histories.
“But I can proudly say all my interventions: economic empowerment, education, water and sanitation and all the others that I have been doing has helped my communities,’’ Bagel said.
Edited by Muhammad Suleiman Tola
Mrs Chinelo Ujubuonu, an Educationist, has advised families to educate girl-children to build their confidence to speak for themselves and build their own lives.
Ujubuonu, the Managing Director, My School Arena, an online community of creche, nursery, primary and secondary schools in Nigeria, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Lagos.
She was reacting to the emotional and psychological damage early marriage causes a girl-child.
According to her, lack of proper education within the family and the society is what causes poverty and families to be vulnerable.
“Early marriage can be as a result of what the parents want for their daughter.
“Parents should also know that, that thing that they want from their children, they can even get more when the child is educated.
“Early marriage in some places is cultural, the girls are already groomed to accept a man; but in a place where somebody feels that she is being denied of something and acts against it to the detriment of her family, I think it is not even permissible.
“But overall, we should as a society, start looking at giving our daughters basic education so that they can speak for themselves and be able to say this is what I want for myself,’’ she said.
Ujubuonu called on governments to join hands in educating the girl child, adding that families are cornerstones of every society.
She urged government to do all that was within its power to reduce poverty.
She stressed that when families are educated, there would be a change in their living condition and they would be able to take action.
She added also that education would give them knowledge and skills of a trade that would make them competitive in a particular productive field.
Besides, she said they needed to live in safe places where everyone’s basic needs would be met.
Edited by Muhammad Suleiman Tola