The Federal Government, UNESCO and other partners have launched a one-month digital campaign `Education Saves Lives’, to buttress the need for young people to be educated.
The partners include Federal Ministries of Education, Health, Women Affairs and Social Development, UNFPA, UNAIDS, UN Information Centre, CSOs and other donor, UN agencies.
Mr Lamine Sow, Officer-in-Charge of UNESCO Regional Office, Abuja recalled that African leaders had committed themselves in Agenda 2063. This is to ensure for people-driven development, relying on the potential of young people, children.
“This is why UNESCO and its partners are working assiduously to ensure that the youth demographic dividend is achieved by engaging in strategic actions that will ensure this gain.
“Our vision is for a Nigeria where positive outcomes in health, education and gender equality are a reality for all adolescents and young people.
“This will enable them to get educated, healthy and thriving citizens of the future, able to contribute to their communities and the country,’’ Sow said.
Sow further hoped that elements of the campaign were systematically shared on social platforms, ensure its trends and the acceptance of the campaign by stakeholders and positive interactions on the Comprehensive Education Information (CEI).
He said, ”we have a mutual goal to achieve, improve the status of education, health and wellbeing of adolescents and young people in Nigeria.
“This campaign has the potential to contribute if we engage in posting, reposting the messages to make them go viral, trend daily and using the hashtags: #EducationSavesLives, #WeNeedToKnow and #Nigeria.
’’ Mrs Pauline Tallen, Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, while commending UNESCO said that child care and improving the health of young girls were in the heart of the government.
Represented by Ms. Ucha Kalu, Assistant Chief Social Welfare Officer, Child Development Department, Tallen said the government will keep supporting policies that improve the lives of Nigerians especially young women.
Mr David Adejo, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, called on stakeholders to be consistent in the promotion of education and other aspects of health education.
Represented by Dr Lydia Giginna, he said that with education can improve every aspect of human lives.
Mrs Bosede Odunayo, School Counsellor, Abuja School for the Deaf, Kuje called on stakeholders to provide the infrastructure people living with different forms of disabilities need for their education.
Dr Babatunde Adelekan, National Programme Officer on HIV, Youth of UNFPA said the idea behind the digital campaign came up because it was important to carry young people along in everything.
“It is important we carry young people along in terms of planning, implementation and Nigeria has a big presence of young people in the social media space.
“It is important for people to listen and understand what is happening now, to act on the issues and challenges.
“Findings have shown that education is a great tool for transformation and change, and educating a young person, providing him with the right tools.
He will have the right autonomy to do the right thing.
“He will know how to stay healthy and ensure that he has what it takes to actualise his potential,’’ Adelekan said.
Ms Ngozi Amanze, Education National Programme Officer, UNESCO, said that the UN body and partners were ensuring that there is the legal framework on education that includes the disabled, children, young girls, and the youths Amanze added that the campaign was expected to be posted on all of the organisation’s social media handles that will tag partners, participants at the launch of the campaign and relevant stakeholders.
“The posts will be put up at 9am, 12 pm, 6pm, 8pm and 10pm daily for the next one month and this campaign is going on in 23 countries across West and Central Africa,’’ she said.
Goodwill messages also came in from UNAIDS, Plan International, Civil Society Organisations, and representatives of Persons Living With Disabilities, among others.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that in November 2020, UNESCO, UNFPA supported FG to organise its national consultation on the status of adolescents and young people.
Then, there were recommendations that focused on young people’s education, reproductive health and gender equality.
The campaign aims to convey a positive narrative on CEI, while the CEI programmes will help young ones to lead healthy, respectful lives.
The UNESCO has embarked on sensitisation and advocacy visits to some LGAs in Ebonyi to promote school health education for girls.
Ms Ngozi Amanze, UNESCO’s National Programme Officer on Education in a statement, said a multi-sectoral team visited Abakaliki to garner support for a two-year project on school health education.
Amanze said the two-year project was a collaborative effort between UNESCO and Peking University (PKU), China to promote school health education for girls in Africa in the COVID-19 era.
According to her, the project aim at promoting education, health, and well-being of girls in Abakakili, Ebonyi and Izzi local government areas of Ebonyi state ” Under the current circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become imperative now more than ever to promote health education for girls with a view to improving their health literacy.
” Also, improve knowledge and developing life skills which are conducive to individual and community health.
She further explained that strengthening the capacity of girls through education and training is the most effective way of lifting them out of poverty.
Amanze, therefore, appealed to stakeholders to eradicate cultural norms that prevented girls from achieving their full potential in life and improve Parent-Child communication.
She said representatives from Federal Ministries of Education, Health, Women Affairs and UNESCO visited Abakiliki Local government to garner their support.
The statement also revealed that they met with stakeholders ranging from the Council Chairman, Religious Leaders, Women youth groups and officials of the Local education authority.
It also quoted, Mrs Ucha Kalu, representing Federal Ministry of Women Affairs stressing the need to break the silence, amplify voices against Gender Based Violence (GBV) and school related violence.
Also, Mrs Uche Udoji, representative of the Minister of Education urged stakeholders to support the project for a full realisation of the objectives therein.
The statement also quoted Mr Offor Reuben, the Education Supervisory councillor, Abakaliki LGA assuring the team of their support toward reaching the project’s goal.
” The local government will give an enabling environment for the project from inception to closeout,” he said.
Similarly, Mrs Odikwe Christiana, the Women Leader was elated with the inclusion of Abakiliki as one of the pilot LGAs for the project and assured the team of the unflinching support of women to the project.
Christiana, expressed joy over the inclusion of Menstrual hygiene management as part of the project focus, which would improve school attendance.
” Anytime you see a school girl in the community at home you will quickly know she is menstruating,” she said.
On his part, Chief Eze Ukpa of Amagu Okpuitumo community, Abakaliki LGA, Head of the traditional council, pledged their support and assured of their resolve to eliminate sociocultural norms preventing enrollment, retention and completion of education for girls.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the CTF Education Secretariat are partnering to provide appropriate information on sexual and reproductive health to address HIV and AIDS. unintended pregnancies in adolescents.
Mr Mamadou Lamine-Sow, Program Specialist and Head of Education Sector, UNESCO Regional Office in Abuja, said during an orientation session for School Management Committees (SBMCs) and the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) on HIV Family Life Education in Abuja on Tuesday that age-appropriate information was essential for improving well-being.
Lamine-Sow said the session was made possible through the Our Lives, Our Future (O3) program to strengthen and support the delivery of quality HIV family life education (FLHE) that would empower adolescents and young people.
He added that "we all know how important Nigeria's FLHE is in preparing young people for safe, productive and fulfilling lives in a world where HIV and AIDS, sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancies, gender-based violence and gender inequality continue to pose serious risks to their well-being.
He therefore urged parents and SBMCs to understand, support and become involved in providing FLHE with factual information and to equip them with the life skills necessary to enable them to overcome life challenges.
He noted that “these would develop their skills and confidence to engage their children and children in accurate, non-judgmental conversations about sexual and reproductive health needs.
“It will support teachers in delivering FLHE at the classroom level; and - ensure that schools and community environments are free from gender-based violence, safe, healthy and inclusive for all learners.
UNESCO National Program Officer Ms. Ngozi Amanze said: “FLHE plays a central role in preparing young people for safe, productive and fulfilling lives in a world where HIV and AIDS, STIs, unintended pregnancies and gender-based violence continue to pose serious risks. to their well-being.
“We all know that schools offer important opportunities to reach large numbers of young people with comprehensive information on sexual and reproductive health before they become active.
“It also provides a safe and supportive learning environment, the tools and materials necessary to provide young people with high quality life skills training. "
According to her, 150 members of the PTA and SBMC will attend the orientation session.
Mr Solomon Johnson, representing the FCT-Education Secretariat, said the orientation session would equip parents, teachers and SBMC on FLHE, aimed at reducing the incidences of unplanned pregnancies and STDs.
Johnson therefore urged parents to play a fundamental role in providing quality sexual and reproductive health education to their children for long-term results.
Likewise, Dr Lydia Giginna, Director of Educational Support Services, Federal Ministry of Education, representing Chime, stressed the need for increased efforts to equip adolescents with the skills to improve health and performance. well-being.
In addition, Mr. Adebayo James, representing SBMC in the FCT, congratulated the organizers of the orientation session, which he said would expose the participants to FLHE.
Mr. Umar Zubairu, representative of PTA, FCT, urged the organizers to make the training an ongoing process, as well as to disseminate it to others.