As Nigeria joined the rest of Africa to celebrate the Day of the African Child recently, the United Nations Education Funds (UNICEF) in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Education and State Universal Basic Education Boards in Bauchi, Niger, Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara states, have launched the Girls for Girls (G4G) initiative.
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.
According to UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Mohamed Fall, the primary goal of G4G was 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.
â€œWorking 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.
â€œThe G4G initiative is a commitment to improve the quality of girls and ultimately womenâ€™s lives by empowering girls through education. 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,â€ he noted.
He said the G4G initiative was a component of the Girlsâ€™ Education Project Phase three being implemented in Northern Nigeria through a collaboration between UNICEF Nigeria and the federal government with funding from the United Kingdom Department of International Development (DFID).
â€œThis phase of the Girls Education Project seeks to help put one million girls in school, support them to remain in school and improve their learning achievement. The focus states have the highest number of girls who do not attend school in Nigeria.
â€œDespite important education gains in recent decades, Nigeria, still has the largest number of girls not in school. When girls enter school, a vast majority of them do not complete primary school education. The average girl stays in school only through age nine. Less than one-third of girls in Nigeria enroll in the lower secondary school, and, in northern Nigeria, less than one in 10 girls generally complete secondary education,â€ he added. G4G groups will be established in more than 8,000 Primary and Qurâ€™anic schools by 2019, according to UNICEF.