The United Nation Children Fund has launched the Girls for Girls initiative designed to empower girls with information and knowledge to help build their capacity to stand up for themselves.
UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Mohamed Fall, said the initiative was aimed at creating equal opportunities for girls to access education.
In a press statement by UNICEF Communication Specialist, Geoffrey Njoku, UNICEF said it developed the initiative in partnership with Federal Ministry of Education and State Universal Basic Education Boards in Bauchi, Niger, Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara States to commemorate the Day of the African Child.
Fall noted that with the commemoration of the Day of the African Child focusing on empowerment and equal opportunity for the African child, the initiative is timely especially for the girl child.
He explained that the primary goal of the initiative is to empower girls with knowledge, skills and confidence needed to enroll and remain in school and complete their education so that they could be role models to other girls in their communities.
According to him: “The G4G initiative is a commitment to improve the quality of girls’ and ultimately women’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.
“The G4G initiative is a component of the Girls’ Education Project Phase 3 being implemented in northern Nigeria through collaboration between UNICEF Nigeria and the Federal Government of Nigeria with funding from the United Kingdom (UK) Department for International Development (DFID).
“This phase of the Girls Education Project seeks to help put 1 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.
“Despite 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 enrol in the lower secondary school, and, in northern Nigeria, less than one in 10 girls generally complete secondary education.
“G4G groups will be established in more than 8,000 Primary and Qur’anic schools by 2019.
“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 that girls will enroll and remain in school.”