Group launches scholarship to promote education, end SGBV
To commemorate the United Nations International Day of the Girl Child today, a youth-based organisation, Initiative for Girl’s Rights and Health Development (IGRHD) has launched the ‘Educate Don’t Mutilate’ scholarship programme to promote girl child education and end harmful traditional practices.
The launch, which took place at Oduduwa College, Ile Ife, Osun State, was sequel to the success of the ‘She Must Know’ project the organisation championed last year.
The latter project was designed to help girls make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health after the discovery of high prevalence rate of unplanned pregnancies and misconceptions about reproductive health.
The Executive Director, IGRHD, Ayodeji Bello-Awodoyin, said the ‘She Must Know’ project had an impact record of 2,000 after engaging students from more than 30 secondary schools in Osun State.
According to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Nigeria accounts for the third highest number of girls and women that have undergone Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) with a record of 19.9 million survivors.
“Girls between ages 0-14 are at higher risk of FGM compared to other age groups. The ‘Educate Don’t Mutilate’ scholarship is an effort to campaign and reduce the prevalence and acceptance of FGM.”
Bello-Awodoyin stressed that there was an urgent need to not only enroll but also keep more girls in schools to successfully change the narrative.
“We need to promote girl child education to garner more success stories of positive behavioural and social changes,” she added.
She revealed that the organisation carries out community dialogues, anti-FGM TV and radio programmes and various forms of enlightenment projects, noting that IGRHD insists on supporting a good number of girls from rural communities to be in school.
“Mobilising out-of-school girls can be difficult and it makes the effects of our school sensitisation projects short-lived. But if all girls are in school, we can easily access them and impact them positively as there is a need to enroll and keep more girls in school to successfully change the narrative,” Bello-Awodoyin said.