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Groups partner to promote girl-child literacy, economic opportunities

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Efforts to advance girl-child literacy in the country received a boost as stakeholders at a webinar highlighted ways to enhance opportunities for marginalised girls and young women in the country.

The webinar, organised by Mercy Corps Nigeria, in conjunction with other partners focused on and assessed the impact of ‘Educating Nigerian girls in new enterprises’ (ENGINE II), a model programme, which was a three and half year (April 2017 – October 2020) adolescent girls’ education intervention, funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) through its Girls’ Education Challenge.

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At the event, stakeholders discussed findings from the ENGINE model for adolescent girls’ education and economic empowerment that has transformed the lives of over 18,000 young women in Nigeria.

Programme Director, Mercy Corps Nigeria, Joy Aderele, underlined the need to identify conditions necessary for a successful transition of the programme to ensure the sustainability of results achieved and enhanced opportunities for marginalised girls and young women.

Aderele said Mercy Corps led the implementation of ENGINE II programme in the country, together with the Society for Women Development and Empowerment of Nigeria (SWODEN) Kano, Action Health Incorporated (AHI) Lagos, Kindling Hope Across Nations Initiative (KHAN) Kaduna and Tabitha Cumi Foundation (TCF) in Abuja.

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According to her, ENGINE II was successful in improving learning outcomes and enhancing economic opportunities for marginalised girls across the four focal states, namely, Kano, Kaduna, Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

She noted that through the programme, they created safe spaces for girls to learn in schools and communities.

“Girls were taught literacy, numeracy, life skills and financial education and supported through peer to peer mentoring and fora meetings. We supported school development plans and household accountability.

Another panel member and advisor, Mercy Corps Nigeria, Sheilla Onasanya called for the adoption and implementation of a Code of Conduct and School Charter within Kano, Kaduna and FCT as minimum behavioural standards in schools to ensure the safety and protection of learners.

Onasanya said evidence suggested that barriers to girls’ education are beyond individuals’ interests; hence, there is need for continuous effective partnerships, to improve teaching qualities and invest in multi-sectoral interventions.

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